A Day at Tahquamenon State Park and Whitefish Point

It was our third day in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan, and we were taking a day trip.

When I decided to make the trip to Sault Ste Marie, one of the main attractions I was interested in was Tahquamenon State Park, just about an hour from there. 

The park is nearly 50,000 acres and home to wildlife and birds (including bald eagles, which we did see). It’s second to only Niagara as the biggest falls east of the Mississippi River.

Since I have physical limitations, we decided the best way to enjoy Tahquamenon State Park was to take the Toonerville Trolley RiverboatTour.

The tour is divided into two parts. The first is on land, on the ‘trolley.” It runs along a railroad track for five and a half miles.

While there is an opportunity to see many animals, we just saw a few deer and some birds.

The trolley then stops along the river, where you pick up a boat for a narrated cruise, 21 miles to the rapids of the Upper Tahquamenon Falls.

The falls themselves were not accessible enough for me to walk to. I waited on the boat for the hour it was stopped and enjoyed the tranquility of the river while Jamie and Brittany hiked up there.

Brittany took some great pictures, though they didn’t have time before the boat left to capture all of the beauty of the park.

The boat ride back to the trolley, and then our cars, was equally relaxing, but we then had to hustle to make it the half hour to Michigan's Whitefish Point with enough time to explore.

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is actually a complex dedicated to the boats passing through Lake Superior since the 19th century. It is on the National Registry of Historic Places and definitely a must-see when in Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

Among the ships who are paid homage to here are the Samuel Mather, which went down in Marquette in 1891; the S.R. Kirby, that sank near Eagle Harbor 1916; and the Edmond Fitzgerald, lost with the entire crew just 17 miles from Whitefish Point.

While Brittany and Jamie climbed the lighthouse, I went through the crews’ quarters.

Inside was set up to depict exactly how the family of a crew member housed at Whitefish Point would live.

The house has been restored by the Great Lakes Shipwreck Historical Society with support from the Michigan Department of Transportation and the Michigan Council for the Arts & Cultural Affairs. You can even stay here overnight here.

The lighthouse is the oldest on Lake Superior. We didn’t have long enough before closing time to go through the Museum Store or the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory. We did walk along the peaceful Lake Superior beach.

Before we left Paradise, Michigan, we decided to stop at a local restaurant for dinner. The Inn Gastropub & Smokehouse was a good choice for delicious barbecue.

We were back at Superior Place in Sault Ste Marie in time to crash for the night. We still had one more day to enjoy some time in the city before heading south to the lower peninsula of Michigan.


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