Lake Advice from Our Fans: What to Do in the Upper Peninsula

Our Facebook fans have been giving us great advice on their favorite things to do all around Pure Michigan. Next on our list is the Upper Peninsula, home to iconic Pictured Rocks and Tahquamenon Falls. Here is a round-up of what to do and see in the U.P.

Find your lake this summer by visiting michigan.org/lakeeffect

One of my favorite places is High Rock Point–the very tip of the Keweenaw. The road to High Rock is “unimproved” which means it’s bad in the best ways possible: rocky, bumpy, rutted and muddy. It’s an adventure just to get there, and when you do, you’ll find that you are totally alone. The sights and sounds are Pure Michigan. – Marilynn Neher Bachorik

Try to catch a Northern Lights show over Lake Superior or just view the night sky on a clear night to see more stars than you’ve ever seen before. – Ray Baker

Photo Courtesy of Kevin Schneller

Northern Lights, Photo Courtesy of Kevin Schneller

Being able to catch the Northern Lights on top of Brockway Mountain right after watching the fireworks at Copper Harbor. – GR2 Photography

Wakefield is a small town (pop.~ 1850) where M28 meets US2. Wakefield is known for its friendly people and their hospitality is without question beyond extraordinary. Please visit Wakefield and see for yourself why you will be forever drawn back. – Joseph Yon

I love the beauty, the nature, the peacefulness I feel in the woods. It’s impossible to pick a favorite spot. I love the rocky beach at Whitefish Point. Next month I plan to see all the falls in the Munising area. – Shelley Lewis

Whitefish Point, Photo Courtesy of Karrie Altland

Whitefish Point, Photo Courtesy of Karrie Altland

Dog sledding at Nature’s Kennel! – Theresa Krol

The agate beaches, Curly Lewis Drive, the lighthouses, Grand Island’s Trout Bay, 12 Mile Beach, Salt Point Beach… Lots more to love! – Holly Kulhawick

Two-Hearted river. – Kelli Logan

Boating along Pictured Rocks on a hot sunny day! Stunning! – Dianne Tribfelner

The shores of Marquette. – Steph Larson Wentela

Lake in the Clouds where only one word describes it – spectacular! – Leslie Dittman Coon

Miners Falls, Photo Courtesy of Tammi Capron

Miners Falls, Photo Courtesy of Tammi Capron

The beautiful waterfalls of the U.P. (Miners Falls in Munising) – Jesse Barcega

I love to watch the boats come through the Soo Locks. – Andrea Selewski

My personal favorite is “the cove” at Presque Isle in Marquette. – Hills Anne

Anything missing? Let us know what you love to do in the Upper Peninsula by commenting below!

Dive into Pure Michigan Shipwrecks at These 5 Preserves

Since Michigan is surrounded by large bodies of water, it is one of the best places to explore shipwrecks. Experience history firsthand by visiting one of the sites this summer! Even if you aren’t a diver, there are options for charter tours with glass bottoms perfect for making memories while staying dry! To get you started, here are five water preserves that offer many shipwreck dives and tours. 

Thunder Bay Shipwreck Dive

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Located on Lake Huron, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary holds nearly 200 historic shipwrecks in and around the bay. The cold, fresh water preserves the wrecks intact and frozen in time. There are several ranging depths, from a few inches to 200 feet, so it’s perfect for both diving beginners and experts or even snorkelers. Visit the headquarters at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center to learn more about the wrecks before getting into the water. A few of the sites to visit include the Monohansett, the Grecian, the schooner Defiance and the brig John J. Audubon.

If you don’t want to get wet but still want to explore, look into Alpena Shipwreck Tours. Take off from Alpena into Lake Huron’s Shipwreck Alley. With “glass-bottom” viewing wells, these cruises are the perfect option for non-divers or for families with children. While cruising and checking out the wrecks, you’ll hear about the history and legends of Thunder Bay.

Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve

Head over to the Traverse City area for some great sites. Grand Traverse Bay is strategically located, which means many ships have sailed through for commerce activities. The Bay holds several lost ships near the shorelines making it a great destination for diving. The Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve has worked hard to keep these wrecks intact for your viewing and learning pleasure. Check out Metropolis, a schooner that was lost in a snow storm in 1886. Some of the debris is only in eight feet of water, but there are deeper portions in 120 feet of water. Another schooner, the Yuba is only in 15 feet of water, making it a viable option for beginning divers. A third option, out of many, is the A.J. Rogers, built in 1862 that sank in 1898 while attempting to reach Old Mission Point. This schooner is located 53 feet under water.

If you’re looking to learn how to scuba dive or go with a group, check out Scuba North. A full service diving center, Scuba North has several options for charters, group travel and training.

shipwreck

Alger Underwater Preserve

For another Michigan location to explore, go further north to Munising. The Alger Underwater Preserve is located on the south shore of Lake Superior which includes Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Grand Island. In addition to shipwrecks, there are “sea caves” and underwater interpretative trails. A couple of the popular sites are the Smith Moore, resting at 70 to 105 feet of water, and the Bermuda, popular with sport divers at a depth of 12 feet.

For a great tour, go with Exploring the North for narrated tours of the Lake Superior Shipwrecks with glass-bottom viewing panes perfect for observing the wrecks. They also offer diving for any type of diver, from beginner to expert.

Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve

Visit the Thumb and check out the Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve in Lake Huron. There are several family fun activities as well, like the Port Sanilac Lighthouse, Sanilac Petroglyphs and the Lake Huron Shipwreck Museum. This Preserve is popular with sport divers as there are several options within recreational diving limits and at least 16 shipwrecks are above 120 feet. Visit Sport, the first steel tug on the Great Lakes. Sport has an abundance of relics and tools scattered throughout the site. Undiscovered until 1986, Regina is another great option with cargo scattered along the lake floor.

Go through Rec & Tec Dive Charters for an easier way of getting to the wrecks. Take a look at their website for more information on schedules and the area.

shipwreck 2

Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve

The Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve is another great location on Lake Michigan to find fantastic shipwrecks. Visit the wreck Havana, a schooner that sunk in 1887, for great viewing of the ship’s construction. The hull, keelson, centerboard, hanging knees and more can be observed by divers. Another wreck is the Rockaway, lost in a storm in 1891 while sailing from Ludington to Benton Harbor. Make sure you stop in at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven for some cool information surrounding the wrecks.

Shipwreck Explorers is one company you can go through for scheduling your diving tours. In the southeast region of Lake Michigan, the company can take you to the wrecks Hennepin, S.S. Michigan, Hamilton, and H.C. Ackley off the shores of Saugatuck and South Haven.

Be sure to check out our website for more trip ideas if you visit one of these locations!

What shipwrecks are your favorite to dive or view? Share with us in the comments!

Planning (And Planting!) Your Perfect Pure Michigan-Inspired Garden

Nothing soothes a winter-weary soul quite like the languid lure of gardening. Green thumbs know well the joy of poring over seed catalogs, daydreaming of bountiful blooms and homegrown goodness. But you don’t need to be a green thumb to enjoy the fruits of this labor! A garden-inspired getaway to the Great Lakes Bay Region - ripe and ready with tips, tricks and inspiration – will prepare you for planning and planting your perfect Pure Michigan garden! Grab your gardening gloves… it’s time to go and grow!

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O'Deay

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O’Deay

Beautiful Learning

The 110-acre landscape at Dow Gardens will both excite your eye and calm your mind as you stroll through diverse gardens including the “Pollinator”, “Herb”, “Stream Walk”, “Color”, “Pineside”, “Rose”, and “Children’s Garden”. (Psst! The Children’s Garden is a must for the young and young-at-heart, complete with forts and gigantic bubble-making opportunities!)

- Admission is just $5 for adults, $1 for children ages 6 – 17, and free for children ages 5 and younger.

Private Garden Tour: Take time for private pleasures. Enjoy a two-hour, in-depth, guided walk (for five adults or more) for $20 plus admission.

- Mark Your Calendar: May 10 and June 14 are Dow Garden’s Tuesday Evening Tours - evening strolls with Senior Horticulturist Chuck Martin! (Just imagine what you’ll learn here; you may want to bring a notebook!) Admission is just $5.

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O'Deay

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O’Deay

Insider Tip: Dow Gardens is, indeed, spectacular, but don’t leave without perusing the gift shop located inside. Gardening decor to daily essentials, signs to seeds – this place is filled with unique garden discoveries!  

Know, Then Grow

Just like gardens themselves, no two gardeners are alike! While some aim to grow delicious flavors, others long for bounty of the beautiful kind. Chippewa Nature Center is 1,200 acres of a little something for everyone, and simply walking about the nature preserve may inspire new interests! Admission is free. (Yes, free!)

Heads up! Once a year, Chippewa Nature Center holds their Native Plant Sale, a.k.a. the time to stock up on yard plants that are both easy on the budget and beneficial to the planet! Your chance to bulk up: May 27 – 28! (Hint: Make sure you clear out your trunk; you’re going to want the space to bring home your finds!)

Discover The Hill

 

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O'Deay

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O’Deay

Dahlia Hill, that is! Eight terraces, 3,000-plus dahlias (with over 250 varieties), and a working art studio and museum – this gem in Midland is mesmerizing, memorable, and designed to inspire.  What’s it like to be engulfed in dahlias? Often referred to as the quintessential cut flower, English plantsman Christopher Lloyd said it best: “Dahlias spell excitement and we can do with some of that in our lives.”

- Open to the public from dawn to dusk, seven days a week from April to November; free admission.

- Considering gardening with these “sassy, but elegant” flowers? The Dahlia Hill Society Tuber Sale is the place to be: May 21 & 28, 8 a.m. – 4 p.m. Hundreds of varieties will be available at or below cost (think $2 each and 6/$10) and expert volunteers will be on hand to answer questions.

Disclaimer: Planting bright and beautiful dahlias may cause your neighbors extreme jealousy; proceed with caution!

Dig This Gardening Décor

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O'Deay

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O’Deay

Some gardeners are dazzled by soil composition; others relish every rose species imaginable. And still others … enjoy digging for deals and gardening décor nearly as much as (or maybe more than) hands-on growing!

- Find something for every kind of gardener at Warmbier Farms, an absolute mecca of home and gardening supplies! For decorative statues and fountains to rubber gardening boots and wide-brimmed hats, too, make it a point to visit May 12 – 15 for “Best of the Garden”. With live demonstrations and specials galore, you’ll nab knowledge, gardening items  and ideas.

- Or head into Tumble Weed Farms, the outdoor garden center with lawn and garden décor (and one of seven shops and over 40,000 square feet) at Pride and Country Village of Unique Shops. (Psst! Gardeners might “dig” the attire in the Schoolhouse Fashion Boutique, too!)

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O'Deay

Photo Courtesy of Jen Wainwright O’Deay

blog headshot

 

Jen Wainwright O’Deay is a freelance writer in Bridgeport, Mich. She specializes in creating effective connection through marketing communications copy, feature articles and content/blog posts. You can find her camping with her family, reading Thoreau, or at: www.feelthesewords.com