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Located on the remote Upper Michigan Peninsula, Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a must-visit for anyone hoping to get off the beaten track with their RV rental. Although somewhat out-of-the-way, the park shares Highway 123 with the larger town of Paradise, and is a quick drive down I-75 from Mackinaw City, on the main peninsula.
The parks unusual name originates from the Native American community that once lived in the area. According to them, the world ‘Tahquamenon’ describes the tea-colored waters that are so characteristic of the area. This natural phenomenon occurs in a select number of locations across the world and is a result of tannin leeching from the cedar trees into the river, giving the waters a much darker appearance.
The beauty of the Tahquamenon Falls State Park is in its rawness; stretching across 50,000 acres, much of this woodland has been left untouched. Search for an RV in Chippewa County today to experience the serenity of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.
As one of Michigan’s largest state parks, there is plenty to see and do in the vast Tahquamenon Falls State Park. No matter what time of year you happen to be camping with an RV here there are plenty of activities all year round. Visit during spring and summer for the best hiking and canoeing opportunities, or during winter for cross country skiing and snowmobiling.
The Tahquamenon Falls themselves are made up of two different sections, the Upper and Lower Falls, both which offer different recreational opportunities. The Upper Falls are undoubtedly the most popular spot in the park. Spanning nearly 200 feet in width and with a drop of nearly 50 feet, this magnificent waterfall churns over 50,000 gallons of water every second! It truly is a magnificent site. Due to the fierce nature of the waterfall, no swimming or boating activities are allowed in this area. Instead, consider taking one of the many hiking trails that offer views of the falls from different angles. The most direct path starts from the visitor’s center, winds through the dense forest, descends 94 steps into the valley and arrives at a stunning viewing platform.
Head around four miles downstream, and you will find Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls that cascade around an island. The falls here flow much more gently, making it a much safer location to rent a kayak or play in the shallow waters. For those who enjoy an adventure, why not spend the day kayaking the 17-miles from the Lower Falls to the beautiful Lake Superior.
If you are short for time, consider doing the North Country Trail, a four-mile long path that connects both falls. Passing through old-growth forest, huge cedar trees, and past vibrant wildflowers during spring, this is one of the most scenic trails in the park. Conveniently, there is a shuttle bus that operates during high season that picks hikers up at the end, to save the four-mile trek back. Whilst on the trail keep a look out for some of the incredible wildlife in the area. Moose and white-tailed deer are often seen wandering through the park, whilst bald eagles nest high in the trees.
Camping at Tahquamenon State Park is suitable for any type of traveler, thanks to the wide range of campgrounds available in the park. For those hoping to set up camp with their Paradise camper rental close to the lower falls, you can choose between two modern campgrounds. Both campgrounds have around 90 pitches, all equipped with electrical hook-ups, a fire ring, and a picnic table. Although there are no water hookup facilities, both campgrounds have modern washroom facilities with hot showers and flushing toilets.
Alternatively, base yourself at the Rivermouth, which offers campers a choice of modern and rustic campgrounds. All of the sites are suitable for motorhome camping. However, only the modern campground offers electrical hookups. Consider setting up camp at the Rivermouth if you prefer a slightly more secluded spot to really immerse yourself in the beautiful surroundings. This is also an ideal stopover for any keen fishers with a rental RV here. Based at the confluence of the Tahquamenon River and White Fish Bay, there is a varied and healthy population of fish here.
Although the upper Michigan peninsula is all about the great outdoors, it is worth heading to Whitefish point during your visit to check out some of the alternative attractions in the area.
Rent an RV near Tahquamenon Falls State Park from May to October to visit the Great Lakes Ship Wreck Museum. This museum is incredibly popular and brings over 75,000 people to this remote corner in Michigan every single year. Housing artifacts collected from shipwrecks that occurred on the Great Lakes, there is an incredible array of unique pieces here, including a collection from the well-known Edmund Fitzgerald. Entrance to the museum includes a tour of the surrounding historic buildings and is well worth taking advantage of.
Whilst in the area, take time to climb the 56 steps to the top of Whitefish Point Light Tower. Offering unparalleled views over Lake Superior and Michigan’s upper peninsula, this is an unmissable attraction. This historic monument was built in 1856 and has been a life-saving beacon ever since, making it the oldest operating lighthouse on Lake Superior. Sat at the end of an infamous 80-mile coastline that stretches to Munising, this lighthouse has seen many a tragic shipwreck.
Another top attraction in the vicinity is the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory, one of the best places in Michigan to witness migrating birds. Firstly, the observatory’s location is ideal. Jutting out into Lake Superior, Whitefish Point acts as a natural migration corridor for the birds. Secondly, the area’s unique ecosystem, with wooded dunes and valleys, provides the perfect environment for the birds to rest. These conditions have allowed s staggering 350 different species to be recorded in the area!