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Tag: Straits State Park

Exploring the Southern U.P.

Wawtam Lighthouse

On the first night of our road trip, we stayed at one of our favorite Michigan campgrounds, Straits State Park. As mentioned in my Best Places to Tent Camp in Michigan, we absolutely love the waterfront, bridge view sites at Straits. On this trip I realized that those sites are no longer reserved just for tents. Those sites are hard to get so I wasn’t so much upset that we weren’t on the water, but now with bigger rigs camping there, sites a row or two back can no longer see the bridge. It also felt incredibly crowded. I’m going to have to go back and edit my Michigan Tent Camping article. I’m not so sure that I would recommend this campground if you can’t get one of those coveted bridge view sites.

Anyway, after packing up camp, we had a few hours to kill before we could check into our next campsite at Fayette Historic State Park. Luckily, there is a lot to do between St. Ignace and the Garden Peninsula. Just north of the Mackinac Bridge, downtown St. Ignace has a very similar feel to Mackinaw City, but with yooper charm and a whole lot fewer people. There is a boardwalk to explore that leads to the St. Ignace’s Wawatam Lighthouse (top). Fun fact, this lighthouse was originally built for the Michigan Welcome Center in Port Huron and was moved to St. Ignace and illuminated in 2006. Its probably the least historic of all of Michigan’s lighthouses.

Kitch-iti-Kipi, The Big Spring

We stopped for pasties at our favorite pasty shop, Lehto’s and headed for Manistique. One of the places that really stood out to us on our last UP adventure was Kitch-it-Kipi, or the Big Spring. We headed there first and were shocked to see how busy it was. The parking lot was packed and the line for the raft went all the way to the parking lot. I don’t know if this is just because people are opting for outdoor vacations this summer or because we visited on a Saturday, but needless to say we did not wait in that line. Masks are required to ride the raft and there is a ranger monitoring social distancing (although it still looked pretty tight on there) and turning the wheel to maneuver the raft. If you have had dreams to pilot the raft at Kitch-iti-Kipi, I would check back in 2021.

Be sure to check back next week as I share about our experience in Michigan’s Garden Peninsula at Fayette Historic State Park. Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, click here. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. For information about our new Guided Photography Tours, visit GuidedPhoto.com.

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Epic Michigan Road Trip: Straits State Park

Mackinac Bridge at Sunset

Straits State Park was the first major stop of the trip and it was my favorite campground. The park has three campgrounds the upper campground and two lower campgrounds. The lower campgrounds have a view of the Mackinac Bridge. If you are a tent camper, they have about 6 sites right on the water with a completely unobstructed view of the bridge, but no electricity. These sites do fill up fast, we were only able to be on the water on a Sunday night, so if you’re interested, I recommend booking as close to that 6 month window as possible. If you are not a tent camper, or you can’t do without electricity, there are some spots just on the other side of the road that have a good view and there is a small park, which was right next to our site, where you could set up your tripod. Chris has an awesome shot of our tent lit up at night with the bridge in the distance. That photo will be up on the site on Friday.

Straits State Park also has a bridge viewing area away from the campground if you’re not looking to camp. The park is also home to the Father Marquette Memorial which is on the other side of I-75 and also features a bridge viewing area. The bridge is definitely the biggest attraction at this park.

About the Photo:
This photo was taken during sunset from our tent site on the water. It was a single RAW exposure with basic edits done in Lightroom. I also used a graduated filter in Lightroom to darken the sky.

Camera Gear:
Nikon D3100 with 55-200mm kit lens on a tripod

Date Taken:
June 26, 2016

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. To book your stay at Straits State Park, visit the Michigan DNR.

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Epic Michigan Road Trip

Mackinac Lights

I have just returned from my Epic Michigan Road Trip and I am excited to begin recapping my trip with you! It was a long trip and I’m still trying to figure out the best way to organize my posts, but let me give you a brief overview of my trip! We camped this trip after and setting up and taking down camp 8 times, we can now do it so efficiently; its awesome! I can’t wait to go camping again!

Day 1: Hartwick Pines Campground
Days 2 & 3: Straits State Park, visiting Mackinac Island
Days 4 & 5: McLain State Park, visiting the Keewenaw
Day 5: Bay Furnace Campground, visiting Munising
Day 6: Aune Osborne Campground, visiting Sault Ste. Marie
Day 7: Hoeft State Park, visiting the Lake Huron Coast
Day 8: Rifle River Recreation Area

I want to give my review of Hartwick Pines Campground now because we got in late and left early so I don’t have a photo of it, but I don’t want to neglect it. I had visited Hartwick Pines once before but I had never been to the campground. Hartwick Pines is a large state park located off of I-75 in Grayling, Michigan. It features the largest old growth White Pine forest in the lower peninsula. One of the biggest draws to the park is the logging museum.  The campground is small and we got the last available site for Friday night. I was pleasantly surprised that the site was secluded, wooded, and quiet (until the guys in the site next to us came back at 1 am, but I don’t think that’s indicative of the park). Of all the parks we stayed at, they had the nicest, most updated bathroom facilities. I would highly recommend this campground to anyone and I have a feeling we will be back for a longer stay!

Thanks for stopping by! If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page, follow me on Instagram, and Flickr! To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page. To plan your visit to Hartwick Pines, visit the Michigan DNR.

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