#travel #life #familytravel #thingstodoinmichigan #rvlife
This week my family and I took a vacation away from our home on wheels and drove four hours North to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. We began our trip by checking into our air b & b just outside the rocks in Munising, MI. We stayed with Todd & Jackie in a camper on their property. (Yes we left our camper to stay in someone else’s camper.) I guess you could say we love tiny living. They were great hosts and the place was exceptionally clean. I’ll attach the air b and b link below for anyone interested in planning a trip with them.
Our first stop was Munising Falls. Its on the westernmost portion of Pictured Rocks. The fall drops 50 feet over a sandstone cliff. It was an easy 10 minute walk to get to. The walking trail was seemingly accessible as well as kid and pet friendly.
Pictured below is Munising Falls. To the left of the waterfall was a steep set of stairs that offered closer views but we enjoyed our view from where we were and opt out of getting closer to it.
We then came across Sand Point, which was also on the westernmost portion of Pictured Rocks. It was a nice white beach right outside of downtown Munising. We didn’t stop because the weather was crummy but this would have been a great place for Ellie and Beaux to run around.
The next landscape we saw was Miners Castle Point. There were 3 observation decks in which you could view the rock formation. The picture above was taken on the highest deck. This was one of my favorite spots. The views were unbelievable. The first two decks were accessible but the third deck requires walking down a large flight of stairs. If you have small children I recommend wearing them or having them in a stroller. We made the mistake of letting Ellie run around and this was not the spot for it. We had a couple of terrifying moments.
The picture below was taken on the third observation deck, which offered gorgeous views of Pictured Rocks.
The third place we stopped at was Miners Castle Falls. This was a short drive down from Castle Point. It was a 1/2 mile walk down a dirt path into the woods. We carried Ellie on our backs for this and I’m glad we did.
There was an upper observation deck that gave an alright view of the waterfall and to the left of that was a large flight of stairs that led to the bottom of the waterfall. We didn’t walk this, but I believe there would have better been views from there.
The picture below is our family standing on the upper deck in front of Miners Castle Falls. You can slightly see the waterfall to the left of John.
We then headed back to town for our scheduled boat tour of Pictured Rocks. As we waited for our departure time we stopped at the local Cafe “Falling Rock and Bookstore” for ice cream. The staff was friendly and the atmosphere great. I could have spent more time looking around but we hurried back to make it to the docks in time for our cruise.
Unfortunately, when we got there we were informed our boat tour was canceled due to the weather. The winds were producing waves up to 10 feet making it unfit to sail. The boat tours had informed me via email 2 hours prior, but I was unable to receive it until later that evening due to a lack of cell phone service.
The picture below is the boat we were scheduled to go on.
If you’re planning a trip to Pictured Rocks I reccomend knowing exactly where you want to go and how to get there. Don’t count on your phone to navigate for you or answer any of your questions on google. If you have boat tickets you should print them off. You will not have good service there. There are maps at each site and DNR to help you if you need it, but still do your research and write down important information to be prepared.
Once we discovered our tour was canceled we headed back to where we left off site seeing along the coast of Lake Superior. Our next site was Chapel Falls. This was located off Chapel Road, which was a dirt road that is a few miles long but has pot holes like you wouldn’t believe. After what seemed like forever we finally made it to the very end of the road where the parking lot was. To our surprise Chapel Falls was a 1.5 mile hike. We decided we better not since night was approaching and we didn’t know our way through the woods. Disappointed, we headed back to the camper.
On our way back on Chapel Rd we decided to have some fun & let Ellie take the wheel. We figured she could use some practice (like the next 14 years aren’t already enough.) But this lightened the mood and got us back on track.
Shortly after, John and I looked up at the sky and to our surprise saw an opening in the dark clouds. The opening was shaped as a heart. I tried to snap a picture but I wasn’t fast enough. It was just what we needed to see in that moment.
In the end things didn’t go as planned. We missed out on some things we were looking forward to seeing but we saw something cool that we weren’t expecting. Overall, we had an amazing experience. The sights we saw were well worth the hikes and the things we missed we’ll make up next time.
Stay tuned for more on our second day at Pictured Rocks!