Ultimate Summer Bucket List | Upper Peninsula (2024)

Michigan's Upper Peninsula (U.P.) is much bigger than many first-timers imagine and it helps to know where to go and what to do. Even seasoned travelers to this treasure trove of adventures are glad to have fresh ideas of what to do on their next summer visit.

This guide is your ticket to a summer vacation filled with exploration and awe. Add these top picks to your U.P. bucket list!

  • Travel back in time to Mackinac Island. Coined Michigan’s Crown Jewel, Mackinac Island is a day trip that lets you experience the outdoors and what life was like centuries ago. This 3.8-square-mile island doesn’t allow cars. You’ll either get around by foot, bicycle or even horse.
  • Stop atFumee Falls, a majestic roadside waterfall offering a spectacular view without the hike. It is a great place to stretch your legs and watch the water tumble over three distinct drops, the highest reaching 10 feet.

  • Walk or roll toBond Falls. This waterfall is one of the most gorgeous and photographed in the U.P. The paved trail, 600-foot boardwalk and main viewing deck are wheelchair-accessible so everyone can enjoy. Listening to the roar of the falls is very therapeutic.

  • Explore Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. Known as "The Porkies," Michigan’s largest state park is a hikers’ and mountain bikers’ paradise. Its trails lead through old-growth forests and to stunning overlooks of Lake Superior. The less adventurous will find a lot to do, too.

  • Reach new heights on Mount Arvon. Michigan’s highest point, Mount Arvon, brings you 1,979 feet above sea level. What a rewarding hike! About a half-mile from the top, there is a beaver pond that moose frequent. Along the way, you will also see a couple of waterfalls. Keep your camera ready.

  • Revel at a local festival: The U.P. is home to various summer festivals celebrating everything from beer to antique wooden boats to music and the rich traditions of Native American powwows. Check for festivals before your visit.

  • Kayak the Les Cheneaux Islands. For water enthusiasts, paddling around this chain of islands reveals hidden coves and rugged shorelines. Insider Tip: Search Bay offers some of the calmest and clearest waters on the Great Lakes.

  • Adventure along Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. No U.P. summer bucket list is complete without visiting the Pictured Rocks. Whether you choose a boat tour or a hiking trail, the colorful sandstone cliffs and crystal-clear waters of Lake Superior will mesmerize you.

  • Bike the Iron Ore Heritage Trail. The entire 47-mile trail is open to hikers and mountain bikers as it crosses the Marquette Iron Range. You will experience everything from the Lake Superior shoreline to passing through three downtowns. Along the way, learn about this region’s 160+ years of mining history.

  • Discover Isle Royale National Park. Accessible only in the warmer months by ferry or plane, Isle Royale dishes up the U.P.’s most rugged wilderness adventures. From hiking and paddling to spotting moose and wolves, it’s an incredible escape into nature’s solitude.

  • Visit Eagle Harbor Light Station and Museum Complex. On the Keweenaw Peninsula’s western shore, the historic Eagle Harbor Light Station still actively aids watercraft. Explore the lighthouse, a Maritime Museum, the Keweenaw History Museum, the Commercial Fishing Museum and scenic views of Lake Superior.

  • Take a Soo Locks Boat Tour. Experience this engineering marvel firsthand by cruising through the Soo Locks. It’s a unique way to learn about the locks' history and their importance to international shipping.

  • Spend a day at Marquette’s Presque Isle Park. This park’s picturesque trails are excellent for nature hikes, birdwatching, photography and exhilarating exercise. One of the park’s top attractions is the iconic Blackrocks. Even if you aren’t into cliff jumping, it’s a fun place to watch daring locals and visitors splash into Lake Superior’s clear water.

  • Tour Quincy Mine. One of the best history lessons of copper mining is told on a two-hour tour of Quincy Mine’s underground workings and the world’s largest steam-powered hoist. The hoist serviced the No. 2 shaft to an incredible vertical depth of 6,200 feet. This tour is fully accessible.

  • Check Out the Pickle Barrel House Museum. For a quirky roadside stop, the Pickle Barrel House Museum in Grand Marais is a must-see. It was built for author/illustrator William Donahey who created the famous Teenie Weenie characters. Flower lovers will like wandering through the garden with heirloom irises. If you want to add more unique and quirky stops to your itinerary, find nine more here.


Whether you’re seeking adventure, relaxation, or a bit of both, the U.P. has something special for every summer traveler. This is our most popular season, so book your stay early. Then pack your bags, grab your bucket list and set out to discover the breathtaking beauty and adventure in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Need more ideas? Here are lots more suggestions of where to visit and things to do. We'll see you up north!

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Ultimate Summer Bucket List | Upper Peninsula (2024)


What is the prettiest town on the Upper Peninsula Michigan? ›

Ironwood, MI – Pure Michigan Beauty in a World-class Adventure Paradise. For world-class skiing, jaw-dropping scenic areas, and waterfalls that flow directly into Lake Superior, Ironwood, Michigan, is one of the best places to visit in the Upper Peninsula. It's gorgeous in the winter, fall, and summer!

What is the best month to visit the Upper Peninsula of Michigan? ›

The warmest months to visit the Upper Peninsula

If you are looking to wear a short-sleeve shirt during the day and a light jacket at night, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) data says the best time to visit the U.P. is May 28 to September 9. The hottest months are July, August and then June.

What is the prettiest place in Michigan? ›

12 Unimaginably Beautiful Places In Michigan That You Must See Before You Die
  1. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Maple City, MI 49664, USA. ...
  2. Kitch-iti-Kipi. ...
  3. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. ...
  4. Nichols Arboretum. ...
  5. Grand Haven State Park. ...
  6. Fisherman Island. ...
  7. Porcupine Mountains. ...
  8. Isle Royale.
Jul 1, 2023

Is the Upper Peninsula nice in the summer? ›

What our summer weather is like. Most daytime temperatures are warm enough to enjoy splashing in the abundant fresh water, but not so unbearably hot that you retreat to air-conditioned rooms. However, on any given day our weather varies across the Upper Peninsula.

What is the best time of year to see moose in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan? ›

In spring, moose are found in open habitats like meadows and fields where the grazing is plentiful. Spring is also the birthing season for the moose.

How often can you see the northern lights in the Upper Peninsula? ›

According to expert sources in Michigan, you are more likely to see the northern lights in the Upper Peninsula between August and April, with the peak months being April, October, and November. In Michigan, we need the Sun to be active for the aurora borealis to be visible.

Where is the best place to see the northern lights in Upper Michigan? ›

Once you're in the Upper Peninsula, anywhere along the south shore of Lake Superior is optimal: Brimley, Whitefish Point, Pictured Rocks, Autrain, Marquette, Big Bay, Skanee, Eagle River, Eagle Harbor, Copper Harbor are just a few of the places that come to mind.

Where in Michigan looks like the Caribbean? ›

Torch Lake is Michigan's own slice of the Caribbean

Sure, the water's cold, but the colors will blow your mind.

What is the number one tourist city in Michigan? ›

Detroit. With a blend of architecture, arts, culture and automotive history Detroit is always a must-see destination in Michigan. Visit the Detroit Institute of Arts (DIA) or explore the city's rich music history at the Motown Historical Museum.

Where do the rich live in Michigan? ›

While best known for its beautiful lakes, bustling cities, and rich agricultural centers, Michigan is also home to many rich neighborhoods and wealthy communities. The richest cities in Michigan are Birmingham, Grosse Pointe Farms, and Beverly Hills.

What is the coldest month in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan? ›

Quick Climate Info
Coldest MonthJanuary (15 °F avg)
Wettest MonthJune (2.90" avg)
Windiest MonthApril (12 mph avg)
Annual precip.21.91" (per year)
1 more row

What is the coldest place in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan? ›

Coldest ever: unofficial and unverified -55 degrees was reported at Fort Brady near Sault Ste. Marie, February 13 and 14, 1875. Coldest day: -21 degrees daytime maximum at Ironwood, January 17, 1982.

What is special about the Upper Peninsula of Michigan? ›

Michigan's Upper Peninsula is renowned for its abundance of its diverse and ever-changing natural surroundings, which will magnify the senses!

What Michigan town was named most beautiful? ›

Mackinac Island, a historic island between the Lower and Upper Peninsulas of Michigan, was recently named one of the 28 most beautiful towns in the nation by the lifestyle magazine Condé Nast Traveler.

What is the oldest town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan? ›

Sault Ste. Marie was settled as early as 1668, which makes it Michigan's oldest city and among the oldest cities in the United States. Located at the northeastern edge of the Upper Peninsula, it is separated by the St. Marys River from the much larger city of Sault Ste.

What is the largest town in the Upper Peninsula? ›

Marquette (/mɑːrˈkɛt/ mar-KET) is the county seat of Marquette County and the largest city in the Upper Peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan.

What is the most remote place in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan? ›

For the most remote experience, there's Isle Royale. The entire island (and the 400+ smaller islands surrounding it) is a national park and is perfect for camping, hiking, and boating.


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