Let’s Go Michigan State Park Hopping!

After our few Harvest Host stays, we spent the next week hopping our way up the Western side of Michigan into the Upper Peninsula.

First stop was Mears State Park.

Just over an hour North of Blendon Pines Alpaca Ranch, we made it to the cute little coastal town of Pentwater, with the state park just down the street.

At Mears, our site was so close to the beach our campsite was sand! Of all the sites to get, we were lucky enough to be on a large corner cap site with water and electric, close to the entrance/exit and, more importantly, the beach!

We spent a greater majority of our time enjoying the weather, biking around Pentwater and through the neighborhoods by the state park. By time we left we felt like we knew the place like the back of our hand.

Now, if there are any Florida Keys friends reading this… let me know what time the sun is setting there! We remember it being late when the sun went down… but 9:30??? for the sun to START setting?? Unheard of for us! I can remember I went to shower one night, and when I came out it was almost 10:30 and I could still see color in the sky… crazy!

While we were out one day getting some errands done in Ludington, we drove back and forth past this parking lot with several food trucks parked in a circle. After some begging and pleading with Devon, we finally decided to stop and try a couple things.

What would you order at these places? What do you think we ordered?

Okay, let’s be honest. We had something from almost every place.

We tried the Mexican Street Corn from Roast’d, the Firecracker Hotdog with bacon, garlic mayo and jalapeno relish, and the All-American tots from Brunch Babes… I’m sorry, Road Crew Galley… I’ll be back for the Chipotle Smoked Gouda Panini.

Gotta say though, the elote, the Mexican street corn with mayo, chili lime seasoning and cheese was probably our favorite!

An hour and 40 minutes north of Mears State Park, we found availability to stay at Interlochen State Park. The campsite itself I missed taking a picture of, but I do have pictures of the lake the campground was on!

When we first got down to the water, I had noticed something in the water that looked enough like a snake sitting at the bottom. I never saw it move, so I kept going about my business. Just before we left, I told Devon, that must have been a snake because I don’t see that black squiggly line anymore… As I’m saying these words, I noticed the snake sticking its head out of the water!!!

Trying to stick more with our nature side, we opted to spend our time in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, rather than more money at more food trucks in Traverse City… sigh… a give and take relationship…

In all seriousness, Sleeping Bear Dunes was Top 10 one of the wildest places I’ve been.

We started with the Empire Bluff trail, a short out and back trail to get a quick view of the shore. Did anybody else know the water was so blue up here? It wasn’t the clearest day, but we were still surprised by what we could see!

These views were right off the boardwalk trail at the top! There was plenty of seating to even take your lunch up with you.

As we made our way up to the next dune trail, I noticed a lot of people carrying their shoes. We’ve been to a variety of hikes, and I don’t know that I’ve seen more than 3 people take their shoes off… while walking… So I was incredibly interested to see what we, once again fully workout geared and sneakered up, were getting ourselves into. We did not know what a treat we were in for.

This was at the top:

But here’s what you really need to understand about the situation:

Another reason I need to go back! Surprisingly, I really wanted to do this! It was A LOOOOONNGGGG way down and would have been a much longer investment of time than I was realistically considering… BUT I WANT TO COME BACK AND TRY.

Sigh…

As always, you’re either a sign reader or you’re not. Here’s why they call it Sleeping Bear:

We probably could’ve done some major exploration around the dunes. Every where you looked, it seemed to get prettier and prettier… The only reason we HAD to get out of there was Devon’s disdain for sand… and especially it being almost everywhere we went.

Our last stop before the Upper Peninsula was Aloha State Park, just south of Mackinaw City! On our way, the one stop I did talk Devon into stopping was Cherry Republic. Apparently, Traverse City is the Cherry capital of the World! So you know we had to soak up that tourism aspect! Alongside the shop and wine tastings, there is a small restaurant within this little square as well! We tried the Cherry-aki lettuce wraps, the cherry bbq dry rub fries with the cherry beer cheese and allll the cherry flavored sodas we could, including cherry root beer and black cherry cream soda!

Oh! and don’t think we forgot about the rain! It was still doing its “its going to rain 75% of the day” thing!

As we made our way into Aloha State Park, the day was no different… cloudy and rainy.

But with every not-so-positive, there is a positive!

We had a corner cap site with an even more beautiful view!

One thing that’s important to note about our reservations in these parks, is that when we made them… they were the last thing available, for the maximum amount of time we could find…

I don’t know if the weather cut some people out or what, but we ended up not having anyone really around us the entire time.

Something we were not anticipating, was to wake up to the attack of the mayflies… If you had a white RV or white walled building, you were covered in mayflies. Outside this little store, there were so many on the ground that had been swept up, it looked like a pile of fall leaves. DISGUSTING.

As we made our way up to the Upper Peninsula, we knew we wanted to explore Mackinaw City and scope out going over to Mackinac island with Devon’s parents the following week. When we got to Mackinaw, we found a small craft show happening by the water. We spent the afternoon wandering the aisles, trying beef jerky and fudge, and getting a better idea of how to get to the island. It was relatively gloomy so we tried to enjoy the weather while we could.

Which one are you getting??

When we got back to camp, we were ecstatic with the view since the fog had cleared. We rode our bikes around camp and looked for a good spot to spend the afternoon. Devon found a spot on the jetty where he could fish and I could read– our ideal way to spend an hour or two.

All in all, Michigan is treating us right. We’re loving the views and shorelines way more than we thought we could. Let’s see how the Upper Peninsula goes…

Until next time,

j&d

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s