While you wouldn't necessarily expect to find rock formations in Michigan some are hidden in the most beautiful of places. Turnip Rock proves that The Mitt has some of the best of nature's irregularities to offer. If you feel like you need a change of scenery, this beautiful sight is only three hours north of Detroit & will make you feel like you're on the floating mountains of Pandora from Disney's 'Avatar'.
This gravity-defying rock tower offers some of the most enchanting sights in the entirety of The Mitt. The best part? It's free to visit & is the perfect spot for a summer road trip.
Although there is no admission cost to see Turnip Rock, it is a bit out of the way. It's a seven-mile adventure on water from the city of Port Austin to the cove that the rock sits hidden in — but the views will reward your efforts to get there.
The rock appears to float in the middle of the lake, with 20 ft. tall trees perched atop reaching for the sky, just like the floating mountains of 'Pandora' from Disney's 'Avatar'.
You'll need a paddleboard, kayak or a boat to make the trek, but luckily there's a kayak rental shop right near the water that has all of the gear and information you'll need to make the two hour round trip.
Once you've rented a kayak or brought your own, you can launch your vessel from the Port Austin Kayak Shop, Bird Creek County Park, or Port Austin State Harbor, although you will need a state park pass for that last one.
You can find a trail map with photos and written directions here. This will take you to Turnip Rock and some sea caves. You'll be going around the tip of the thumb and then looping around back to where you started.
You can reserve a kayak in advance, which you might want to do if you're going in July or on a Saturday as those are their busiest times.
The shop recommends a four-hour rental if you're heading to Turnip Rock, as well as being in good physical shape for the workout it takes to get there; it's $35 for a single kayak or a paddleboard.
Lake Huron is one of the Great Lakes that surrounds this spot in Michigan and there's no end to the warm and cold weather activities available on this coast.
There's more than just Turnip Rock in this corner of Michigan too. If a two-hour-long kayak ride sounds a little intense for you, there's another path called the Broken Rocks Trail for the less experienced paddler & about thirty minutes east along the Mitt's thumb is an underwater shipwreck that has been there since 1914.
During low tides, the wreck is visible above the water, but the lake is often clear enough that someone kayaking above the ship can perfectly see the outline of the old schooner.
Port Austin, Michigan is a rural area with a good light pollution rating, meaning that you can swim and paddleboard in the sun & then see some amazing constellations after the sun goes down — and Turnip Rock at night truly has that etherial Pandoran feel that is straight magic.
We think we know where we're going this summer, on an enchanting kayak trip to this stunning little spot. An overview of Turnip Rock can be found below.
Turnip Rock at Port Austin
Price: FREE, although you will have to rent a kayak or paddleboard if you don't have your own for $35 at a nearby shop to get there.
Address: The kayak shop's address is 119 E. Spring Street, Port Austin, MI. The coordinates for Turnip Rock are 44°04’06.0″N 82°57’32.5″W; You can also find a trail map with photos & written directions here.
Why You Need To Go: It's one of Michigan's most beautiful natural wonders! Perfect for a dreamy kayaking trip this summer.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.