Do you have a 50-state goal in your travel plans? In 2021, we finally checked off the state of Michigan in our RV travels. (By the way, there is a great map that use on the side of our RV. We put up a new state sticker for each state that we visit).
Having never been to Michigan before this trip, there were several stops planned. So, we made a brief stop in the Detroit area where we learned a great history lesson about the Birwood Wall. And we also purchased new tires for our RV (this was quite the feat with the rubber shortage)!
Mackinac Island is a MUST-visit place! This island lies at the top of the lower Peninsula of Michigan near where lake Huron and Lake Michigan join each other. It is well known for its beautiful natural scenery and its historic charm. The island is a popular tourist destination and attracts thousands of visitors every year. This quaint island boasts NO cars, NO motorized vehicles, and no hotel chains. The only way to get to this island is by air or sea, meaning taking a ferry (boat) or plane. Interestingly enough, there is a small airport on Mackinac Island.
One of the main attractions of Mackinac Island is its picturesque downtown area, which is lined with Victorian-style homes, quaint shops, and charming cafes. The island is also home to Fort Mackinac, a well-preserved 18th-century military fort that offers visitors a glimpse into the past.
Another highlight of Mackinac Island is its natural beauty. The island is covered in lush forests and rolling hills and is surrounded by the crystal-clear waters of Lake Huron. Visitors can enjoy scenic hikes, horseback riding, and bike rides through the island’s stunning landscapes. The island is also home to several parks, including the Mackinac Island State Park, which offers visitors stunning views of the island and the surrounding water.
In addition to its natural beauty, Mackinac Island is mostly known for its unique transportation system. Since cars are not allowed on the island, instead, visitors can get around by foot, bicycle, or horse-drawn carriage. This makes for a relaxing, low-stress visit, and adds to the island’s charming atmosphere.
A great way you can explore the Island is by riding bikes. There is an 8-mile loop that goes around the perimeter of the island. You can bring your bike on the ferry with you (there is an extra fee) OR you can rent bikes once you arrive. You can even rent a tandem bike if you want to give that a try! (We rented bikes vs. bringing ours with us). Something to be aware of is there are regulations regarding e-bikes. You can see the rules and regulations here, but in short, e-bikes are not allowed unless you have a mobility disability. The whole entire island is a “motorized free” zone.
Did We Mention the FUDGE?
Mackinac is known for its many famous fudge shops! When you walk into these shops, the aromas will have you purchasing all the fudge! There are so many varieties from peanut butter, chocolate, and all sorts of blends. (Our favorite is the peanut butter chocolate)!
After eating the world-famous Mackinac Fudge, we’re betting you will want to work it off with a good bike ride! You can also take a horse-drawn carriage ride and experience all the charm of the island that way too if you’re not up for the physical activity.
The waters around the island are crystal clear (it reminded us of the Florida Keys at times). You can see the stones that comprise if lake bed and there are small, gentle waves. Take a break from the bikes and sit along the lake shore to enjoy the beauty! This is a must-do activity. (And a nice little break)!
Getting To Mackinac Michigan (You Can’t Take the RV)!
Taking a ferry can be a great way to get to the island. There are two main ferry lines that depart from St. Ignace and Mackinac City. Ferry schedules and tickets are available for purchase online. You can also get to the island via airplane. And there are several private charter companies that offer flights to Mackinac.
Overall, Mackinac Island is a must-visit destination for those looking for a unique and beautiful vacation experience. With its combination of historic charm, natural beauty, and unique transportation, Mackinac Island is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who visit.
Petoskey State Park
Another must-see area in the Northern Lower Peninsula of Michigan is Petoskey state park. This park is located on the shores of Lake Michigan. It is situated on the shores of Little Traverse Bay and is well known for its stunning views of the bay and its beautiful sandy beaches. The park is a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, offering a variety of recreational activities including camping, hiking, fishing, and swimming.
There is a nice sandy/rocky beach where you can walk along and if you are lucky, you will find Petoskey or Charlevoix stones. These fossils look like plain gray stones until they get wet, and something magical happens! The best way to find these is while walking along the beach looking for the wet stones, OR beach comb when it’s raining. You can also bring a spray bottle to wet down the stones while you are looking for them.
Petoskey stones are fossilized historic rugose coral or Hexagonaria percarinatum. There are also many Charlevoix stones that can be found. The Charlevoix stones are similar in appearance to the Petoskey stone. But they have some unique structures and features. The Charlevoix stone will have a distinctive honeycomb-like appearance. They’re more rare than Petoskey stones, but it’s not uncommon to find both of these unique fossils while exploring beaches throughout northern Michigan. Try your luck at looking for both of these unique fossils while Rving Michigan.
One of the main draws of Petoskey State Park is its picturesque beach area, which is surrounded by rolling hills and dense forests. The clear waters of Little Traverse Bay are ideal for swimming and sunbathing, and the sandy beach is a great place to relax and soak up the sun. The park also offers several picnic areas, including several with grills, making it a great place to spend a day with friends and family.
For those looking to explore the park’s natural beauty, Petoskey State Park offers several hiking trails that wind through the forests and hills surrounding the bay. These trails provide great opportunities to see wildlife and take in the park’s stunning scenery. In addition, the park is home to several fishing areas, including a pier that extends into Little Traverse Bay, making it a popular spot for anglers.
Petoskey State Park also offers several camping areas, including rustic cabins, modern campsites, and group camping areas. These camping areas are surrounded by the park’s natural beauty and provide a peaceful and serene environment for visitors to relax and enjoy the great outdoors.
Overall, Petoskey State Park is a must-visit destination for those looking for a relaxing and beautiful outdoor experience. With its stunning views, scenic beaches, and great recreational opportunities, Petoskey State Park is sure to leave a lasting impression on all who visit.
Where To Stay When Rving Michigan
A great RV park (where we stayed) is the Tiki RV Campground. This campground is located in St. Ignace, MI. We found great rates for this full-hook-up RV park that will accommodate big rigs and larger RVs. There are also smaller RV sites available too. One thing to note about this area of Michigan when you are traveling by RV. You want to plan for transportation. There are no ride-sharing options in the area (like Uber or Lyft). Rental cars in the summer months (the busy season) can also be hard to find. We have a “toad” so transportation for us is not a problem, but you will want to plan a way to get around. Especially if you choose to not bring a vehicle you can drive (other than your RV).
Be sure to add Michigan and Mackinac to your RV Travel plans (and during the summer months, It does not disappoint!