The Getaway
Michigan's Upper Peninsula: 15 Things To Do

Nestled in the heart of America's Midwest, Michigan's Upper Peninsula (UP) is a hidden gem that beckons with its untouched natural beauty, rich tapestry of history, and vibrant cultural fabric. This rugged landscape, bordered by three of the Great Lakes, offers a sanctuary for adventurers, historians, and nature lovers alike. From the serene shores of Copper Harbor to the majestic heights of the Porcupine Mountains, the UP is a place where the wild and the historical merge to create a tapestry of experiences that are as diverse as they are captivating. Whether you're paddling the crystal-clear waters of Pictured Rocks, exploring the depths of ancient mines, or marveling at the Northern Lights, the UP promises an array of unforgettable experiences. It's a place where every trail, every lake, and every town has a story to tell, inviting you to become part of its ongoing narrative. As you embark on this journey through the Upper Peninsula, prepare to discover the beauty, the adventure, and the mystery that make this region truly unique.

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01 The call of Copper Harbor

Early morning sunrise illuminates the rocks and front of Eagle Harbor Light on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigans Upper Peninsula. Waves from Lake Superior wash against the rocks.

Copper Harbor serves as the gateway to the Keweenaw Peninsula, a haven for those seeking to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life. Here, dense forests and tranquil lakes beckon, offering a chance to disconnect and immerse oneself in nature. The drive to Copper Harbor is nothing short of breathtaking, with winding roads leading through tunnels of trees and past scenic overlooks that offer glimpses of Lake Superior's vast expanse. It's a place where adventure awaits around every bend, inviting you to explore, relax, and reconnect with the natural world.

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02 Porcupine Mountains' majesty

Lake of the Clouds Sunrise Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park Michigan's Upper Peninsula

The Porcupine Mountains, affectionately known as the "Porkies," are a testament to nature's grandeur. Within the wilderness of the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park, the Lake of the Clouds offers heavenly views that seem to stretch into infinity. Hikers can explore miles of trails that weave through ancient forests, past cascading waterfalls, and along rugged escarpments. It's a landscape that inspires awe and offers a profound sense of peace, reminding visitors of the enduring beauty of the natural world.

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03 Pictured Rocks by kayak

Lovers Leap Graceful Sandstone Arch on the Great Lakes in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan

Kayaking along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore offers an unparalleled perspective on this natural wonder. The towering sandstone cliffs, stained with hues of ochre, sienna, and verdigris, rise majestically from the clear blue waters of Lake Superior. Paddling close to these ancient formations, one can't help but feel a deep connection to the earth and its history. It's an experience that combines adventure with tranquility, allowing you to explore the nooks and crannies of the coastline at your own pace.

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04 The history beneath the surface

Iron Mountain, Michigan, USA - July 7, 2019: Entrance to the Iron Mountain Iron Mine which now operates as a tourist attraction. and offers underground tours of the mine. ehrlif / Shutterstock.com

The UP's rich mining history is etched into the landscape, offering a glimpse into a bygone era. The Iron Mountain Iron Mine, Quincy Mine, and Delaware Copper Mine invite visitors to delve deep into the earth and explore the tunnels and shafts that once teemed with miners in search of precious metals. These tours not only illuminate the region's industrial past but also pay homage to the resilience and ingenuity of those who shaped its history.

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05 Shipwrecks and stories

Lighthouse Sunset. Beautiful sunset at the Whitefish Point Lighthouse on the coast of Lake Superior in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.

The Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, located on the shipwreck coast, tells the tales of ships that succumbed to the treacherous waters of Lake Superior. Through artifacts, photographs, and personal stories, the museum offers a poignant look at the dangers faced by those who navigated these waters. It's a reminder of the lake's power and the bravery of those who sought to conquer it.

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06 The charm of Fayette

 Taking a walk down the path from the visitors center to eh old Ghost town at Fayette State Historic Park is a walk back in to history. The history of the minning that helped the Upper Peninsula of Mi

Fayette Historic State Park transports visitors back in time to a bustling iron-smelting town of the 19th century. Today, it stands as a ghost town, its well-preserved buildings offering a silent testament to the lives and labors of its former inhabitants. Walking through the townsite, one can't help but feel a connection to the past, imagining the sounds and sights of a once-thriving community.

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07 Tahquamenon's cascading beauty

The scenic lower falls of Tahquamenon Falls state park in Michigan surrounded by autumn foliage

Tahquamenon Falls State Park is home to one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. The falls, with their thunderous roar and misty spray, are a sight to behold. Surrounded by lush forests, the park offers a sanctuary for wildlife and a playground for nature enthusiasts. Whether you're hiking the trails, picnicking by the river, or simply soaking in the view, Tahquamenon is a place of natural wonder and serenity.

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08 Wilderness of Isle Royale

Backpacker hikes across ridge on Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park is an island of solitude and wilderness in the midst of Lake Superior. Accessible only by boat or seaplane, it offers a unique opportunity to disconnect from the world and immerse oneself in nature. With its rugged terrain, pristine lakes, and diverse wildlife, including moose and wolves, Isle Royale is a hiker's paradise and a haven for those seeking peace and adventure.

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09 The allure of Kitch-iti-Kipi

Amazing Kitch-iti-kipi - Michigan Natural Spring

Kitch-iti-Kipi, Michigan's largest natural freshwater spring, is a marvel of nature. Its emerald waters, so clear that you can see to the bottom, invite visitors to ponder the mysteries that lie beneath the surface. A raft ride across the spring offers a unique vantage point to view the underwater features and fish that call it home, making it a must-visit for anyone exploring the UP.

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10 Birdwatching at Whitefish Point

Whitefish Point is a birdwatcher's paradise known for its significant gatherings of eagles, hawks, and other migratory birds. The point's unique location makes it a prime spot for observing the annual migrations, offering a chance to connect with nature in a profound way. The Whitefish Point Bird Observatory provides valuable insights into the species that pass through, making it an educational and enjoyable stop for visitors of all ages.

11 The engineering marvel of Soo Locks

Large freighter leaving the Soo Locks, in Sault Ste Marie, Michigan in the Upper Peninsula.

The Soo Locks are a testament to human ingenuity, facilitating the passage of ships between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. Watching a freighter navigate the locks is a captivating experience, offering a glimpse into the complex logistics that keep our waterways flowing. It's a place where engineering and history converge, highlighting the importance of the Great Lakes in America's maritime history.

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12 Bond Falls' scenic site

Scenic Bond falls in Michigan upper Peninsula under evening sun light

Bond Falls is one of the UP's hidden treasures, with its cascading waters set against a backdrop of dense forest. The falls are easily accessible, making them a perfect stop for families and those looking for a peaceful retreat into nature. The sound of the water, the cool mist, and the lush surroundings create a tranquil atmosphere that's hard to leave behind.

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13 The cultural taste of pasties

No visit to the UP would be complete without tasting its most famous culinary treat, the pasty. This savory pie, filled with meat, potatoes, and vegetables, has a rich history rooted in the region's mining past. Sampling a pasty from a local bakery or cafe offers a delicious way to connect with the UP's cultural heritage.

14 Stargazing and the Northern Lights

Northern Lights, Summer Nights - Upper Peninsula Of Michigan

The UP's clear skies offer some of the best stargazing opportunities in the Midwest, including the chance to witness the awe-inspiring Northern Lights. Whether you're camping in a remote location or simply stepping outside on a clear night, the UP's dark skies reveal a universe of wonders, reminding us of the vastness of our world and the beauty of the cosmos.

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15 The adventure of snowmobiling

Snowmobile on Michigan Forest trail

With its extensive network of groomed trails, the UP is a snowmobiler's paradise. The thrill of gliding through snowy landscapes, with forests, lakes, and towns passing by, is an exhilarating experience. It's a way to explore the winter wonderland that the UP becomes each year, offering fun and adventure for riders of all skill levels.

Michigan's Upper Peninsula is a land of contrasts and surprises, where natural beauty, history, and culture come together to create a destination like no other. It's a place where you can find adventure, tranquility, and a deep connection to the past and the natural world. So pack your bags, set your sights on the UP, and prepare to discover the wonders that await in this unique corner of the world.

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