Gateway to Upper Peninsula, Mackinaw City is an ideal destination for offbeat travelers. Located on the northern most tip of lower peninsula this city provides an abundance of attractions & activities, but here are few which we covered on our trip and surely shouldn’t be missed:
An 8 km long suspension bridge standing 552 feet above is part of Interstate Highway 75, which connects Upper Peninsula to the mainland and is the way ahead for entering Canada. First opened in 1957, a wonderful drive through this 4 lane bridge takes you between Mackinaw city and St. Ignace. Check out the video
Oldest working lighthouse of Lake Superior, with history beginning back 1849, this lighthouse has observed greatest shipwrecks and so is also known as graveyard of shipwrecks. Located next to the largest freshwater lake of North America in Paradise, Michigan, here one can visit Shipwreck Museum and Lighthouse, sit besides the Lakeshore spending some quality time with mesmerizing lake. We got enthralled by the beauty of Lake Superior and spend hours relaxing while walking along the deserted beach.
Ferry is lifeline of Mackinac Island, the only way to commute from Mackinaw City. The ferry to Island is a 20-min ride and on way back 30 min. Beautifully located in midst of Lake Huron, Mackinac Island is one of the most famous attraction of Michigan. The Island is quaint, historic and lively, which can be explored only by bicycle or buggy ride. On the way back to Mackinaw City it’s a great experience as ferry drives down below Mackinac bridge and you can get a closer look around the bridge along with some historical information about it.
Don’t miss the chance of experiencing sunset along the Mackinac bridge. Ideal for photographers and nature lovers, the surrounding area provides breathtaking sunset views from either ends Colonial Michilimackinac Park in Mackinaw City or Staits State Park in St. Ignace.
The trip to the island is not complete without having the mouthwatering fudge. As Mackinac island is better known as America’s Fudge Capital and offers countless fudge flavors which no one can resist. Must try Joann’s Fudge, selling famous fudge since last 35 years.
Scalawags WhiteFish & Chips is Mackinaw City’s famous food joint serving quality seafood. On the shore of freshwater lakes this city offers ample seafood options. Don’t miss this place located in corner of Downtown, it might take a while to order the food due to it’s popularity, but it’s definitely worth a wait.
Walking down the streets in downtown is a true delight. There are shops of fudge, souvenirs, apparels and one can find many local eateries. If you get lucky as us, you might end up enjoying bands and music show late in the evening.
While strolling around Downtown if you get across a human size statue just give it a closer view, you might be looking at Robert Shangle, the world famous “Live Statue”. Most of the time people cannot sense that he’s real person & get stunned with his sudden blinks.
- While visiting Upper Peninsula try to get to Tahquamenon Falls State Park.
- For Ferry rides to Mackinac Island opt for Starline or Shepler’s ferry links are below: http://sheplersferry.com/ or http://www.mackinacferry.com/
- Summers are the best time to visit Mackinaw, otherwise keep some warmers as it may get cold.
Being the only state with two peninsulas and borders with four Great Lakes (Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Superior & Lake Erie), we made a trip to State of Michigan. We always had a strong desire to explore this heavenly place, so we took an additional two days off on Labor day Weekend.
We started from Columbus, Ohio towards Mackinaw City which was a 472 miles long drive. It took us nearly eight hours to reach there and we barely made it before sunset. After getting re-energized witnessing the gorgeous sunset, we were all set to take a stroll around Downtown.
Next morning we drove to Whitefish Point Lighthouse located in Upper Peninsula connected to the mainland through Mackinac Bridge. We drove 80 miles from city through Lush green Scenic drive (one of our best long drives), just to experience majestic Lake Superior.
After spending a good time there we drove back to Mackinaw city and took a 16 min Ferry to Mackinac Island. Mackinac Island is connected only via ferry with Michigan mainland and is popular for its awestruck viewpoints, fort, fudge and famous buggy rides, the only public transport available on island.
As we had to make a good 150 miles drive we started early morning for our next destination Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We landed before 11:00 am driving through beautiful Traverse city and took a hike into dunes for next 4 hours. The initial Dune climb looked fine, but the next 4 miles in sand dunes steep uphill and downhill totally drained us out.
Worn out and starving we dropped our plan for Silver Lake(2 hrs drive from Bear Dunes) and headed straight towards our hotel 169 miles away in city of Holland by nightfall.
After getting our muscles back in shape with a good overnight sleep, next day (The Labor Day) we kept it light and decided to enjoy Labor day Truck Parade in Holland Downtown (read it here). Labor day in Holland is a special occasion and the whole city of Holland and neighboring Zeeland gather to say thanks and acknowledge the local labors and service providers.By noon we made our move towards Windmill Island Gardens, famous for De Zwaan, the only authentic working Dutch windmill in USA. Also this place has got many Dutch cultured artifacts and details.
In the evening we headed towards Holland state park beach along Lake Michigan to enjoy the sunset next to the big Red Lighthouse. It was one of the most memorable sunset and came out as a perfect end of our trip.
Final day we left after breakfast for Columbus. A good 6 hours drive and we were back in our city.
As we really like offbeat locations and try to avoid big cities, so we skipped Detroit, Grand Rapids and Traverse city on our trip to Michigan. We will be back soon with more detailed posts on Michigan, so stay tuned.
Last week we took five day trip across Michigan state (which we will talk about in our upcoming posts) and luckily got the opportunity to witness 2016 Labor Day Truck Parade in our last stop Holland, Michigan. This parade wasn’t part of our itinerary, but while going through the upcoming events calendar on Holland’s official website, we found it really fascinating.
Holland & Zeeland community have a special way to honor their local service providers and labor force by organizing a Truck parade. The parade starts from Zeeland around 9:15 a.m. towards Holland ending up at Civic Center in Holland followed by free ice cream & snacks for everyone.
We reached Civic Center around 9:30 a.m. where people had gathered in large number with family and friends across the street, anxiously waiting for the trucks. The parade started with Holland Police Cops, followed by 72 trucks ranging from Road services to Digital service providers finalizing with Holland and Zeeland fire trucks, closing up with Zeeland Police Cops.
After the Parade got over, people gathered around Civic Center parking to have a closer look around the fascinating trucks. Kids got goodies & this year there were Frisbee for all.
- Try to be there by 9:00 a.m. if you want to grab a special spot, although you can get the view even if you reach just before the parade.
- You can bring along your chair which most people brought to enjoy the wait time and great Parade afterwards.
- Bring earplugs for kids as it can get loud.
- Ice-creams and snacks are free.
Swept away by 2011 Tsunami in Japan, this Harley Davidson bike along-with other articles in a container drift across the Pacific ocean. Finally, it was spotted after more than an year, 4000 miles away on a beach of Graham Island in British Columbia, Canada.
The bike origin was unveiled by its Japanese number plate which it carried along for the long time. Although Harley Davidson offered to restore and return the bike to the owner but he requested to preserve the bike in same condition as a memorial to the victims of Tsunami. Currently this bike is under display at Harley Davidson Museum, Milwaukee since Oct, 2012.
The famous city of California, San Diego has picturesque landscape, vast coast line, water sports and marine life. San Diego’s Zoo, Sea world and Downtown are major destinations attracting tourists throughout the year. But as we always look for less crowded and not so popular tourist spots, so we tried to explore some offbeat features this city has to offer on our two day trip.
A perfect place to get the best view of San Diego downtown. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and spend few hours of calmness in Centennial park overlooking San Diego skyline.
Don’t miss the chance to drive on San Diego- Coronado bridge, a 2.1 miles long 5 lane bridge is part of State route 75. As Coronado Island is a Naval base, it took a while to join Coronado to mainland via bridge. Finally in 1969, this bridge was opened for public,being 200 feet tall it allows naval base ships to pass underneath with no hassle.
Coronado Beach, most beautiful white sand beach is mainly known for surfing. Driving down the San Diego-Coronado bridge, a few blocks to the left, we got the view of radiant beach. This beach is along the Ocean Boulevard with free parking on road, restrooms and shower facilities on beach. Best time to visit the Coronado beach is early morning.
On one side of Ocean blvd is spectacular white sand beach and on other is a fine range of mansions and bungalows. Some of them are incredible piece of artwork while some depicts the lavish lifestyles, a few of these are also haunted.
Located 15 miles away from downtown San Diego, Torrey Pines State Reserve is famous trekking and hiking destination offering various trails in this state reserve with a wide geographical range.
San Diego offers many places to experience breathtaking sunset. Wide coastline and cliffs of San Diego makes it a photographer’s paradise for capturing stunning sunset. La Jolla Cove and Torrey Pines State Reserve are the best places to experience sunset across the ocean shore.
As a coastline area San Diego’s restaurants offers profusion of sea food. If you are foodie like us, must try the specialty of San Diego…Fish Tacos, a deep fried white fish on tortilla with some fresh lettuce, salsa and avocado along with slice of lime. Not to mention, San Diego has the best Mexican restaurants mainly in Old Town.
What’s on your list, if you visit San Diego?
While visiting San Diego we came across Torrey Pines State Reserve, a 15 miles drive from the city, it’s a 2000 acres state park running across the coast.
Offering spectacular beach, cliffs, flora & fauna, trails in abundance & rare torrey pines, this place is a bliss for nature lovers. It has been listed under National Natural Landmark and California State Parks for preserving “Torrey Pines” an endangered species of pines.
Why to visit Torrey Pines State Reserve:
Hiking Trails : Having 8 trails including Broken Hill Trail, Beach Trail, High Point Trail & many more this reserve attracts hikers throughout the year. Beach Trail, Guy Fleming & Razor Point Trail are considered as most famous among visitors. The Beach Trail, 3/4 miles stepped stretch takes you to the Torrey Pine State Beach.
Glider Port: Apart from hiking, this place also welcomes gliding enthusiasts for paragliding, tandem gliding and hang gliding. Perfectly positioned on the cliff above Black Beach, it’s an ideal way to get stunning view of the ocean, state reserve and La Jolla.
Captivating Rock Formation: The most striking feature at reserve are the rock formations. This natural habitat is mostly rocky and has sedimentary rocks all over, mainly prone to erosion. That’s why fascinating formations have build along the trails over the vast expanse of time.
Photographer’s Paradise: Even without an adventurous spirit, still you can enjoy the picturesque landscape or stroll around the park. One can spent a whole day either on the beach or sitting on the cliffs overlooking ocean.
- Easiest way to reach Torrey Pine is by car.
- Being a natural reserve, food and drinks are not allowed except on the beach.
- Wear comfortable shoes for trekking, as trails are steep at points.
- Reserve remains open from 7:15 AM to sunset, all around the year.
After taking an enjoyable ride with Untapped tour we headed for Harley Davidson Museum, a 130,000 sq ft building complex on the banks of Menomonee river.
Known for its power-packed engines and booming sound, Harley Davidson started as a journey of 4 like minded people (William S. Harley and Arthur, Walter, William A. Davidson) back in 1903.
Tickets : We bought the tickets along with Untapped tour and got it for 12$ each (saved 8$), you can buy it from museum also.
The museum got opened for public in year 2008, having 450 motorcycles and Harley Davidson Motor Company’s 110 year history artifacts. The museum has two floors, each displaying the history and archives from Harley Davidson Motorcycles. The museum comprises of The Engine Room,The Clubs and Competition gallery, The Motorcycle Gallery , Tank Wall, The Custom Culture gallery & The Experience Gallery.
Engine Room: After entering the gallery experience the 1940’s Knucklehead Engine dismantled into multiple parts in the Engine Room. This is an exquisite experience for die hard Harley fans, interacting with motor and sounds of engine. Do not miss the orange wall displaying the evolvement of Harley Davidson’s engines from the very first to the latest.
The Motorcycle Gallery- Moving through the gallery on upper floor there is a chain of motorcycles depicting the glorious first 50 years. Each of this model is an important segment of the history, serving with postal department and US military, Harley has emerged out as top class motorcycle.
Tank Wall- Be ready to get amazed with 100 designs of Harley Davidson tanks custom-made since 1903 on a single wall.
The Custom Culture Gallery: This section is dedicated to customized bikes featuring impact of Harley Davidson worldwide, like 13 foot long engine of ‘King Kong’, replica of Captain America and Easy rider bike and many more.
The Clubs and Competition gallery: Since its launch Harley Davidson has been part of many events and tournaments. This section is devoted to those golden moments and the recognition’s of vintage bikes with replica of racing tracks along with photographs and copy of articles to portray the glorious past.
The Experience Gallery: At last before you leave, experience the ride on Harley Davidson and get clicked. The gallery has a wide variety of bikes from the classic ones to the new.
Apart from the museum the premises also have” The shop” (featuring souvenirs, clothing, accessories and collectibles) and a restaurant.
Planning a visit Milwaukee? Make a stop here, you definitely don’t wanna miss this.
Located on Coast Blvd, La Jolla Cove, CA is a popular attraction offering some breathtaking views, activities and getting personal with sea lions relaxing on the rocks.
Home to world famous breweries, Milwaukee is nearly 100 miles from Chicago. To get acquainted with this city brought us to Untapped Tours. We heard about this city tour from TripAdvisor and booked without giving it a second thought.
Why Untapped Tours?
Tickets: City Tour– $38 p.p , Ticket Packages-$5o p.p. The Package includes City Tour with the tickets for Harley Davidson Museum(general admission only) by saving $8.
Book it here– Untapped Tours of Milwaukee
City Hall- Pabst theater- Bronze Fonz- Wisconsin Gas Light Building-Milwaukee art museum- Mansions along Lake Michigan- North Point Lighthouse- Henry W. Maier Festival Park- Historic Third Ward- Clock Shadow Creamery- Miller Park- Miller Brewery- Tripoli Shrine Centre- Pabst Mansion- Lakefront Brewery.
Facts we came across through this trip:
- Milwaukee is home to 4 major breweries, Pabst, Miller, Schlitz &Blatz.
- Tripoli Shrine Centre is replica of renowned Taj Mahal.
- This city is also home to Harley Davidson.
- Summerfest , World’s Largest Music Festival is held every year in Milwaukee.
- The Wisconsin Gas Building’s flame is an exceptional way to forecast weather.
Do check out Milwaukee In A Day ! for more information.
Untapped tour turned out as an incredible journey through the iconic landmarks of the city. Have you ever came across such a tour?