A Day Trip to UP Michigan

This trip was my boyfriend Mitch’s idea. I was itching to take a weekend trip, just the two of us, to somewhere—anywhere really—and my plans to spend a weekend in Door County fell through. We both love “Up North,” being outdoors, and had never been to the Porcupine Mountains before, so we decided to go spend a day exploring.

About two hours away from his mom’s house in Eagle River, we headed for Lake Superior early in the morning. Before leaving town we stopped at the grocery store to get supplies for a picnic lunch (fun, romantic and budget-friendly!), packed it in a cooler, and stopped at my favorite coffee place in Eagle River, The Blend, for my first pumpkin spice latte of the season!

The Blend

The grey sky, which was gloomy and stormy looking most of the day, made me a little wary of the weather, but we never got rained on—the sun even came out from hiding a few times! But it didn’t take away from the breathtaking nature we got to see.

On our way to the Porcupine Mountains we pulled over to explore a small path that led to the rocky beach of Lake Superior. It’s so massive you can’t even see beyond the horizon. We could’ve stayed on that beach and just watched the waves all day. But eventually we got back in the car, making a note that we’d have to come back and have a fire on the beach and camp someday.

Lake Superior Beach

We didn’t have a set plan, exactly, and found ourselves making decisions along the way. There was pretty clear signage for the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. We found our way to the customer service center easily and there we purchased a day pass to park the car in one of their lots for about $10. The employees there were very friendly and provided us with a newsletter of the park that included a map with the different attractions. We definitely had to pick and choose our destinations as the entire park is a grand total of 60,000 acres.

We ended up deciding on the Lake of the Clouds as our first destination, because there was a trail close to where we parked. It was breathtaking! For September everything was still fairly green, and despite the cloudy skies I was still in awe of the natural beauty of the area.

Lake of the Clouds

Our next destination was a trail through the woods that led out to a different area of Lake Superior (we kind of stumbled upon it by accident). I remember it seemed like a secret hideaway spot with tree foliage and big rocks hiding the view of the lake behind them. Once we passed the big boulders, it opened up into a rocky edge of the lake. This was my favorite spot of the day and I’m not exactly sure why. I loved the rock formations, the blue-green water, and the bright blue sky. The sun even decided to peek out. It was another great place to just sit and be, take in the tranquility and appreciate nature’s beauty:)

Lake Superior Rocks

We stopped to eat our lunch at a small area with picnic tables and a place to park the car. It overlooked a little sandy beach of Lake Superior.

Picnic at Lake SuperiorLake Superior beach

After lunch we headed to our final stop of the day, a series called Presque Isle Waterfalls (Manabezo Falls, Manido Falls, and Nawadaha Falls).

Again, beautiful scenery. Two of the falls looked more like rapids—the third was the most impressive.

Presque Isle FallsPresque Isle Falls

They led to yet another area on the edge of Lake Superior, a little clearing with a wooden teepee structure and washed up logs.

UP MichiganLake Superior shorePorcupine Mountain State Park

We walked along the rocky beach and found ourselves a grassy area to sit away from the other tourists and just relax.

Disclaimer: Presque Isle Waterfalls in particular required a ton of stair climbing. I was impressed with the number of older couples we saw along the trail.

Porcupine Mountain State Park Stairs

Overall, loved this trip! We love up north and we love the UP and we look forward to going back!

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