By: Maddy Marquardt | Overboard Pro
Family trips are fun—long days at the lake, funky tan lines, those Michigan sunsets, and of course, constellations of mosquito bites. Not much compares to packing up the car and taking off for some quality time with those you love most! Despite everyone’s best efforts, as all Michigan vacationers know, some things are just unavoidable on a family vacation in the Mitten State.
Here are 10 things that can and will go wrong on your Michigan family trip:
10: Weekend Traffic
The car is filled to capacity with vacation essentials and excited kiddos in the back. Someone has to pee, and you’re on I-75 at a standstill. The kids are arguing over who gets to charge their phone next, and your co-pilot is playing terrible music. The only thing left to do is to make sad and awkward, yet understanding eye contact with the person stuck next to you for the next 45 minutes.
9: The teenager flips the canoe
One would think that most teenagers are mature enough to pull off a canoe tour, but it turns out that NO, they are not. All you had to do is mention how you didn’t want to get wet, and next thing you know, you are in the water—struggling to turn the canoe back upright and wondering how long it takes for jeans to dry.
8: Attack of the Lake Superior blackflies
This one you probably should’ve seen coming—the shores of Superior are overrun with biting blackflies May to October, but with all of the excitement of the trails, sights and kayaking it’s easy to forget that these pesky little flying spawns of satan will literally eat you alive.
7: Wild wildlife
You’re cruising down a Northern Michigan backroad when out of the woods bursts a black bear. As if this itself weren’t wild enough, the bear naturally proceeds to sit in the middle of the road, delaying your trip. Later that same day, you wake up from nap on the beach to find a flock of seagulls beak-deep in your lunch! In Michigan, animals are part of our families—they even join us on vacation.
6: Ambition at Sleeping Bear Dunes
When visiting the Sleeping Bear Dunes, odds are that someone in your family will think that walking barefoot across hot sand for two miles to an ice cold lake and then walking back would be fun. Reality check: It will be gross and sweaty, and you will get sunburned. Your calves will be sore for the foreseeable future. You will be out there fighting off heat stroke for at least two hours, more likely four. Best of luck.
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5: What sunscreen...?
I’m not saying it was you, but it had to have been someone’s job to remember to pack sunscreen, right? But it’s not a big deal—it’s not like you’re skin has been deprived from the sun for the past 8 months. Oh wait…
Nothing really says Michigan like a good old-fashioned pothole! If you’re not careful, your family vacation will come to a screeching halt when your car is swallowed whole by the earth as a result of road conditions. If that’s not #PureMichigan, than I don’t know what is!
3: It rains all weekend
This is definitely not the worst thing that could go wrong on your family trip, but it could mean less lake time and more “togetherness”. Maybe this is a good thing— friendly board games and euchre. Maybe it’s a bad thing— yelling about monopoly scores and getting mad at your uncle for stealing the deal.
2: GPS and the UP are NOT friends
We’ve all been there—we thought that our favorite ‘Maps’ app probably knew what it was talking about. Until that is, you were instructed to turn on a seasonal road clearly meant only for ATVs, but you decided to go for it because hey, the GPS probably knows better than you. Alas, you are now tire-deep in something that is sort of half-swamp half-road. Better luck next time, and maybe print out a real map.
1. Dad brings the rivalry on vacation
Maybe you are neutral on the MSU/UofM feud, but your dad sure isn’t. He sniffed out the only guy in the grocery store wearing opposing colors and talking about Harbaugh, and now they are dueling with loaves of French bread in the bakery aisle. It is all you can do to either pretend you don’t know him, or pull out your camera and film.
Plenty can and will probably go wrong on your family road trip, but odds are, you will all still have a great time! Worst case scenario, you’ll all have a great story to tell, right?
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Maddy is a student at Michigan State University with a passion for writing, the outdoors and everything Michigan. Follow her adventures on Instagram, @maddymarq