Travel by Any Means Necessary

Tag: accessible

Revisiting Tahquamenon Falls

Tahquamenon Upper Falls

Tahquamenon Falls, located near Paradise, Michigan is a common stop for travelers of the Upper Peninsula. Since my first visit to the park in 2010, not much has changed in the park. But recently, the Lower Falls area of the park got a big upgrade. During our time in St. Ignace for Labor Day, we made the drive to Tahquameon Falls State Park to check it out.

When you picture Tahquamenon Falls, I’m sure you picture the iconic upper falls (above). The lower falls area, while just as picturesque, was always less crowded. There were a few trails there and you could rent boats to paddle the river to explore an island between the falls. On our trip in 2021, we took our kayak and paddled out to explore the island where there were a handful of other people exploring.

Tahquamenon Falls Bridge

In 2022, a bridge opened that connected the island to the main viewing area at the Lower Falls. This accessible bridge connected the 4-acre island for people of all abilities to explore. There are now places on the island for people to swim in the falls, making this one of the few waterfalls in Michigan that you can swim in. It was great seeing people of all ages exploring the island in a way that was not possible when it was only accessible by boat.

When we first heard about this project, we were worried they were going to ruin the beautiful landscape of the Lower Falls, but they were able to tuck the bridge out of the way so it didn’t block the beautiful view (below).

Tahquamenon Lower Falls View Point

If you are planning a visit to Tahquamenon Falls, don’t skip the Lower Falls. With the addition of the bridge, there is so much to see and explore there. If you are there on a warm day, bring your swimsuit and plan to dip your toe into the Tahquamenon River!

Thanks for stopping by! To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. To read campground reviews check out my Michigan Campground Reviews page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! For my list of gadgets to make your travels easier, click here. To see inside my camera bag, check out my Gear Page.

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Ocqueoc Falls

Ocqueoc Falls

Ocqueoc Falls is the largest and only named waterfall in Michigan’s lower peninsula. When you compare it to some of the grander falls (Tahquamenon, Bond, Munising Falls), Ocqueoc doesn’t really stand out, but at less than an hour’s drive from Mackinaw City or Alpena, it is a fun excursion in the lower peninsula.

One way that Ocqueoc Falls stands out from many other Michigan waterfalls is that you can swim in it. This is a popular northern Michigan swimming hole. Even though it was only 50 degrees out when we visited, a teenager was swimming under the falls. I was glad the long exposure blurred her out or my photos may not have been usable.

With the completion of the bicentennial pathway in 2012, Ocqueoc falls is now accessible to all visitors and is the first universally accessibly waterfall in the United States with a wide path with no stairs from the parking lot to the falls. There is even a tiered transfer station, allowing a person who uses a wheelchair to get in the water. Near the falls is a picnic area with ADA-compliant picnic tables making this one of the most accessible outdoor spaces in the state and possibly the whole country.

Across the street from the falls, there is a rustic state forest service campground with 13 small campsites, an outhouse, and a hand pump for water. Reservations are not accepted, the sites are available on a first-come, first-serve basis. There may not be a lot of amenities, but I’ve heard there is good fishing in the Ocqueoc River which runs through the campground.

Overall, we didn’t spend a lot of time here, but it was a fun stop and would be a great place to explore if someone in your family uses a wheelchair. The campground looks like a nice, quiet place to spend a weekend.

Thanks for stopping by! Be sure to come back next week when I begin the recap of my western National Park adventure! To read about some of our previous trips, visit my Trips Page. If you like my photos be sure to “like” my Facebook Page and follow me on Instagram! You can purchase prints on Etsy and Fine Art America. To see inside my camera bag, check out my updated Gear Page.

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