The Great Northern Route

If travel time is not an issue for you, there is at least one excellent reason to bypass US-2 across the Upper Peninsula and to follow Hwy-28 instead. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, a lovely 40-mile-long stretch of undisturbed sand dunes, beaches, and colorful bluffs, lines Lake Superior in the northeastern quadrant of the Upper Peninsula. For casual visitors, the lakeshore is best visited by boat, since roads here are few, far between, mostly unpaved, and all but invisible; in summer, three-hour cruises leave about every two hours from the pier in Munising, right on Hwy-28 at the west edge of the park. Even better, if you’re feeling fit, is a self-powered kayak trip; try Northern Waters (712 W. Munising Ave., 906/387-2323), which offers daylong, half-day, and evening guided tours.

Besides being the gateway to the Pictured Rocks, Munising is also the main departure point for glass-bottomed-boat tours of the many shipwrecks that lie along this treacherous stretch of coastline. Well preserved by the cold Lake Superior waters, the wrecks are also legally protected within the 113-square-mile Alger Underwater Preserve.