For those of us who live in the Lower Peninsula, traveling to the upper reaches of Michigan’s U.P. can feel like an impossible task. Sure, it’s easy to make an annual jaunt to Mackinac Island, but anything north of the bridge often seems out of reach. Well, we’re here to tell you that the Upper Peninsula is worth an extra few hours in the car — and these nine stunning destinations waaay up north will prove it!
1. Porcupine Mountains
Many Michiganders aren't even aware that the "Porkies" exist, and we want to change that! This gorgeous mountainous region in the Upper Peninsula is fantastically beautiful, offering ample opportunities for hiking, camping, and general sightseeing. If you’re looking for an exciting trek, we recommend embarking on the beautiful Escarpment Trail for the ultimate outdoor adventure.
2. Whitefish Point
Located near the town of Paradise, Whitefish Points sits on the shores of Whitefish Bay and offers some of the most scenic views imaginable. Stroll along the shoreline, explore the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, or marvel at the unique beauty of the Whitefish Point Lighthouse. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast or a history buff, there’s an attraction here to delight you.
3. Copper Harbor
This gem on the Keweenaw Peninsula offers an entrance point for Isle Royale National Park, but that’s not its only attraction. Take a kayak tour along the shoreline in the cool waters of Lake Superior, appreciate gorgeous views from a scenic lookout along Brockway Mountain Drive, or take time to learn about the area’s fascinating history with the copper mining industry. It might be a long drive northward, but Copper Harbor is well worth your time.
Yes, Marquette is a college town, but there’s truly something here to appeal to each and every age group. Admire the marvelous coast of Lake Superior with a visit to Black Rocks, which even offers opportunities for cliff diving if you’re feeling extra adventurous. Enjoy a craft beer or two at one of the area’s breweries, take a beautiful hike through the surrounding wilderness, or explore the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum — talk about a blast!
5. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Located along the northern coast of the U.P. is Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, which draws in thousands of curious visitors each year with its one-of-a-kind beauty and charm. Take a boat tour into Lake Superior for a close-up view of the area’s stunning rock formations and cliffs, which can also be seen via a series of hiking trails. From waterfalls to shipwrecks, there’s something here to fascinate every member of the family.
6. Baraga State Park
This forested wonderland is an absolute must-visit for Michiganders who love the great outdoors. Tucked away between the communities of Baraga and L’Anse, this park offers ample opportunities for hiking, fishing, picnicking, and general exploration. With lovely views of Keweenaw Bay and plenty of fresh air to bask in, you’re sure to love your visit to Baraga State Park.
This distinctly charming village offers the opportunity to step back in time and appreciate Michigan’s history as a leader in the copper mining industry. While you’ll find plenty of history to explore in Copper Harbor, Calumet takes this historic important to a new level with the presence of museums, landmarks, and nearby copper mines. Today, the town houses under 1,000 residents — but it’s always eager to welcome curious new visitors.
8. Bete Grise Preserve
Perhaps you've never heard of this lovely natural attraction, but it’s well worth your time! Bete Grise Preserve is a wetland area that features two miles of shoreline along Lake Superior. Explore the preserve’s unspoiled wilderness with a day of hiking, fishing, or skiing and snowshoeing during colder months. Once you visit this beautiful locale, you’ll undoubtedly want to return time and time again.
9. Sault Ste. Marie
"The Soo" is Michigan’s oldest town, and it’s not just the area’s fascinating history that makes it worth visiting. Take a stroll alongside the powerful Soo Locks, which allow freighters to pass between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. The city’s downtown area is overflowing with quaint restaurants, fudge shops, and boutiques — and it’s just a stone’s throw from the Canadian border! What’s not to love?
These are just a few of the “way up north” destinations that make Michigan’s Upper Peninsula so fascinating. Did we leave any of your favorite spots off our list? We’re always eager to hear from you, so leave your suggestions and thoughts in the comment section below!
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