Rim Trail, Grand Island National Recreation Area, Michigan: I wake up, unzip my tent, and walk down a short trail to the edge of the world. To the north stretches the vast expanse of Lake Superior, no land in sight; From my campsite atop a wave-cut sandstone cliff I watch sunrise paint watercolors in oranges and yellows across the glassy water. I’m only halfway around the island, but if I didn’t need to be back at the ferry dock by the next morning, I would be tempted to stay in this moment of solitude forever. Instead, I linger for a few more moments before turning away to pack up camp. After all, a quiet day of trekking through the dense forests and wildflower-spotted underbrush of this island is nothing to complain about. By Amanda Hermans

Turn-by-Turn from the Ferry Dock

1. The Rim Trail begins about 100 yards past the ferry dock and welcome center, heading east. The first mile is a bit swampy (bring your bug spray), but the late summer wildflowers, including asters and goldenrods, make up for any bites.

2. At mile 3, follow signs to stay straight (north) as the Rim Trail briefly joins with a wider dirt road. Mile markers continue along the road.

3. At mile 4, take the 0.6-mile spur northeast to a lunch spot at Echo Lake. After checking out the numerous beaver dams and grabbing some lunch, head back to the main trail.