Visiting Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Bob and I have visited Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore a handful of times in a few different seasons–it’s so beautiful! It’s less than a 5 hour drive from our house, and the scenery is incredible. It’s far enough away to feel like a trip, but not so far that it requires tons of planning or a really long stay to make it worth it.

A couple of summers ago, we went backpacking (sans baby, as she didn’t exist yet), and hiked on the North Country Trail for half of the park–from the middle to the Munising trail head. If you are new to backpacking, this is a great place to start! The views are phenomenal, the trail is well marked, the campgrounds are great, and it’s relatively flat hiking. And those lakeshore views, man. To die for!

Since Julia joined us last May, traveling by backpack isn’t quite as appealing. I know there are crazy people out there who do it, but I am not one of those crazy people. Kudos if you are! We’ve switched our outdoor adventures to car camping, and no regrets. A cooler full of food, a real (air) bed, and pillows? Twist my arm.

Pictured Rocks

I love adventuring with my people. Whether it’s just the 3 of us or we go with friends, it’s always worth it. Despite all the work of packing and setting up and figuring out food and managing baby schedules…adventures with people you love is always, no matter what, worth the effort. Seeing new places, experiencing new things, and allowing ourselves to unplug for a few days does wonders for our sanity and our happiness levels.

If you live in Michigan, and are looking for an amazing weekend getaway, I can’t recommend Pictured Rocks enough! Here are some tips if you’re planning on car camping in the park.

  1. Get to the campground early–as in 10 am or before. All campsites (there are only 60 or so that you can drive to) don’t have a reservation system and are first come, first served. If you’re there and there’s a site available, it’s yours. If not, you’re up a creek. All campers need to vacate their sites by noon if they aren’t staying, so if everything is full at noon or after, you’re out of luck.
  2. We’ve stayed at 12 Mile Beach twice, and would happily go back again.
  3. Check out Grand Marais! It’s an adorable, little coastal town on the East end of the park. We ate lunch at Lake Superior Brewing Company, and grabbed an ice cream cone at West Bay Diner. Both are worth visiting!
  4. Hit up a National Park Visitor’s Center in either Munising or Grand Marias for a trail map. The park is full of trails–many of them short day hike distances–that will deliver gorgeous views of the cliffs and Lake Superior.

I want to know: What kinds of summer adventures are you looking forward to? Comment below!

In case you’re interested….In defense of the weekend getaway and our week on Isle Royale.

P.S. If you’re not into camping, but still want to check out Pictured Rocks, airbnb.com is absolutely worth looking into Click the link for $40 off your first booking! You can find really fun vacation rentals–rooms, whole houses, cabins, and quaint little bed and breakfasts. This historic home in Grand Marais looks so fancy, and this sweet little cottage near Munising is a bit more budget friendly, but so cozy looking.

Saturday Small Talk

It’s Fourth of July weekend! What are you up to? The 4th rates pretty high on my list of favorite holidays. Every year, we spend the weekend at a cabin with friends. We eat and drink with abandon and spend an afternoon floating down the river. It’s the ultimate in leisure time, and we all look forward to it!

This year, we’re starting a jello shot making competition. Check back next week for our attempt and the results!

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In case you missed it…changing pizza up with a yummy calzone recipe and our first I Love Where I Live–a local’s take on site seeing Washington, DC.

The best of the United States. MICHIGAN WINS!!!! Finally, an objective source recognizes my state’s awesomeness. While you’re at it, 7 Michigan day trips.

If you jump through a bunch of hoops, you could wind up with a home on the island of Sicily for FREE.

Do or don’t: keeping your maiden name.

What I learned leading tours at a southern plantation.

It’s not your job to help everyone.

“Perceptions of mate value change the more time that people spend together.” Which is to say, people can become more or less attractive based on many factors beyond a 6-pack and a symmetrical face.

Is our obsession with CrossFit and boot camp type workouts good for us?

Garrison Keillor is retiring, and a new voice will be at the helm of A Prairie Home Companion.

Tweaking your cookie recipe ever so slightly could give you the exact results you want. More crunchy, more chewy, fluffier, flatter, etc.

Enjoy your weekend!