best places to visit in upper peninsula michigan - marquette lighthouse

Best Places to Visit in Upper Peninsula Michigan

Welcome to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, a hidden gem across the Mackinac Bridge from the Lower Peninsula of Michigan just waiting to be explored. This region is full of natural beauty, scenic vistas, and endless attractions, making it a unique place in the United States to visit. If you love nature, history, or seeking adventure, you’ll find something here.

best places to visit in upper peninsula michigan
Image by jjgunn from Pixabay

Discover the Best Places to Visit in Upper Peninsula Michigan for Outdoor Fun, History and Culture

Picture yourself on Lake Superior beaches, its crystal clear water sparkling before you. The cool breeze on your face adds to the scenic peace of dense old-growth forests around you. For lovers of the outdoors, this region is perfect whether you’re visiting for the first time or returning to the special places you’ve previously discovered, offering hikes, kayak rides, and chances to spot wildlife.

Table of Contents

But, it’s not just the great outdoors that makes this place special. Upper Peninsula towns are rich in history and culture too. You can visit the Victorian charm of Mackinac Island in the summer months – a short ferry ride from St Ignace – where you’ll see historic sites along Main Street. Or stroll through Sault Ste. Marie. and feel the town’s distinctive brand of grit.

Looking for adventure, peace, or a step back into history? The Upper Peninsula of Michigan has it all for your next trip. Let’s find the best spots in the entire peninsula to visit in this extraordinary region. Get ready for an unforgettable adventure and a taste of the good life, with memories that will stay with you for ages.

Key Takeaways

  • Upper Peninsula Michigan has something for everyone, with a variety of attractions and experiences.
  • Its stunning natural beauty includes beautiful coastlines with sandy or pebble-stoned beaches, thick forests, and the amazing Northern Lights.
  • Don’t miss the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Mackinac Island, and Isle Royale National Park.
  • Places like Sault Ste. Marie and Grand Marais are full of history and charm.
  • Winter in the Upper Peninsula means fun in the snow, including skiing and exploring Mackinac Island by carriage.

Discovering Michigan’s Upper Peninsula’s Natural Beauty

Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a haven for folks who love nature. Its stunning natural views give you many chances to be amazed by the outdoors.

Experiencing the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are a top sight in the Upper Peninsula. In clear skies, vibrant colors light up the night. This beautiful show will captivate anyone viewing it. For detailed info, click How to See Northern Lights in Michigan: 10 Best Tips

best places to visit in upper peninsula Michigan northern lights over mackinac bridge
Image by Jason Gillman from Pixabay

Exploring Dense Forests and Old-Growth Timber

Here, you’ll find thick forests and ancient trees over large lands. Walking through these woods makes you feel the calm of nature. The tall trees and greenery set a peaceful scene, ideal for enjoying the quiet of the wild.

Spend your vacation in the great outdoors: Best Camping Sites Upper Peninsula Michigan Offers

What Makes the Keweenaw Peninsula a Great Place

The Keweenaw Peninsula, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, stands out for its beauty and history. It boasts clear beaches, a lovely coast, and quaint towns. Visitors can see old copper mines, trek beautiful trails, or unwind by Lake Superior.

Whethe finding the Northern Lights, strolling through forests, or visiting the Keweenaw Peninsula, the Upper Peninsula is full of natural wonders. It’s a place that will surely impress those who love the great outdoors.

Adventures in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks is a top place to see in the UP. It has tall, colorful rocks and Lake Superior. This special place gives you amazing adventures.

Hiking the Scenic Trails

See Pictured Rocks on foot by hiking its paths. You’ll go through rich forests and see stunning views. You can explore at your skill level, from easy to hard trails.

Kayaking Along Colorful Rock Formations

Discover Pictured Rocks by kayaking its shores. Glide in teal waters past the cliffs and rocks. See caves, coves, and arches made by nature. It’s great for beginners or pros.

The Best Time to Capture Pictured Rocks’ True Beauty

The best times to see Pictured Rocks is morning or late afternoon. The sun makes the cliffs glow. It’s great for taking amazing photos.

See places to stay near the Pictured Rocks at Places to Stay in Munising MI: Best Hotels, Motels, Cabins

Favorite Places to Visit in Upper Peninsula Michigan

Are you heading to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula? You must check out these amazing spots. They are perfect for adventure and each has something special to offer.

Mackinac Island: A Trip Back in Time

Mackinac Island is a step back into history. Here, you won’t see cars, just horse-drawn carriages. Victorian buildings fill the streets. You can enjoy a peaceful bike ride by the coast. Visit Fort Mackinac or have some local fudge.

See Best Hotels and Places to Stay on Mackinac Island

Copper Harbor: Gateway to Isle Royale

Copper Harbor leads to Isle Royale, a wild and remote park. This town has a lovely harbor and a history of mining. Take a ferry to Isle Royale. There, you’ll find untouched forests, and maybe see moose and wolves.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park: Michigan’s Majestic Waterfalls

Tahquamenon Falls State Park boasts incredible waterfalls. See the vast Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls. Walk forest trails to marvel at these natural wonders. At the brewery, try beer made with special water from the falls.

See more at: Visit the Most Beautiful Waterfalls in Upper Michigan

Exploring Sault Ste. Marie and the Soo Locks Park

Sault Ste. Marie is in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. It’s known for its interesting history and amazing engineering. Visitors will find lots to see and do. The Soo Locks Park is a big draw, showing how locks connect the Great Lakes.

best places to visit in upper peninsula michigan sault ste marie locks
David Wilson from Oak Park, Illinois, USA, CC BY 2.0 via Wikimedia Commons

History and Engineering at the Soo Locks Visitors Center

The Soo Locks Visitors Center uncovers the Soo Locks’ past and engineering. These locks help ships move between Lake Superior and Lake Huron. You can see exhibits, play with interactive displays, and even check out the locks from above.

The Charming Downtown Attractions

After the Soo Locks, wander through Sault Ste. Marie’s downtown. It’s filled with interesting shops, art, and places to eat. You can shop for unique items, see local art, and enjoy great food. The downtown area is perfect for finding a memento or just relaxing.

Visiting Canadian Neighbors Across the St. Marys River

Across the river is Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, a chance to visit Canada. Cross the bridge and enjoy the city’s culture and sights. It’s a great way to learn about Ontario’s history and culture while enjoying the scenic river views.

Isle Royale National Park: An Unspoiled Wilderness

Isle Royale National Park is a hidden jewel in the Upper Peninsula. It’s an untouched wilderness just waiting to be explored.

Walk through stunning areas with wild scenery all around you. The place is a dream for those who love the outdoors.

rock harbor lighthouse at isle royale
Ray Dumas, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

One of its best parts is seeing moose and wolves living freely. You might spot them while walking the park’s many paths.

Here, you can leave the busy world behind. Walk peaceful trails, watch the incredible Lake Superior, or just enjoy quiet nature.

This park is perfect for anyone who loves hiking or wildlife. It’s also great for those who want to find peace in nature.

“Isle Royale National Park offers a rare opportunity to immerse yourself in untouched nature. From its rugged shores to the diverse wildlife, this remote island is a true haven for outdoor enthusiasts.” – Traveler’s Journal

Outdoor ActivitiesWildlife SpottingScenic Beauty
Rugged shores
Panoramic views of Lake Superior
Untouched forests

Set off on an unforgettable trip to Isle Royale National Park. Discover the wild beauty of this untouched gem.

Escaping to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park is a must-visit place for those who love the outdoors. It’s in the far western Upper Peninsula and is Michigan’s largest state park, a huge area full of wild beauty. There are many things to do here, and the scenery is stunning.

Unveiling the Lake of the Clouds

The Lake of the Clouds is a special part of the park. It sits in a valley with hills and forests all around. The views are amazing and perfect for photos.

It’s beautiful here all year round. In the fall, the trees turn bright colors. In winter, everything is still and peaceful. The lake reflects the colors of the sky, making it a magical place.

Embarking on the Big Carp River Trail

The Big Carp River Trail is perfect for those who like to hike. It’s a bit tough but worth the effort. You get to see a lot of the park’s wilderness.

Walking here means being surrounded by big trees and hearing the river. You might see animals like bears, moose, and deer. Make sure you’re ready for the hike with water and snacks.

This trail leads you to waterfalls and quiet spots. It’s a great adventure in the park. Just make sure you’re prepared for the hike.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Highlights
Stunning Lake of the Clouds
Challenging yet rewarding Big Carp River Trail
Panoramic views and picturesque surroundings
Opportunities for wildlife sightings
Tranquil and unspoiled natural beauty

A Journey Through Marquette County’s History

Marquette County, located in the Upper Peninsula, is full of stories from the past. Here, you’ll find many historic sites that show the area’s cultural and historic growth. The Marquette Harbor Lighthouse and the Old Powder House are just a few places where history comes alive.

best places to visit in upper peninsula michigan - marquette lighthouse
Photo by Taylor Hunt

The Marquette Harbor Lighthouse is a key symbol of the area’s past connected to the sea. Since the 1800s, it stood strong by Lake Superior, guiding ships safely. Visitors can take tours to see its historic value and stunning design.

The Old Powder House dates back to 1857 and was once used to store explosives. It’s now a museum celebrating the county’s mining past. This striking building reminds us of Marquette County’s fascinating history.

Marquette County isn’t just about its history, it’s also known for its natural beauty. Lower Harbor Parkis a peaceful area by Lake Superior. People come to enjoy the view, have a picnic, or go for a walk. The beautiful scene is perfect for relaxing and connecting with nature.

Then there’s Presque Isle Park, a real hidden treasure within Marquette County. This park covers 323 acres on a narrow peninsula in Lake Superior. Visitors can hike, have a picnic, and learn about the region’s geology. It’s a great place to see the connection between nature and history.

Marquette Harbor LighthouseA symbol of the region’s maritime history, offering guided tours and breathtaking views of Lake Superior.
Old Powder HouseA historic building that served as a storage facility during the mining boom, now serving as a museum showcasing Marquette County’s past.
Lower Harbor ParkA picturesque park along the shores of Lake Superior, providing a serene environment to relax and enjoy the stunning views.
Presque Isle ParkA 323-acre park located on a narrow peninsula extending into Lake Superior, offering trails, picnic areas, and scenic viewpoints.

Marquette County’s history and beauty draw visitors in. There’s a lot to see, from the lighthouse’s stories to the mining museum. Whether you’re into the sea, the mines, or simply nature, Marquette County welcomes everyone. Come and explore this unique part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The Enchantment of Fayette Historic State Park and Grand Island

Fayette Ghost Town: A Walk Through the Past

Fayette Historic State Park takes you back in time to a busy ghost town. It sits on Lake Michigan’s Big Bay de Noc, where iron was once produced in the 19th century. You can see many old buildings like the blast furnace and townsite as you walk around.

Walking through Fayette, you can imagine its lively past. Pause at the interpretive exhibits to learn about its former inhabitants. This reminds us of the challenges and victories of those who lived in Fayette.

best places to visit in upper peninsula michigan - fayette town site
Trimalchio, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Outdoor Adventures on Grand Island

Grand Island in the Upper Peninsula is perfect for nature lovers. It’s near Munising and spans 13,500 acres full of excitement.

Hikers will love the scenery on the island’s trails. You’ll see forests, cliffs, waterfalls, and beaches. It’s a great way to explore the island’s beauty.

For those who prefer biking, the island’s trails are perfect. It’s a great chance to enjoy nature and stunning views on two wheels.

Don’t forget about camping. Spending the night under the stars and the sounds of nature will be memorable.

Understanding Michigan’s Mining Heritage

These places offer a special chance to learn about Michigan’s mining history.

Fayette tells the story of iron production in the past. You can visit important buildings and feel a connection to the workers’ lives.

Grand Island keeps the memory of copper mining alive. See the old mining pits and appreciate the miners’ hard work. Learn how mining shaped the area’s history.

Explore Fayette Historic State Park and Grand Island to learn, enjoy nature, and discover. They blend history with beauty, inviting us to step into Michigan’s past.

Relaxation and Charm in Upper Peninsula’s Quaint Towns

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is famous for its beautiful nature. It’s also known for its charming small towns. These towns offer a special, peaceful experience where visitors can relax and enjoy the calm.

Grand Marais: The Artistic Retreat by Lake Superior

Grand Marais is a hidden gem by Lake Superior. It’s perfect for creative people and those who love nature. You can walk on the beach, see the lake’s beautiful views, and check out the local art galleries.

Grand Marais is alive with creative energy in a peaceful setting.

Eagle Harbor Lighthouse and the Eagle River’s Serenity

Eagle Harbor is ideal for peace and history lovers. Its lighthouse has been guiding ships for over a century. You can tour the lighthouse and see its rich history.

Then, you can relax by the Eagle River’s calm waters. Enjoy the beautiful nature all around you.

St. Ignace: A Perfect Place for Family Fun

St. Ignace is a great place for families. It has fun attractions for everyone. You can visit the Mystery Spot or the Museum of Ojibwa Culture. They show the area’s Native American history.

Don’t miss a ferry trip to Mackinac Island. There, you can have a day filled with adventures.

TownMain Attractions
Grand MaraisArt galleries, Lake Superior views
Eagle HarborEagle Harbor Lighthouse, Eagle River
St. IgnaceMystery Spot, Museum of Ojibwa Culture, Mackinac Island

These towns in the Upper Peninsula are perfect for relaxing and having fun. You’ll find peace at Lake Superior, discover unique places, and always remember your time there.

Winter Wonderland: The Best of Upper Peninsula’s Snowy Season

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan shines in winter. Its snowy scenes and winter fun make it a must-visit place. For fans of skiing, ice climbing, or just enjoying nature, there’s something for everyone. It’s a perfect spot for a memorable winter break.

Cross-Country Skiing Through Hiawatha National Forest

Hiawatha National Forest is a dream for skiers. Its many trails offer beautiful views and fun for all levels. You can admire the snow-covered trees as you ski. It’s peaceful and perfect for a winter adventure.

Ice Climbing the Frozen Waterfalls

Ice climbing in the Upper Peninsula is thrilling. Frozen waterfalls make a stunning backdrop for this exciting sport. It’s a chance to test your skills and enjoy amazing views. This sport is sure to get your heart pumping.

Something for Everyone in the U.P.

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan has something for everyone. Whether you love nature, history, or adventure, there’s plenty to see. Its beautiful scenery and top sites make Michigan’s Upper Peninsula a top spot.

If you enjoy nature, there’s the Pictured Rocks with its colorful formations and clear lakes. Isle Royale National Park offers untouched wilderness. You can explore dense forests, see the Northern Lights, or have fun kayaking.

For those into history, you’ll find lots to love here. Visit Fayette Historic State Park or explore the area’s mining past. Small towns like Grand Marais and St. Ignace offer a chance to unwind and enjoy the area’s unique appeal.

Upper Peninsula travel will give you memories to last a lifetime. So, get your things together, start your journey, and explore the best of Upper Peninsula Michigan!


What are the best places to visit in Upper Peninsula Michigan?

The top spots in Upper Peninsula Michigan are Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Mackinac Island, and Isle Royale National Park.

What can I experience in the natural beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula?

Here, you’ll see the amazing Northern Lights and vast, dense forests. You can experience the natural heritage of the Keweenaw Peninsula too. Try Brockway Mountain Drive outside of Copper Harbor for unparalleled views.

What adventures can I have in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore?

Pictured Rocks offers beautiful hiking trails and colorful kayak trips. Don’t miss the chance to see the morning or evening beauty as the sunlight bathes the high cliffs with rich color.

Which other places should I visit in Upper Peninsula Michigan?

Be sure to check out Mackinac Island, Copper Harbor, and Tahquamenon Falls State Park when in the area. The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum in Paradise has the oldest operating lighthouse, the Whitefish Point light station, on Lake Superior. 

What can I explore in Sault Ste. Marie and the Soo Locks Park?

Learn about Soo Locks at the Visitors Center. Explore historic downtown and visit our Canadian friends across the St. Marys River. Travel west along the St. Mary’s River past Brimley and Bay Mills to reach the Point Iroquois Lighthouse which marks the divide between the River and Whitefish Bay.

What can I discover in Isle Royale National Park?

There, explore pure wilderness, hike beautiful lands, and maybe see moose and wolves.

What can I experience in Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park?

This park in the Western U.P. is full of natural beauty waiting to be explored. Discover the stunning crystal-clear inland waters of Lake of the Clouds and enjoy the Big Carp River Trail. 

What can I expect on a journey through Marquette County’s history?

Visit landmarks like the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse. Enjoy the views at parks like Lower Harbor and Presque Isle.

What can I discover in Fayette Historic State Park and Grand Island?

Walk through Fayette’s ghost town and learn about mining history by taking a walking tour of 20 historic buildings, including the company general store. Grand Island offers outdoor fun like hiking, biking, and camping. The eastern side of the island has hiking and biking trails along cliffs that offer views of the Pictured Rocks.

Which quaint towns should I visit in Upper Peninsula Michigan?

Head to Grand Marais, known for its artistry by Lake Superior. See the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse and enjoy Eagle River’s peace. Also, check out Saint Ignace for family fun. Try Houghton, home of Michigan Technological University and the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum.

What can I do during the winter season in the Upper Peninsula?

Winter offers skiing in Hiawatha Forest, snowshoeing on scenic trails and ice climbing. 

What are the best places to visit in Upper Peninsula Michigan?

The must-see spots are Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Mackinac Island, the Upper Falls of Tahquamenon Falls, and Isle Royale National Park.

What can I expect when traveling to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan?

You’ll find a mix of natural beauty, small towns, and history when traveling there. It’s ideal for a road trip or outdoor adventure.

Similar Posts


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *