Road Trip to the Tip of the Mitt

This entry is part 2 of 4 in the series Pure Michigan
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Road Trip

It is summer, so it is time for travel at any available opportunity. I had an unexpected three-day weekend, so we opted for an impromptu road trip.

In the 60’s my dad was in the Coast Guard and he was stationed at a couple lighthouses in the Great Lakes. One was New Presque Isle near Rogers City. My husband hadn’t seen it yet, so it seemed like the perfect excuse for a trip.


We packed up the car and left fairly early. Traffic wasn’t bad and construction went surprisingly easily. We stopped on the way up to stretch our legs in a roadside park and grabbed a quick geocache.


We enjoy camping and wanted a cheap place to stay, so once again we used our Recreation Passport to stay at Hoeft State Park for only $23 per night.  Note: this is an affiliated but unsponsored post. All opinions are my own.

I did a little research ahead of time at the Michigan State Park site and found out the campground we wanted had plenty of empty sites, so we went without reservations. Upon arriving, we got to drive around and hand pick our site.


We set up our tent and then went to check out the park. This place is great. It is right on Lake Huron with a big, sandy beach.


The park is very kid and pet-friendly. It seemed everyone had dogs and one girl even let me pet her bunny. There is a great playground for the kids and beach volleyball for the adults.


Much of our vacationing centers around food and this was no exception. We love to cook on a campfire; there are so many choices and it always tastes better that way.

This time, we cooked our meal in pie irons. The main course was pizza pockets with all of our favorite toppings.


For dessert, there were apple pie pockets with cinnamon sugar on top. It didn’t look fancy, but we ate like kings.



This park boasts 4.5 miles of hiking trails and several geocaches. After dinner, we had an hour or two until dark and we found three easy caches in that time. We had more time Sunday evening so we found four more.



We needed fuel for the day, so breakfast consisted of hash and eggs cooked on our Coleman stove. It was easy and tasty.

40 Mile Point Lighthouse


Our first stop of the day was 40 Mile Point Lighthouse. They had an encampment weekend with period reenactors, which made it even more interesting.


We walked through the lighthouse and climbed the tower–just 53 steps. The view was good but obviously didn’t photograph well.


New Presque Isle Lighthouse

In the afternoon, we went to New Presque Isle Lighthouse. This is where my dad was stationed and my parents lived here for a year and a half.


Their apartment was in the upstairs of the lighthouse building and I had to call Mom while I was there for a real “tour” of the place.


Again we toured the lighthouse and the adjacent keeper’s quarters building. This light was a taller one at 130 steps, but we climbed them all. The views are much better here and they let you go outside the light.


Old Presque Isle Lighthouse

Just up the road is Old Presque Isle Lighthouse and they just happened to be celebrating their 175th-year this week. There were special events, but we missed them. They also offer a combo ticket to climb both lights for $5, so we could hardly pass it up.


This tower is especially interesting because it was built in 1840 and is made of cut stone.


This is, by far, the shortest of the three lights at only 30 feet tall, which is the reason it was replaced by the new light. It still has its original Fresnel Lens, which is very unusual and special. 100_5075The views are good and are much easier on those who do not like heights.


In the yard, they have the bell from the clock tower of the Old City Hall in Lansing. This is a big hit with the kids because they actually encourage you to ring the bell.



After this, we drove down to Alpena for gas and supplies. We also stopped for dinner at Gen-Ars, since we had skipped lunch and were getting hungry. This was a place I hadn’t tried, but the food was good, substantial, and fairly priced


We woke up fairly early and started the day with hard boiled eggs and ham slices (breakfast of champions!), then packed up camp.

Mackinaw City

We really wanted to stop in Mackinaw City, being so close, so we made a quick side trip. Our first stop was the Mackinaw Bakery and Tea Company. Since we were vacationing, we rationalized donuts–especially since it kept us from buying fudge. We were looking for really good donuts and we were not disappointed.


The cinnamon roll was really good and the orange glazed pineapple donut was something special. Their selection of tea, coffee, and juices was also impressive.

To walk off breakfast, we went to the city park and then shopped downtown. We bought the first Christmas present of the year, but nothing else.


Returning Home

The drive home was very nice. We stopped for a late lunch in Gaylord and stopped by Gobblers–very good. Then we went to the elk-viewing site just down the street at the Elk’s Lodge (where else would it be?).


The rest of the trip home went smoothly and the boys were glad to see us. It was a good first trip of the year to get everything ready for the big U.P. trip in August. Now all we have to do is plan the big trip. Stay tuned to hear all about it.

Series Navigation<< A Day at Newaygo State ParkThe Vacation Begins at Cheboygan State Park >>

2 thoughts on “Road Trip to the Tip of the Mitt

  1. I really enjoyed reading your details re. your trip. Now I realize there are even more places in MI to explore during my annual trip in Sept/Oct in the Bay City area.
    “granny m” from CA

    1. Life in the Between says:

      I am so glad to help. There is so much to see and do on the sunrise side; this is just the tip of the iceberg. Enjoy your trip!

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