I really enjoyed our family’s relaxing trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, which is a 5.5 to 6 hour drive from Chicago. I was pleasantly surprised that family-friendly and dog-friendly things to do were plentiful in the area. I’m sharing some ideas to get you started on your trip planning to the UP, although I acknowledge we have a lot more to see. We mostly explored the Au Train and Munising, Michigan, areas with our 1-year-old and 5-year-old daughters along with our dog.
- Pictured Rocks Cruises. I recently shared our experience on the 2.5-hour cruise to Spray Falls. You can read more details about the experience there. The girls did great on the boat ride and we boarded our dog that night, although we could have taken advantage of the free kennel provided by Pictured Rock Cruises. If you decide to use it, bring a lock for your dog. It’s first-come, first-served.
- Hike to one of the many waterfalls in the area, including Munising Falls. There are two waterfall hikes that are less than a mile (one way). (We almost hiked to Miners Falls but it started to rain and I didn’t want to take the baby out in that. It’s a 0.6 mile trail one way.) We also visited Au Train Falls in nearby Au Train. Be sure to check whether the trails allow dogs.
- Check out the overlooks along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Use a park map to guide you to the overlooks. We went to Miners Castle overlook.
- Stay in a cabin in Au Train and explore Au Train Lake. Activities in the area include boating and visiting Au Train Falls.
- Check out Christmas, Michigan. We really only took a photo here, but still. There is a casino, though it’s not family-friendly.
- Picnic at one of many stops along Lake Superior with picnic tables, or at a beach. I am specifically thinking about the Au Train Superior Lake Scenic Overlook. Grand Island Harbor Scenic Overlook is also a nice area. You can also explore Grand Island national park, though you have to take a ferry or private boat there.
- Enjoy pasties at one of many restaurants that serve them in Munising. Pretty much everywhere you look there will be a place that sells pasties.
You can bring your pasties or picnic to Munising harbor, too.
Dog boarding: We used Ruff N Reddy dog boarding and groomers in Munising, Michigan, for one night while we did the Pictured Rocks Cruise. Pictured Rocks Cruises offers a free kennel while you cruise, but we had already made this reservation so we went ahead and kept it. Ruff N Reddy charged us $20 for one night. It seemed like a well-run and friendly place to take care of our pup.
Of course, there’s more to do, but this is what we managed to explore on our trip. Any more UP recommendations?