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Old 04-01-2019, 03:06 PM   #1
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Name: Laurette
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New Hampshire
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Upper Peninsula, MI

Planning a late June trip from NH to UP. Going across the Trans Canadian Highway to Saul St. Marie and then staying on UP for about two weeks. Would love any advice for free/cheap camping across Canada and reasonable camping on UP. We were wondering if reservations are needed this time of year. We are comfortable with boon docking for some of time but would like some time to have access to water and electric hook up. We would appreciate any ideas . Thanks in advance
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:09 PM   #2
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Youper, eh?

My recent experiences in the UP are at Little Girl Point campground on the south shore of Lake Superior. A county campground, fine spot.


Also east of Grand Marais, Lake Superior state forest campground. Nearby there is a state park...Muskallonge Lake State Park. Nearby all this is Munising, MI and Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Super sweet spot....take the boat tour or a kayak trip to see those sights. Very nearby are Grand Sable sand dunes.....impressive 300 foot tall sand dunes. The Grand Marais and Munising areas are nearby each other and lots to see and do in that area.
June? Bugs could be out, or not. The stable flies, which look like a house fly....but BITE could be out, if there's a hot south wind. There's tons of interesting spots UP there in the U.P., do some Google homework and map work.

Sault Ste.Marie is worth stopping at to watch a laker lock through.

bon voyage
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Old 04-01-2019, 08:38 PM   #3
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"Sault Ste.Marie is worth stopping at to watch a laker lock through."

Particularly if its a 1000 footer...
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Old 04-01-2019, 09:14 PM   #4
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There is a municipal/county campground just north of the four corners at Bruce Crossing, in the western part of the UP. If I recall, it was $10/night with electric and water hookups. Onsite dump station was an additional $3. Hot showers and flush toilets available. Not a terribly scenic spot, but cheap overnight or two with hook-ups.
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Old 04-02-2019, 08:21 AM   #5
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As I re-read your inquiry, I figured I should suggest that when possible, do have reservations or get to your sites early in the AM. The UP can be busy with vacationers at that time of year. I usually don't have reservations, but visit in September, after the kids are back in school. It can still be busy then. The Pictured Rocks Lakeshore has several campgrounds on the water and trailer friendly. You may be able to reserve something...I don't know for certain.
I think it was late June, some years ago, and I was on a kayak trip thru the Pictured Rocks area for 3-4 days. The stable flies were absolutely unbelievable in quantity and voraciousness. A nightmare. Their presence all depends on temperature and wind direction.
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Old 04-02-2019, 09:05 AM   #6
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NW Wisconsin
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We have made multiple trips to the UP in mid and late September
( Porcupine Mountain , Boraga , Fort Wilkins, Lake Gogebic , Munising , Bessemer and Sault St Marie ) Depending on the weather the campgrounds can be full or almost empty .
We have seen warm fall weather with bright sunshine and we have seen cold ,wet , snowy ,miserable weather . You need to pack clothes for all kinds of weather .
Also don’t plan on a grocery store on every corner . The last time we went the closest grocery store was 34 miles , had short hours and had a limited supply of fresh anything .
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Old 04-02-2019, 09:31 AM   #7
Name: Van
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camping UP style.

When I went to the UP a few summers ago we had reservations at Indian lake state park. It was close to July 4. However the number of campgrounds available (albeit some are quite primitive) means that you could easily go there almost anytime and find a place to camp between the public and private campgrounds. The state park was busy but not full. But within a mile or two there were a number of primitive campgrounds that had literally 1 or 2 campers at most. They also had no showers...

Regarding bugs. My parents lived there a number of years and said that mosquitoes are only bad for a short time. Black flies can be a problem, but most of the time no. With the abundance of campgrounds one can always move on.
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Old 04-04-2019, 04:08 PM   #8
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Name: Laurette
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New Hampshire
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Thank you for all the advice. I have heard about the biting bugs and can only hope that they have already had their fill before I arrive but will still go prepared. Coming from NH and hiking in Maine we are pretty familiar with the buggers! Not sure we can do reservations as we often like to move on only when we have exhausted an area vs being tied down to a schedule. Wish us luck!!!
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Old 04-04-2019, 04:43 PM   #9
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Your best bet on dealing with the stable flies or other bugs are physical barriers.....head nets, mesh clothing and long pants and shirts. They can be truly unbelievable....like being in some cheesy horror movie. Somewhere, I have a picture of our golden retriever, gladly wearing a head net, on Grand Island, offshore of Munising.
Just sayin'.

On a sea kayak trip I was on with a buddy near Pictured Rocks, around 5-6 PM the stable flies showed up......en mass. We retreated to our tents and I spent the next hour swatting the flies that followed me in. I think dinner was an energy bar, savored inside the tent. No bathroom visits that night. When we woke up, a white cooler was black with flies. We packed and left in a hurry, got into the kayaks, and had to attach spray skirts on the kayaks, as waves, wind and Lake Superior required that. The flies were biting my appendages, inside the boat, but I could not deal with them in the sealed space as I had to paddle in difficult conditions. I think I still have a few festering welts, decades later. Misadventures are the most memorable, for sure.
Other times I have been in the same area, at the same time, and no issue what so ever of bugs.

So be prepared, is my only suggestion.
And have a swell time. It's a beautiful, interesting area to explore.

bon voyage,
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Old 04-05-2019, 10:24 PM   #10
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I have seen the flies thick in one place along Superior, and absent 15 miles farther along the shore. So if you hit upon a bad spot, do not give up, just move to someplace else.
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Old 04-10-2019, 10:14 AM   #11
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Name: Bob
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Hiawatha and Ottawa National Forests - look at their websites. Many nice and cheap campgrounds PLUS you can boondock anywhere (some caveats as explained on their websites). If you have the Interagency Senior Pass you get half off camping fees unless the campground is operated by a concessionaire.
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Old 04-10-2019, 12:17 PM   #12
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Name: DianaDC
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Camping in Da UP

Christmas Michigan Bay Furnace camp ground across street from Christmas casino no hook-ups, Big Knob rustic camp ground is my fav off hwy 2 at top of Lake michigan 7 miles back into woods.
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Old 04-11-2019, 09:29 AM   #13
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The UP is a great place. Highly recommend following the Lake Superior shore all the way West to the Porcupine Mtn State Park. If you have time head up into the Keweenaw Peninsula all the way to Copper Harbor. If you are into boon docking there are many opportunities in the Hiawatha National Park. Look up "Dispersed Camping". It's possible that you will have a lone campsite on your own small lake. You won't need your swim suit on Lake Superior, but there is good fishing on the inland lakes.

Dennis Mc.

p.s. Have a Pastie for me while you're there.
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Old 04-11-2019, 11:24 AM   #14
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Just a "for instance":Yesterday I reserved a campsite at Camp Seven Lake (nat'l forest cg) near Manistique for 2nd weekend in Aug. Had to get a non-electric site. All electric sites were reserved. It looked like that was the case for just about every weekend this summer. Very popular area for local UP families.
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Old 04-12-2019, 06:11 AM   #15
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I've made the trip a number of times. I usually cross into Ontario at Cornwall, NY and travel Ont 401 to Ont 416 to Ont 417 to route 17. Ont 401 is faster than NY 37. Look for cheap gas on the St. Regis reservation. If you need Canadian money, the bank in Kempville off 416 is convenient. It's in a mall behind the McDonalds.

Route 17 is a nice two lane road with several campgrounds along the way. I've stayed at Driftwood, Samuel de Champlain and Chutes provicial parks. All about $40 Canadian. The locals are very nice, very polite but all in a hurry. Trying to do the speed limit can be frustrating but do try. Speed traps are common.

Sault Ste. Marie is a bit of an adventure. You have to watch for signs for the "Bridge to US" while travelling through down town traffic. Once you cross the bridge, you're on Interstate 75. As I recall at the first exit there are groceries, fuel, and restaurants. I've always continued to route 2 and stayed at Lake Michigan NFS campground but there are lots of options. As someone else suggested, do try a Pastie, a Cornish meat pie with gravy. They are really good. Safe travels.
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