North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park ultimate guide. This hiking + camping guide will help you plan your weekend getaway the budget friendly way. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington

North Cascades National Park covers more than 2 million acres, of federally designated wilderness, making it one of the largest parks in the lower 48 states. I’ve put together this ultimate hiking & camping guide to help you plan your North Cascades National Park getaway and make the most of your time there.

Blue lake hike in North Cascades looks like a rainbow reflection. North Cascades National Park ultimate guide. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington
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The area is referred to as a complex, and is comprised of three National Park Service units- North Cascades National Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, + Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. In addition, other protected lands including several national forests and wilderness areas surround the park.

North Cascades Hiking and Camping ultimate guide. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington

Rugged mountain peaks of the North Cascades Range, the most expansive glacial system in the contiguous United States, and numerous waterways. Go camping in forests with the highest degree of flora biodiversity of any American national park.

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Listen to cascading waters in forested valleys. Go hiking through landscapes filled with life that have adapted to moisture in the west and recurring fire in the east. The jagged mountain peaks are crowned by over 300 glaciers. This fragile landscape is especially sensitive to our Earth’s climate change.

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Getting to North Cascades National Park

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North Cascades National Park is located about 3 hours outside of Seattle. The nearest airport to the North Cascades is Seattle Tacoma International airport (SEA). You can rent a car (Click Here to Save 10%) at the airport, and drive about 3 hours outside of Seattle to the park.

Camping + Where to Stay

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There are a number of options for accommodations while visiting the different areas within the complex. Camping is the most budget friendly, and is my preferred accommodation type when visiting national lands. Campsites at Colonial Creek, Goodell Creek, and Newhalen Creek campground are $16 per night. Gorge Lake is $10 per night. Hozomeen campground is free. Backcountry camping (boat-in and wilderness) requires a free permit. More Information on Camping

Ross Lake Resort 206-386-4437 
Rockport, WA 98283
www.rosslakeresort.com

North Cascades Lodge at Stehekin 1.855.685.4167
www.lodgeatstehekin.com

Pro Tip: Go camping at Colonial Creek campground. The campground is by the Visitor Center + the only area with cell service. However bring an extra battery charger because the sites are rustic. There are hiking trails within walking distance. Pyramid Lake trail is shorter, and the Thunder Creek trail which is longer.

Click here to search for other accommodations available in surrounding communities to the North Cascades National Park Complex.

Blue Lake Hiking Trail

Blue lake hike in North Cascades looks like a rainbow reflection. North Cascades National Park ultimate guide. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington
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Blue Lake trail is an extremely beautiful hike that takes you through alpine forests, a wild flower filled meadow, and towering mountains. You’ll end at the iridescent blue lake with crystal clear water below the glacier.

Length: Moderate, 5.3 miles (8.5 km) roundtrip, elevation gain 958 ft (292 m).

Location: North Cascades — Stehekin, Washington

Getting There: From Burlington, drive east on Hwy 20, the trailhead will be located at mileposts 161 + 162 on the south side of the road.

Blue lake hike in North Cascades looks like a rainbow reflection. North Cascades National Park ultimate guide. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington
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Rainy Lake Hiking Trail

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Length: Paved & Easy, 2.0 miles (3.2 km) roundtrip, elevation gain 124 ft (38 m).

Location: North Cascades — North Cascades Highway – Hwy 20

Getting There: To go hiking from Marblemount follow Hwy 20 east for 20 miles to Gorge Lake Bridge. Continue for another 0.75 mile to the trailhead, on your right. You will see parking across the street from the trailhead.

Rainy Lake hike waterfall outside Seattle. Rainy lake hike in North Cascades emerald colored lake. North Cascades National Park ultimate guide. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington

Thunder Knob Trail

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Look up and see the ridge of Sourdough Mountain and the snowfield of Davis Peak. A short trail leads to another viewpoint, looking across toward Jack Mountain and down toward the narrow channel of Diablo Lake.

Length: Moderately Easy, 3.6 miles (5.8 km) roundtrip, elevation gain 425 ft (130 m).

Location: North Cascades — Colonial Creek Campground

Getting There: To get there, take State Route 20 to milepost 130, Colonial Creek Campground is 24 miles (39 km) east of Marblemount. The trail head is at the entrance to the campground on the north side of the highway. **Bonus if you’re camping here!

Diablo Lake hiking trail overlook North Cascades National Park

Pyramid Lake Hiking Trail

Pyramid lake hiking trail in North Cascades emerald reflection colored lake. North Cascades National Park ultimate guide. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington

The hiking trail starts beside Pyramid Creek and a beautiful cascading waterfall. Catch some cool breezes, and then almost immediately you’ll get to work ascending. The hiking trail is difficult and slow, covered in large roots, loose rocks, some scrambling, and up hill most of the way. When under the thin canopy of lodgepole pine, you’ll hear the silence of the woods and the trees creaking as they sway in the wind.

Length: Moderate, 4.5 miles (7.2 km) roundtrip, elevation gain 1500 ft (457 m).

Location: North Cascades — North Cascades Highway – Hwy 20

Getting There: From Marblemount follow Hwy 20 east for 20 miles to Gorge Lake Bridge. Continue for another 0.75 mile to the trailhead, on your right. You will see parking across the street from the trailhead.

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Not sure what to pack? Check out my National Park packing Guide!

National Park Camping Hiking Packing Guide



Road trip from Seattle to North Cascades National Park. This guide will help you plan your weekend getaway the budget friendly way. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington
North Cascades National Park Park Complex ultimate guide. This hiking + camping guide will help you plan your weekend getaway to Washington’s hidden gem. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington
North Cascades National Park ultimate guide. This hiking + camping guide will help you plan your weekend getaway the budget friendly way. | HerLifeAventures.Blog | #traveldestinations #northcascadeshighway #northamericatravel #hiking #camping #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #northcascades #washington
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Florida Keys Weekend Getaway

The perfect weekend getaway to the Florida Keys. | HerLifeAdventures.Blog | #floridakeys #floridatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #travelpacking

The Florida Keys are gorgeous tropical islands varying in size that extend 120 miles out to the southern tip of the U.S. state of Florida. The Keys are located between the Gulf of Mexico and the Atlantic Ocean. They are known for their abundant water activities! Making these islands the perfect spot to adventure! Enjoy the Florida Keys on your next weekend getaway beach hopping, boating, snorkeling or scuba diving.

The perfect weekend getaway to the Florida Keys. | HerLifeAdventures.Blog | #floridakeys #floridatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #travelpacking
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Getting To The Florida Keys

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Boyfriend (Logan/Love/Light) and I had a weekend getaway through the Florida keys in our Camaro convertible. Starting our journey in Key Largo, we made the 2 hour drive down to the southernmost point of the continental U.S. Key West. Pro Tip: if you are driving a convertible (which I highly suggest) make sure you wear sunscreen! Save 25% on car rentals HERE!

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Each U.S. state is very different from one another. They each have their own culture, traditions, and diversity. To experience the Florida Keys as a local would, we stopped at several State Parks on our way down to Key West. Enjoying the incredible views as we drove with the top down, and the sun on our faces. Daily passes for entry into the state park’s vary depending on number of vehicle occupants; prices ranging from $4.00-$10.00 usd.

Long Key State Park

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Curry Hammock State Park

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Bahia Honda State Park

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Fort Zachary Taylor

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Key West

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We ended in Key West, where we spent two days exploring the town. Our original plans were to take a seaplane out to Dry Tortugas National Park for the day. Unfortunately our flight was cancelled the morning we were scheduled to depart. With no Ferry Boat tickets available and no way to reach the island, we were unable to visit this time. After two days in the keys we made the journey north back to the mainland. We spent our last day exploring the Everglades!

The perfect weekend getaway to the Florida Keys. | HerLifeAdventures.Blog | #floridakeys #floridatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #travelpacking
The perfect weekend getaway to the Florida Keys. | HerLifeAdventures.Blog | #floridakeys #floridatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #travelpacking

Check out my Guide to the Everglades National Park HERE!

Everglades National Park Guide | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #nationalpark #nationalparkroadtrip #travelpacking

Big Sky Montana Winter Adventure Guide

The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel

The Adventurers Guide to Big Sky Montana

Big Sky is a community within the Rocky Mountains of southern Montana. Located halfway between Yellowstone & the city of Bozeman. The area has no local government (which is why it is considered a “community” not a town- neat, right?), so the community is primarily supported by locals and tourism.

Drone Shot Big Sky Montana The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel

Big Sky is known for it’s incredible mountains and ski slopes. Hike to frozen waterfalls, snow shoe up a mountain, or take a sleigh ride. Big Sky Montana has something for everyone.

The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel
The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel

Here’s the adventurers guide to Big Sky, Montana!

Drone Shot Big Sky Montana The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel

Big Sky is home to epic ski resorts, a historic dude ranch, and incredible outdoor adventures. All bringing plenty of excitement to this friendly community year round.

Winter Snow Covered Cabin Montana The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel

This winter I set out to explore the community and its surrounding area with some girlfriends. We spent the perfect winter weekend exploring the high summits and beautiful surrounding nature. Here’s my tips and recommendations for the perfect Big Sky Montana winter adventure!

Getting to Big Sky

Plane window at sunset The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel

The nearest airport to Big Sky Montana is Bozeman Yellowstone International airport (BZN). The quaint airport is warm and welcoming with beautiful stone fireplaces and wood accents throughout the halls.

Where to Stay & Get Cozy After Adventures

AirBnb Condo Fireplace Montana The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel  #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel
The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel

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Another AirBnb for the win for Big Sky. Our condo was super cozy with a warm stone fireplace in the group gathering area. The condo was in an alpine valley surrounded by rivers and panoramic mountain views named the “Meadow” area of Big Sky.

Winter Adventures in Big Sky

The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel

Snowboard Big Sky!

The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel
The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel

Snowshoe to a Frozen Ousel Falls

The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel
Snow Shoeing Big Sky Montana The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel
Montana Snow Pile The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel
The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel

Snow Shoe Up Ski Slopes

snow shoe big sky Montana The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel
The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel

Go On A Winter Adventure to Frozen Waterfalls

The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel
Frozen Waterfall rock wall The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel

If you run out of water, just eat icicles like Lenka.

Eat icicles frozen waterfall The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel

Explore the Trails of Callatin National Forest Montana

Callatin National Forest in Winter The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel

Go For A Sleigh Ride 

The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel

The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel

Go Sledding Down a Hill

Snow Shoe Bridge Big Sky Montana Winter The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel
Snow Shoe Bridge Big Sky Montana Winter The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel
The adventure guide to Big Sky Montana in the winter. | herlifeadventures.blog | #traveldestinations #travelideas #northamericatravel #traveltips #usdestinations #travelhacks #travelguide #adventuretravel #roadtrip #bigsky #montana #adventureguide #winteractivities #wintertravel

Looking for more inspiration to plan your getaway? Check out my other adventures here!

Adventure travel blog featuring weekend getaways, adventure travel, national parks, and sustainable travel. | herlifeadventures.blog | #adventure #travel #weekendgetaway
#adventuretravel #nationalparks #sustainable

The Perfect Weekend Camping in Michigan’s UP Eastern Region

The U.S. state of Michigan is made up of two major peninsulas. The Upper Peninsula (UP), is the northern of the two. My favorite time to visit the UP is the fall season, when the trees are bursting with bright colors. A year ago, my boyfriend Logan and I went camping in the eastern region of the UP.

Lake Superior Fall Colors

It was the end of the season in late October, we had JUST made it to see the fall colors. It was the last weekend the campground was open, and we were the only ones crazy enough to be camping there.

Find out why, in this edition of THE PERFECT WEEKEND featuring Michigan’s UP Eastern Region!

Tahquamenon Falls Michigan

Where To Camp

Tahquamenon Falls State Park

We camped directly on Lake Superior at Brimley State Park, one of the oldest parks in the UP. In typical Logan/Chelsea fashion we arrived at our campsite in the dark. Setting up at night was never a concern of mine, in fact I kind of like it… waking up in a new place, really seeing it for the first time that morning. It’s like a surprise, or a present waiting to be unwrapped.

Lake Superior

Our gift the first morning was waking up to a snow-covered tent… in October. Really neither of us were surprised…welcome to The UP. 

Brimley State Park

Take a Drive

Tunnel of Trees Michigan

Freezing and in desperate need of caffeine we went in search of coffee. We fueled up and hit the road, enjoying the views as we sipped our way back to warmth.

Michigan Fall Colors

Pro Tip: Take the scenic route along W Lakeshore Dr on your way to Tahquamenon Falls. This route will take you along Whitefish Bay giving you gorgeous lake views and the opportunity to see a lighthouse! 

Point Iroquois Lighthouse

Point Iroquois Lighthouse

Just a short 15 minute drive from Brimley, this historic lighthouse is worth the stop. The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic back in 1975. Its name meaning “Place of Iroquois Bones” derived from a battle fought back in 1662 by local Native American’s of the Chippewa and Iroquois. The lighthouse was closed for the season so we couldn’t climb the tower but we were able to explore the grounds.

Logan Fall Colors

Tahquamenon Falls State Park

Tahquamenon Falls

Located in Paradise, Michigan- this state park is one you won’t want to miss. Experience one of the largest waterfalls this side of the Mississippi- Tahquamenon Falls. It’s beautiful rust colored falls are caused from leached tannins of the cedar swamps which the river drains. Explore the park, and stop into the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub for some local made beer!

Go on a Hike

Prayer of the Woods

There are hundreds of miles of hiking trails throughout the eastern region of the UP. Hiking in the fall is my ideal hiking conditions- beautiful fall colors, crisp air, lower temperatures.

Trailhead

UP NEXT: What to do in Michigan’s UP Central Region!

img_0879

Lake Michigan touches four US states- Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Around 12 million people reside on this magnificent great lake. It’s crystal clear turquoise waters are lined with 275,000 acres of sand dunes, making it the largest freshwater dune system in the world! Lake Michigan has so many beaches it’s often referred to as “The Third Coast” of the United States. In my completely unbiased opinion, it’s the best of the coasts. The fresh water lake comes shark and salt free!

Lake Michigan South Haven Beach

This past weekend Logan and I explored a new part of Michigan with his family, complete with fur babies and adorable nephews. We headed to the west coast over to Warren Dunes State Park where we camped for the weekend. The west side of the state is so beautiful, and just a short drive from Detroit or Chicago.

Where to Camp

Warren Dunes State Park Pet Friendly beach

As if setting up in the dark isn’t bad enough, it started to monsoon type rain as soon as we pulled into our campsite (and every weekend we camp, ever). Once again Logan and I questioned if tent camping was still our best option. We’ve been debating all summer if we should bite the bullet and buy a used camper to keep us dry on the rainy weekends (all in favor, say “i”). There are state campgrounds all up the coastline, here’s some of my favorites I’ve camped at along Lake Michigan.

Drone shot of Lake Michigan colors

Warren Dunes State Park: Three miles of rare PET FRIENDLY shoreline along gorgeous Lake Michigan. The park also includes around six miles of hiking trails through forest and sand dunes. Modern & rustic sites available.

Ludington State Park: My favorite Michigan state park has everything- a lighthouse, hiking trails, lakes, sand dunes, dense forest, adventure activities and so much more. This is a must visit park! Check out my post on 5 Reason’s to Love Ludington. Modern & rustic sites.

Leelanau State Park: Another park home to a magnificent lighthouse. The drive up the peninsula to Leelanau State Park takes you through Michigan’s wine country with water views on both sides. Rustic campground.

Wilderness State Park: This park is a night photographers dream spot, as it’s just a few minutes’ drive from Headlands International Dark Sky Park. Modern & rustic sites.

Lighthouse Hunting

Lighthouse hunting on Lake Michigan

Take a drive along the coast and explore the waterfront towns while looking for lighthouses. The western coast of Michigan is dotted with around 35 lighthouses. Two of those reside side by side in the town of St. Joseph. It was about a 30 minute drive from our campground, 80 f degrees and the sun was shining. Perfect lighthouse hunting weather!

South Haven Lighthouse, Michigan

Each lighthouse is unique and has its own fascinating history, road tripping around the shorelines of Michigan you’re bound to run into a lighthouse or two.

St. Joseph North Pier

Saint Joseph Lighthouses, Michigan

South Haven South Pier

South Haven Lighthouse, Michigan   

Go for a Swim

Lake Michigan Swim

Like I mentioned earlier, Lake Michigan is a freshwater lake that comes salt and shark free. Immerse yourself in the crystal clear blue waters to cool down from the summer sun and Michigan humidity.

Search for Petoskey Stones

Petoskey stone, Michigan state stone

Searching for stones as you walk along the beach shore was a tradition growing up. If you were lucky, you would find a Petoskey stone- the Michigan state stone. The stones are unique to the Great Lakes, and can only be found along the shores of Michigan’s lower peninsula.

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The lake temperatures range from 60s in early summer to high 70s in late summer. The beach entrance at Warren Dunes State park has a sign showing the water temp each day so you can plan accordingly.

Relax on the Beach

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Pack a beach bag, your furry friend or adorable nephew, and a picnic lunch- then head to the beach. If you’re feeling really adventurous you can hike to the beach on one of the many trails that runs through Warren Dunes State Park.

Hike a Sand Dune

Sand dunes at Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan

Enjoy the world’s largest dune system, and go for a hike! At 400 ft the highest dune resides in the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The dune formation pictured above was the largest at Warren Dunes State park. The dune rises 260 feet above the water with Lake Michigan views from the top.

Drink Local

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We stopped at the local Three Blonde’s Brewing for lunch and a drink to cool down. Michigan’s west coast is crawling with local watering holes. Beer, Wine, Cider. We do them all impeccably well. The craft beer craze has swept through the state like wildfire, with hundreds of local breweries statewide. Just as Michigan has its own west coast, we have our own wine country, much of which resides on the beautiful Lake Michigan. You haven’t tasted anything like the sweet nectar Michigan’s cideries create. Cider is easily my beverage of choice, and I would highly recommend any produced locally, a few of my favorites include Blakes, JK Scrumpys, and Vandermill.

Treat Yourself

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After our boozy lunch we decided dessert was a must. Good thing icecream is yet another thing Michigan is awesome at. There was a local dairy farm mere seconds away from the brewery we ate lunch at. Sherman’s Dairy Bar didn’t disappoint. I had a hard time deciding between the yellow cake batter flavor and the birthday cake. With over 70 different flavors of homemade recipes featuring all the Michigan classics, can you blame me? (I went with yellow cake batter 😊)

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Thanks for reading! If you enjoyed my post, you might also be interested in The Perfect Weekend in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula!