We decided to head up north to Empire, Michigan for one more summer camping trip! A family friend is building a house right of M-22 in Empire and they are nice enough to let us car camp on their land.


We decided to bring our Kayaks with us for the first time on a camping trip and we met up with my friend Elijah and kayaked a 4.7 mile stretch of the Crystal River.


The water was crystal clear and we didn’t see a single person on the entire 4.7-mile stretch. The current was super calm so the river was slow-moving and very easy to paddle and you can definitely just float the entire way if you want, and I’ve hard that’s how this river usually is so it’s a great paddle for beginners or if you just want to relax and not work too hard!

Heres a map of our paddle:

We did the 4.7-mile stretch and it took us  about 3 hours - but keep in mind we stopped a lot for photos and we definitely weren’t paddling the entire time. I’m sure it could be done much quicker but it was nice to take our time and explore a new river!

Star Photography & a bonfire at Esch Beach 

We were planning to do a full moonrise paddle on the Platt river but we opted to have dinner instead and decided to do some astrophotography and have a bonfire on Lake Michigan at one of my favorite beaches - Esch Beach

We sat by the fire and just enjoyed the bluff view that we could actually see since there was a full moon and I’ve been obsessed with shooting star trails so I set my camera up for a time-lapse to capture the star trails and this was the result:


The next day we ended up going to Empire Beach for sunset and saw one of the most insane sunsets I’ve seen a long time right on Lake Michigan

I highly recommend checking out Empire beach for a sunset, it’s a little more crowded than Esch beach but the views are incredible and they have a playground, basketball court, picnic areas and tons more!


The next morning as we were getting ready to leave we decided to do the Empire Bluff trail - one of my favorite hikes in Michigan! It’s a 1.7 mile round trip hike that leaves you with incredible views of the Bluffs along Lake Michigan at the top!

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The terrain is pretty easy with not to drastic elevation changes so that really anyone can do it, it’s such a short hike for such an amazing view! If you’re in Empire, this hike is a must in my opinion!

Here are all the photos from our trip: