Michigan Lake Upper Peninsula Loop Trip

I went on a 6-day road trip circling around Michigan Lake last July 🙂

Here was our itinerary:

Day 1: Chicago > Holland
Day 2: Sleeping Bear Dunes > Traverse City.
Day 3: Harbor Springs (Route M-119) > Tunnel of Tree > Mackinac Bridge. Mackinac Island (rent bike and bike loop around island). Sights: Arch Rock, Sugar Loaf, Fort.
Day 4: White Fish Point > Tahquamenon Falls State Park > Grand Marais (Scenic Route H-58) > Munising
Day 5: Pictured Rocks in Munising (Cruise, Hike Chapel Rock, Beach, Hike Miners Castle Overlook)
Day 6: Kitch-iti-kipi (Fayette State Park – Green spring) > Chicago

Here’s a short summary of main locations: Chicago > Sleeping Bear Dunes > Mackinac Island > Tahquamenon Falls State Park > Pictured Rocks in Munising > Kitch-iti-kipi > Chicago

Day 01: Chicago to Holland

We stayed a night at Holland to break up the drive. So we visited the Windmill Garden (if only it was during the Tulip festival! We were way too late for that lol).

Windmill at Windmill Garden
Horse at Windmill Garden

Afterward we hiked a short trail, which I do not remember the name of at all lol. We had a hard time finding the trail head I think. We stayed at the Best Western Plus Holland Inn & Suites hotel that night.

Day 02: Sleep Bear Dunes

The next morning we went on our way to Sleeping Bear Dunes. On the way we stopped at Pentwater and walked through the small street consisting of antique shops and art galleries, and grabbed lunch there. At Sleeping Bear Dunes we drove the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive, then we did the Dune Climb, which was not hard at all like some people had said online.

Dune Climb at Sleeping Bear Dunes
Top of Dune Climb

Then we hiked the short Sleeping Bear Point trail and chilled at the beach a bit.

Sleeping Bear Point Beach at Sleeping Bear Dunes

Afterward we headed to Traverse City for our night stay at Howard Johnson by Wyndham and grabbed sushi for dinner.

Day 3: Mackinac Island

The next day we headed our way to our next destination – Mackinac Island. On the way we stopped at a farm and picked tart cherries!


We drove along through the Tunnel of Trees route, and arrived at Legs Inn for lunch, but it was too busy there, with a long wait-time, so we decided to not dine there.

Legs Inn Exterior
Legs Inn Front Door

We continued on to Mackinaw City and grabbed lunch at the Darrow’s Family restaurant. We checked in to our hotel at Best Western Harbor Pointe Lakefront in St. Ignace, then headed to the port to catch the ferry to Mackinac Island, except…..due to the windy and cold weather we decided to skipped it that day and go the next day instead. So we just chilled at the hotel by lake for the rest of the day.

Day 4: Mackinac Island and Tahquamenon Falls State Park

In the morning we checked out of our hotel and took the ferry from St. Ignace to Mackinac Island. We rented bikes right away and biked around the island. It took us about 2hrs round-trip.

Mackinac Island
Horse carriage
Main street (no cars allowed)

We returned our bikes and walked a little up from the Fort Mackinac to the Arches, but didn’t end up finishing to the Arches, due to our limited time, and instead went another direction back down to the town area and grabbed ice cream, and headed back to St. Ignace (it was a good thing we came from St. Ignace because the line back to the ferry was quite long for people heading back to Mackinaw City.

Fort Mackinac
Bike path around the island
View of Mackinac bridge

Then onward to our next destination – Tahquamenon Falls State Park. We visited the Upper Tahquamenon Falls first, walked the short trail, then drove to the Lower Tahquamenon Falls and hiked there as well. Both locations were really nice hikes.

Upper Falls
Lower Falls
Wooden pathway at Lower Falls
Trail path at Lower Falls

Then we drove to Munising and stayed 2 nights at Comfort Inn & Suites. Munising hotels were quite expensive…😅

Day 5: Pictured Rocks at Munising

We took the Classic Cruise in Munising. It was really nice, some parts of the sights looks amazing. It’s better to get a seat on the side so you don’t have people blocking your view. We arrived to the port like an hour early so we could be in front of the line.

View from Cruise
A small lighthouse

After the cruise, we drove to see the Miners Castle Overlook. Later we went to the Miners Beach and just chilled there a little bit. Then we went and hiked a bit of Chapel Rock trail. We didn’t finish the trail as it was getting a little too deep into the woods and the sun was getting low, so we have no idea how the view was at the end lol.

Miners Castle Overlook

We drove to Sandpoint beach for sunset (we found out about this beach from when we were on the cruise). I wish we had spent more time at the Sandpoint beach, it’s a huge sandbar that goes really far with just about 2-4ft deep of water.

Sandpoint beach

Day 6: Kitch-iti-kipi and back to Chicago

Our last day we headed to Kitch-iti-kipi – Michigan’s largest freshwater spring. It was pretty neat, you go onto a platform raft and it will pull you to the center of the spring where you can see fishes through the crystal clear water.

Looking down into the water

After that we stopped a bit in Green Bay to grab late lunch, and then walked around an amusement park nearby, and then was back home!

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