Discover the Charm of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

There are countless things to do and see in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Unfortunately, it would be a lie to tell you that you can fit it all into one trip. So, you should probably plan on coming back every year…

Here are some of our top recommendations of what to do and see on your next trip “U.P.”

Mackinaw City & Mackinac Island

Mackinaw City is a lovely little town to start off the first leg of your trip. Located right before the Mackinac Bridge, it’s the perfect spot to stop for a night or two, especially if you’re traveling from downstate.

The island is a unique, tiny sliver of land that’s only 8.2 miles all the way around. Motorized vehicles are banned, which creates a charming ambience of bike-riding and horse-drawn carriages that you won’t find anywhere else. You can rent a bike and ride around the island, which is a very popular way to take in the views of the crystal blue water of the great lakes. There’s also a rich history on the island, with plenty of places to stay and great dining options. 

Here are some of our favorites:

  • Chiante– This is the spot for foodies and wine lovers. This is certainly a fine-dining experience and a must-try. Their seasonal five-course menu requires reservations, so be sure to plan ahead!
  • The Carriage House– This is the most charming restaurant on the water, and right downtown. Between the lush gardens and classic cuisine options, you can’t go wrong with this selection. 
  • Fort Mackinac Tea Room– For a historical experience with a view, you’ll want to come here. Keep in mind that admission to Fort Mackinac is required to be able to eat at the Tea Room and it’s the best bundle experience. Enjoy a mid-day meal after your museum tour where soldiers enjoyed tea as early as 1780. 

Not to mention, the world famous fudge is a must-try.

An overhead view of Mackinaw City in Northern Michigan

Tahquamenon Falls State Park

For an experience like no other, travel about an hour north of the Upper Peninsula’s beginning to the Tahquamenon Falls State Park. At 200 ft wide, these are the largest falls in the eastern half of North America, and breathtaking doesn’t begin to cover it. At maximum flow, over 50,000 gallons can flow over the falls per second. There are multiple lookout points to view the large falls so it can be viewed from several different angles.

There are also the lower falls, which feature multiple hiking trails, allowing you to get up close and even step into the water. We recommend renting a row boat and rowing out to the middle of the lower falls, where there is a small piece of land you can explore. The state park itself covers nearly 50,000 acres, so there is plenty of wilderness to cover while you’re there.

tahquamenon falls in northern michigan during the fall with leaves changing colors

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Further north in Marquette, you can find the Pictured Rocks on Lake Superior. Created from sand stone, these multi-colored cliffs stand up to 200 ft above the lakeshore.

There are many ways to view these beautiful formations. From guided boat tours to kayak trips, you can get up close and even paddle into some of the caverns. If you want something a little more relaxed, pontoon rentals are available to boat around at your own pace and enjoy. Not a fan of the water? They’ve got plenty of options for hiking tours and self-guided trails.

kayakers rowing up to pictured rocks in northern michigan

Copper Peak

Out in the western U.P., you’ll find the charming town of Ironwood, home to a worldwide gem. Copper Peak is the world’s tallest artificial ski jump and was retired in 1994. Now, it’s open to visitors! The Adventure Ride brings you to the top with a ski lift, elevator, and then a final few flights of stairs if you’re not too afraid of heights.

These provide views of the land you’ve been exploring during your time in the U.P. and truly nothing can beat it. You can even see Canada on a clear day! Copper Peak has recently received state funding to update the facilities in order to become a fully functioning ski jump and hold international competitions once again. Tune in for more on this!

an overhead view of Copper Peak ski jump during the winter months with snow on the ground

Of course, while you’re in town, you absolutely have to come visit us and take a fascinating tour of the historical Stormy Kromer factory. Explore the intricate craftsmanship, witness the meticulous hand-made process, and gain a deeper appreciation for how U.S. hand-made products are designed and created with utmost precision and care. It’s an experience you won’t want to miss!

Whether or not you hit all these spots, we know that you’ll want to keep coming back to experience more of the Upper Peninsula’s beauty over the years. We promise you’ll discover something new every time you visit.

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