On the excellent advice of our uncle, we headed north towards the upper peninsula and Mackinac Island. Michigan is a beautiful state and we were excited to see the great lakes for the first time. We decided to stay at a resort camp ground because they had a laundry facility on site. The people working these were nice and helped get us parked, but we were not really impressed with resort camping. When we were pulling into the campsite we passed the waste treatment plant and we later found out that the resort was built on top of the old landfill! All the sites were right next to each other in a row and the Wi-Fi was always weak if it even worked. The pool was a small little thing, but the kids enjoyed it immensely. Everyone enjoyed the bean bag toss, ladder ball, playground and tetherball while we stayed at the resort. We took a walk down the hiking trail and I was attacked by mosquitoes. We decided to keep going but at a jogging pace which helped with the bugs and allowed us to get some exercise after a day in the car traveling. (As a side note I learned that bug spray will help, but not totally make the mosquitoes stay away)
When we took the ferry to Mackinac Island, we opted for the slowest possible ferry. Most people were in a rush to get there, but we have learned that the getting there is half the fun. Well we picked the right ferry and everyone had a blast on the ship. On the island we decided to walk because I want to rent a surrey bike at some point on our adventure and they didn’t have them on the island. The horse carriage rides were extremely pricey and I am glad we passed on them. The guides were young guys who just worked there and the parts of the tours we over heard did not impress us. At the arch the people on the carriages were forced to get off and take pictures, use the rest rooms nd look around in under five minutes! Since we walked we were able to take our time and pick our own routes around the island. We visited the less touristy fort on the highest point on the island and were some of the only people there. On the paths through the forests we were also on our own with few tourists around. In fact it wasn’t until we made our way back to the shops that we came upon the crowds. The difficult hike had drained us though, so we stopped for ice cream which was delicious. The island was beautiful and we liked it, though it was all set up to maximize profits from the tourists (probably due to the short season the island operates).
In the town of Mackinac we found a cool old park built where the school used to be called the Old School Park. We also were able to go to the beach to skip stones. We ate some fresh white fish, fries and hush puppies before strolling around the shops. There was some amazing shops including a fantasy shop with weapons and a geek game shop, both our kind of store. The kids found another play ground to play at while I had a phone meeting with our insurance agent. Then we went off the tourist path to the fishery to buy some fresh fish. The kids were surprised because the fishery was a no frills commercial/industrial fishing operation that supplies restaurants and grocery stores all over the world. It was a great choice though because we got a pound and a half of fresh caught trout for only $5!
The bridge is a definite must if you are in the area. There is a toll to pay, but the Mackinac bridge was the longest suspension bridge when it was built. We visited the bridge museum before we went across it, so the kids knew the history and construction techniques. They were truly impressed when we drove across it and so were the adults!