Five Lakes, Four Days – Getting a Jump on Labor Day Weekend 2020!

My husband and I decided to get a jump on Labor Day weekend and essentially do our four-day weekend early – ahead of the holiday traffic madness! We got to visit lakes named Huron, Michigan, Burt, Mullett and Higgins while on our four-day trip (I don’t think that last lake is named for that British guy on “Magnum P.I.”

More about Higgins Lake in a bit…here’s Jonathan Higgins with his dogs Zeus and Apollo.

Getting to Cheboygan State Park (278 miles away from our home in Southeast MI) was essentially a breeze! This was our fourth visit to this state park – we tent camped there in 2015 and 2016 – and rented a rustic cabin there in 2018 (you can read about the cabin trip here:

If you were one of the folks heading north on U.S. 23 Friday afternoon Labor Day weekend, it wasn’t exactly smooth sailing! People in Michigan – and from outside of Michigan – love traveling to Michigan’s “Up North” for recreation opportunities – and tourism/camping has become especially popular in 2020 because of the Plague.

Somewhere in the Bay City, MI area on Friday afternoon…The lane on the left is northbound traffic.

But let’s rewind a bit, shall we? Tuesday afternoon, we headed north to Cheboygan State Park. We had a reservation to stay in one of its two rental tipis. They are equipped with two sets of bunk beds – and pretty much nothing else. Overall, the vibe at the Cheboygan State Park campground was pretty chill during our entire visit. The first night, we were serenaded by a guy camped across from us who sang a variety of classic rock/rock songs. The free concert was quite enjoyable – and we were sad that he and his wife/girlfriend left after the first night!

A friend of ours named Janet camped at a nearby site, so we had a good chance to visit with her. We met her at a music festival in the mid 1990s – and we used to rent a cabin from her and her husband at least a couple of times of year until they sold it about eight years ago. I managed to snap a candid shot of her while she was at the public beach (I’ll get to more about the beaches/lakes in a bit):

My favorite “hippie chick!”

Here are some pics of the tipi we rented for three nights:

The coat rack was quite handy! That short door? Not so much – especially for a tall person like me!
The last photo is my bunk. Like the little folding table? Very handy for placing headlamp, earplugs, phone and other small items you want close at hand.

These tipis aren’t…exactly like the ones you would see in Dances With Wolves! They have wooden floors, you can’t build fires in them, smoking peace pipes is prohibited (as well as smoking anything else, wink-wink), they have bunk beds instead of beds made of buffalo hides on the floor and the best part is you can snake an extension cord inside to power your stuff! I was initially on the fence about whether I wanted to bring my laptop on this trip or not, but it’s a good thing I did! Why? Rainy weather our first night! We were able to bring in our camp chairs, our cooler of adult beverages and watch DVDs. Let’s see if anyone can guess what we watched based on this photo:

Give up? This scene is from Idiocracy. Terry Crews playing president Hector Comancho (a former professional wrestler).

The next day, the rain cleared – and we got a chance to visit three nearby state parks – Aloha, Burt Lake and Wilderness State Parks. The lakes were churning up some madness, thanks to recent stormy weather and some heavy winds. While you might not want to visit your friends or be around your significant others when they’re in foul moods, there’s nothing quite like witnessing the show that a lake will put on when it’s in a foul mood of its own!

Mullett Lake in Northern MI (Aloha State Park).
Burt Lake at Burt Lake State Park.
Me relaxing in a dune at Wilderness State Park (near Mackinaw City, MI). As much as I could relax without a chair!

As it turned out, some of the most impressive lake views were just three miles from our campground. Though a yellow flag was raised at the beach warning potential swimmers of possible potential hazards, Duncan Bay’s waves were trying their very hardest to make the rangers raise a red flag instead (which indicates that nobody should get into the water – aka “Please for the love of all that’s holy do not get into that water because you WILL die”).

The day use area beach at Cheboygan State Park, which is located on Duncan Bay. On clear days, you can see the Straits of Mackinac from here..
Another view from the beach…Lake Huron in a spirited mood! I couldn’t get enough…one afternoon, I just flopped on the beach for about a half hour or so and just zoned out listening to the wind and the symphony of waves. I hadn’t been that relaxed without benefit of cold medicine or booze since…I don’t know when!
Nothing like gale force winds to hide the sins of a DIY haircut! God, I need to touch it up, but I’m afraid I’ll make it worse (LOL)!

On our last night of the trip, we took a short drive into downtown Cheboygan to enjoy some beer at Cheboygan Brewing Company. Their operation was completely set up outside – a patio/biergarten and ordering/pickup station were all set up right outside the front door, and the second floor outdoor patio was also set up. We opted for the upstairs seating and had some very delicious beer! The blueberry cream ale was threatening to turn me into Violet Beauregard (it was SO good…tasted exactly like a delicious piece of blueberry buckle)!

We started with the Mexican style Cerveza beer (their take on beers like Corona).

To round out our trip, we managed to squeeze in a short visit to North Higgins Lake State Park on our way home. I camped there a few times when I was a “tween” in the 1980s. This was a time in my life when I pretended I was adept at taping songs from the radio (gah those pesky commercials and station IDs), though I certainly was NOT adept at attracting the opposite sex #dork! I did have a blast riding on the back of my dad’s motorcycle while we were camping up there! He was quite the…speed demon. Riding with my dad on a freeway while he was piloting his cycle was very much like riding on the back of my mom’s ten-speed bike in a baby seat when I was 3! Remember that scene in Jurassic Park where Samuel L. Jackson said “Hold onto your butts?”

Doesn’t everything sound better coming out of Samuel L. Jackson?

Yes, that was pretty much what I had to do when my parents took me for rides on their respective bikes! Us Gen X kids were NOT coddled by our parents #sinkorswim Sigh, but I digress…here is what North Higgins Lake looked like on our visit today:

Crowds were light at the beach on this brisk afternoon and this lake named Higgins was in a calm mood – but there was a huge pile of vehicles – including lots of trucks pulling travel trailers – waiting to check into the campground when we left. We were happy to be on our way home!

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