It's much easier to find a last-minute campsite on the Upper Peninsula. Its lakeshores are lined by state, county and municipal parks, and its interior is mostly national forest. You can dine cheaply at pasty shops and mom-and-pop drive-ins, instead of cookie-cutter franchises. For travel in neighboring states, see Cheap summer getaways in Wisconsin , Cheap summer getaways in Minnesota and Cheap summer getaways in Iowa and Illinois. This family-friendly folk and roots festival on a farm includes reggae, country, zydeco, jazz and Celtic music on three stages and four workshop areas.
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There's also a juried arts and crafts fair. They include free workshops. Many are in prime locations on Lake Superior or in Lake Michigan beach parks.
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For summer weekends, reserve far in advance. For more, see Michigan's great lake cabins.
You can also tube on the Big Sable River in resort-like Ludington State Park, staying either in a tent or one of the park's three mini-cabins. Michigan has more miles of rail trails than any other state and an active bicycling culture , with many organized bicycle tours. That's a great way to see the countryside and make a lot of friends, too. Many of the best are fund-raising rides, and if you raise the minimum, you pay only the registration fee.
It includes camping, baggage transport, entertainment, maps, a T-shirt and a box lunch the last day. The Michigander tour is July For more, see Bicycling in western Michigan.
To stay on budget, reserve a room at Northwestern Michigan College. View Next Slide. Pictured here is an overlook from Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Though visitors are warned that if they go down the dunes at this very steep point it could take a full 2 hours or a paid rescue! More of the Lake Michigan Shoreline Just about 2 miles from the scenic drive is a dune area that visitors are encouraged to climb since it is marginally easier going. From the parking lot there's one steep ascent, and then several more hills pictured before you come to spectacular lake views.
They often used a cannon I wish I had a photo of it to shoot a zipline-like device to the sinking ship. Those onboard would attach one end to the mast of the ship, and then climb into an oversize pair of trousers dangling from the metal rope and zip to safety on shore. Once a day during summer, rangers demonstrate the device with the help of visiting children.
So why am I sending you to a place for kids? And because the students here, from all over the country, are so preternaturally talented, seeing a symphony, dance concert, or Shakespeare play that they put on can be revelatory.
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The World Youth Symphony Orchestra pictured is so impressive that its concerts are broadcast live on public radio. Moomers After a concert at Interlochen, many make the minute drive to Moomers , a local creamery you can see the cows out back and ice cream parlor that has a devoted following. In , Good Morning America named it the best ice cream parlor in the nation. Having tested its wares in , I can verify that the title is well deserved. Old Mission Peninsula Just on the doorstep of Traverse City is the Old Mission Peninsula, which juts 19 miles north into Traverse Bay, serving as a divider between its east and west sides.
Idyllic beaches line this 2- to 3-mile-wide spit, the interior being given over to farms, some of which are part of the national Barn Quilt Trail.
Started by an Ohioan in , the project now includes over 2, barns in 22 states. Participating structures feature quilt patterns painted on their exteriors as a way of honoring the many generations of mostly rural women who created quilts for their families.
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Stop at pretty much any shop, restaurant, or attraction on the peninsula to get a copy of a free pamphlet with info about why a particular pattern was chosen for each of the 19 historic barns that now sport these lovely designs. The barn pictured here is over years old and still owned by the family who built it.
The place was settled in by Christian missionaries hoping to convert Chippewa tribe members. Two of the area's early settlers were Joseph and Mary Hesler, who lived in this log cabin from to A free cellphone tour will fill you in on such details as the type of logs used hemlock , how long it probably took to build the cabin two weeks with the help of the neighbors , and other fun facts.
Mission Point Lighthouse Just next to the log cabin stands this handsome lighthouse. Inside is a small museum about the lighthouse keepers, and a gift shop manned by a park ranger who also gives out information and maps for the many hiking trails in the area they transform into cross-country skiing trails in winter.
The Beach at Mission Point And right in front of the lighthouse is a lovely beach—one of the many, many stretches of sand abutting the marvelously cool freshwater lakes of the region. Northern Michigan is the world's leading supplier of sour cherries and you'll see cherry farms almost everywhere. The trees pictured here are from a "u-pick" farm on the Old Mission Peninsula. Wineries Old Mission Peninsula—and the neighboring agricultural regions around Suttons Bay and Torch Lake—is on the 45th parallel of latitude, a line that not only marks the halfway point between the equator and the North Pole, but has long been a geographical marker for areas with particularly good conditions for winemaking.
So how does the wine here compare to what's being grown in, say, France's Bordeaux region also on the 45th parallel?