Labor Day Weekend Ideas for Every Personality

The end of summer is near but there is still plenty of time to enjoy the warm weather. Whether you plan to relax on the lake or attend a festival this weekend, there is something for everyone. We put together a few ideas on how to spend your Labor Day weekend in Pure Michigan.

The magnificent Tahquamenon Falls. As seen on Google maps street view.

The magnificent Tahquamenon Falls. As seen on Google maps street view.

For The Road Tripper

Take a road trip to the Upper Peninsula and visit Tahquamenon Falls, one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. This waterfall always leaves us awestruck.  After your hike, get refreshed at the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery.

Looking to head over to the West side of the state? Check out Grand Rapids for a variety of offerings. Dazzling art and culture, awesome dining and nightlife, inspiring natural beauty and exhilarating community spirit. Stroll downtown where you will find more than 100 restaurants, clubs, theaters and museums.

Have a beach weekend getaway at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes. The magnificent dunes are divided into three sections, the northern section is for off-road vehicles, the center is for hiking/walking, including Lake Michigan and Silver Lake beaches and the southern is home to Mac Woods Dune Rides. There is something for everyone and a definite beach paradise.

Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room

Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room

For The Relaxer

Rich with history and natural beauty, Belle Isle Park is a Detroit gem. The 987-acre island park features a nature zoo, conservatory, golf practice facility, maritime museum, an aquarium, picnic areas and more. The park includes three lakes, 150 acres of wooded area and spectacular views of the Detroit and Windsor skyline.

Get ready to watch the sunset at Tunnel Park. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, it is a great place to catch a sunset and take a swim. Climb the stairs to the top of the dune or take the concrete tunnel through the dune to get to the beach.

Do you love wine? Then with more than 100 wineries nestled among 15,000 acres of scenic vineyards, Michigan truly is wine country. Paired with fresh, local ingredients found in local cuisine, a Pure Michigan wine tasting trip is something you can’t find anywhere else.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Photo courtesy of @dsliceoflife.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Photo courtesy of @dsliceoflife.

For The Photographer

Explore Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore! You will find multicolored sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, wildlife and much more on Lake Superior.  Whether you decide to take a boat ride, hike or swim you will have breathtaking views wherever you are.

Check out striking views of the Porcupine Mountains. Parallel to the Lake Superior shore and overlooking Lake of the Clouds, enjoy scenic vistas, waterfalls and old growth forest. Take your camera and start exploring, you won’t regret it.

Find Keweenaw Peninsula’s rock formation, Bare Bluff, looping around a three mile hiking trail. The views from the top of the bluff are stunning and on a clear day you can see all the way to the tip of the Keweenaw.

Take a different approach to getting a wonderful picture and head to Port Austin. With spectacular shorelines, views, amazing cliffs and rock formations, Port Austin is a must kayak destination.  Grab your camera and don’t forget to set time aside to kayak to Turnip Rock, a must see!

Pyramid Point at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Photo courtesy of @beatbeat.heartbeat

Pyramid Point at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Photo courtesy of @beatbeat.heartbeat

For The Active Vacationer

Explore Isle Royale, a rugged, isolated island, far from the sights and sounds of civilization. Surrounded by Lake Superior, Isle Royale offers unparalleled solitude and adventures for backpackers, hikers, boaters, kayakers, canoeists and scuba divers. Here, amid stunning scenic beauty, you’ll find opportunities for reflection and discovery, and make memories that last a lifetime.

Climb to the top of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore! And if that isn’t your thing  swim at one of the many beaches, or take a hike through the Maple/Beech forest to some beautiful overlooks. Or spend some time in the museums and tour Port Oneida to learn about the rich history and culture of the area.

Arts, Beats & Eats. Photo courtesy of Jason Vaughn.

Arts, Beats & Eats. Photo courtesy of Jason Vaughn.

For The Festival Goer

If you like art, music or food, we have the place for you! Arts, Beats & Eats will feature more than 200 performances, an art show and local restaurants.  It’s something fun for the entire family.

Enjoy the 35th annual Detroit Jazz Festival which occupies two million square feet of downtown Detroit from Hart Plaza on the riverfront, three blocks north to beautiful Campus Martius Park. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the variety of festive music.

Indulge in the Fruits of Labor over the long holiday weekend. Find your favorite specialty cocktail, wine or craft brew while live bands will be clocking in for your entertainment. Drink specials and delicious fare from our Grille will be offered. Bring the whole family and enjoy the bounce house, inflatable slide and yard games.

What do you plan to do this Labor Day weekend? Let us know in the comments below!

PS: Want to shake up your fitness routine this Labor Day? The Michigan Fitness Foundation offers events all year to keep you moving, and the Annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk is no exception.

How to Visit Pictured Rocks in One Weekend

Upon moving to Ann Arbor and becoming an adopted Michigander, there were many destinations in Pure Michigan Zak Suhar wanted  to explore. Between the rolling hills, quiet countryside and unspoiled beauty, he began curating a list of the places he wanted to visit most and settled on the Upper Peninsula. Read his story below on a weekend adventure to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Tahquamenon Falls.

For any hiker, traveler, outdoor enthusiast, camper, and road tripper, here is how to fit in the best of Pictured Rocks in just a weekend.

Twelvemile Beach Campground

Twelvemile campsite is a wonderful place to camp alongside Lake Superior, not only for its wonderful location, but also because it’s a first-come first-serve campsite. This is essential for Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore since it’s a very popular area, but you’ll still have to ensure you get there early for a beachfront campsite (ours that sat atop a small bluff). Nothing beats sitting in your hammock atop a bluff, Lake Superior waves crashing, glowing sun setting, and campfire roaring in the background.

Bridalveil Falls

Kayaking along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is something worth the experience, especially to see Bridalveil Falls. Seen best from the water, the falls can be seen from a hiking trail as well, but the 140-foot tall cascade won’t do it justice from above.

Lover’s Leap

At the end of a kayak or boat tour, the highlight of the lakeshore, in my opinion, is Lover’s Leap, one of the staple natural landscapes the U.P. offers. On a still day, you can get great reflective photos of the rock formation, the wonderful colors of the lake, and the sandstone cliffs of beautiful reddish and orange hues.

Mosquito Beach

Mosquito Beach is a wonderful place to relax after a long hike or paddle. This is a great place to stop for lunch and walk along the waterfront littered by rocks and unique formations. It’s the end of the Mosquito Beach trail, which forks with one branch heading directly to the beach, and the other somewhat longer trail passing Mosquito falls on the way to the beach. The trail passes along the lower falls, rapids, and then the upper falls which are some of the smallest in the U.P. but still worth seeing if you have time.

 

Miners Castle Overlook

Driving to the Miners Castle overlooks is something you will not want to miss when visiting Pictured Rocks, and by far the most famous formation of the area. Erosion over long periods of time has created the interesting rock formations that give this place its name. Several foot trails lead to breathtaking overlooks of Lake Superior and Grand Island from different vantage points – I recommend the top overlook to get the best combination of foliage and water. No matter the season (except maybe winter) you can expect this overlook to be saturated in color and contrasts.

Miners Falls

One of the top waterfalls in the U.P. is Miners Falls, just a 1.2 mile hike into the woods (round trip). There are two overlooks at the end of the trail, the first offering an overhead view of the  drop over sandstone outcrop. The Miners Falls Nature Trail also has wonderful views of the Miners Basin along the way. If you’re up for it, take the steps down to the lower viewing platform at the falls.

Chapel Falls

Chapel Falls is another wonderful landscape in the Pictured Rocks area. Just under a two mile hike through the woods stands the  falls cascading towards Chapel Lake. The first outlook gives an incredible vantage point, the second trail winds around where you can literally stand on top of the falls, and a third spot shows the falls barely peaking through the forest above Chapel Basin. Definitely explore all three spots and vantage points for a variety of photographs.

Upper Tahquamenon Falls

Finally, Tahquamenon Falls State Park is definitely my  favorite. One of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi, the Upper Falls has a drop of 48 feet and stretches more than 200 feet wide. The Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island, can be found downstream. This is a definite must see, and be sure to visit their local microbrewery for some delicious craft beer. A flight of true Michigan beer is a great way to stay refreshed after this hike.

About the Author: Zak is a Midwest born and raised explorer and adventure photographer. He was born a Hoosier, grew up a Cheesehead, studied in Ohio and currently resides in Ann Arbor as an adopted Michigander. Zak works in advertising but his ideal weekend involves disconnecting and getting outside.

All of the photography is courtesy of Zak, check out more of his work here.

From Our Community: Stunning Scenery in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

This week we asked our Pure Michigan Facebook community to share their favorite Upper Peninsula photos. From sunny summer landscapes to snow-capped forests and charming hidden gems, the Upper Peninsula boasts breathtaking scenery all year round. To showcase the U.P’s spectacular four-season beauty (and to give you a preview of warmer days to come), here’s a roundup of some stunning Upper Peninsula scenery from our fans.

Where is your favorite place to visit in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula?