Travel expert, Marcia Frost shares must see sights when you visit Munising, Michigan.
The wonders of the Great Lakes never cease to amaze, but there’s one town in Michigan that can also match the color and activity of a Caribbean Island, with plenty to do on the water.
Munising is all the way up north in the Upper Peninsula. You can reach it by car through Wisconsin, or you can fly to Marquette or Escanaba, both less than an hour away.
It’s actually a fairly small town for everything it offers. Local shops and restaurants dot one main road, M28. Part of the experience is eating at the local stops.
I had my first Pasties at Muldoons. They taste a lot more interesting than they look. The vegetable was full like a pot pie and the apple was similar to a flaky turnover. They are perfect to take out and eat by the docks.
Frozen Flamingo is a good spot to get local ice cream and Dogpatch offers a nice salad bar and a delicious pulled pork. We also ate at a nice restaurant in nearby Gladstone at Freshwater Tavern, overlooking the water. They have a more varied menu we really enjoyed.
The big attraction here is Lake Superior and there are many different ways to see it. I took three different boat tours.
The first is a fairly new one to the area, Munising Pirate Cruises. This is a perfect adventure for every member of the family. The kids get to be pirates “down below,” complete with water canyons and plastic swords. It’s a fun adventure for them while the adults (who can see the kids perform from above) can take in all the sites. It was a great initiation to the area, the lake, and Grand Island, for me to start with.
The boat tour I had specifically asked for and most looked forward to did not disappoint. Pictured Rocks Cruises is not only a trip for anyone visiting Munising, but it’s an adventure you should go to Munising for. There is no other way to see so much of this spectacular National Lakeshore.
Everyone on the ship with me was as in awe as this marvel of nature as I was. The endless rock formations, filled with gems and minerals, are a sight you must see and you can easily grasp all of it from the two-hour boat ride.
The Shipwreck Tour was the most unique experience of the three. The crew is quite knowledgeable of the area and of the ship remains in the area. The captain of our ship is actually a diver who has seen a few up close.
We were able to see and hear about the wreckage as we looked through the glass bottom of the boat. You could see a lot of detail, from anchors to actual sinks and toilets from the ships. The Shipwreck Tour also took us into the caves of Grand Island. These beautiful rock formations were different in every spot and we got closer than you possibly could on land.
Between boat rides, I did some exploring, which included a stop at Horseshoe Falls. It’s a peaceful walk through the falls and brooks, complete with Native American folklore. I really enjoyed it and it was very relaxing.
Horseshoe is far from the only waterfall in this part of Michigan. In fact, there are a dozen more within a short drive. You can pick up a waterfall and lighthouse map free of charge and hotels and businesses throughout the area. It also explains in detail the difficulty of getting to each of these areas. They range from easy and wheelchair accessible, to difficult hiking.
For the active traveler, note that you can actually go diving in Lake Superior and get right next to these shipwrecks. Some are in as shallow as 10 feet of water. Kayaking tours are also available to take guide you around Grand Island and Pictured Rocks. These trips range from a few hours to a full day.
There are a number of motels in Munising and none of them are too far from the water. I stayed at the Alger Falls Motel.
On your way to or from Michigan, here’s two Chicagoland stops to make…
Ravinia, the Summer Long Music Festival
Ravinia is a rarity in the world of music festivals. It’s a non-profit, summer long festival that’s also the longest running of its kind in North America. It goes all summer long and has the unique attribute of allowing you to bring in your own food and drinks (even alcoholic beverages).
It’s very easy to get to Ravinia in Highland Park by train. I saw a great ZZ Top and John Fogerty concert. There’s still more to come in August and September so check out the lineup.
A lot More than Tacos at Taco Joint
While I was up north, Brittany checked out some of the great summer specials at Taco Joint for me. This Mexican restaurant has three locations in Chicago. Try their Street Corn Queso and step out of the box for Cochinita (Yucatan pulled pork) or Ceviche (citrus-cured white fish) tacos. Don’t forget the drinks, especially the Cherry Lime Mezcalita and Sangrio-Rita.