Upper Peninsula Michigan Mackinac Bridge
No one can deny the natural beauty of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Your entry point into the Upper Peninsula, affectionately called the “U.P.” by Michiganders, is the magnificent Mackinac Bridge. This beautiful suspension bridge was opened in 1957. It has a tower height of 552 feet, a length of 26,372 feet, and a $4 toll for cars – well worth the “price of admission”! A wild, wonderful wilderness awaits on the other side! My anticipation escalated as I traversed this awe-inspiring bridge. And when I arrived on the U.P. side I was not disappointed!
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
The Upper Peninsula boasts many natural wonders! Most notably, a visit is not complete without checking out the Pictured Rocks near Munising. You choose – you can take a kayak or get tickets for a cruise tour. Either way, it’s a win! If you partake in one of the cruises, I highly recommend lining up EARLY if you want to avoid getting a seat in the middle of the boat, for the best view. At least half an hour before sailing or even more is recommended in the summer. The rocky cliffs are described as “painted” or “pictured” because of the brilliant stripes and splashes of different colors composed on them. You will also notice many waterfalls and delightfully strange rock formations, and pine trees that seem to grow out of solid rock! The Pictured Rocks are full of great photo ops… so keep your camera handy!
The Tahquamenon Falls are another must-see in the U.P. These incredible waterfalls are located in Tahquamenon Falls State Park. The color of the spectacular falls is derived from the high copper content. Copper is an abundant natural resource in the U.P. The park also features miles of great hiking trails through the woods, for the energetically inclined. And a wonderful restaurant and brewery is also available on-site, where I ordered delicious fresh whitefish ‘n chips, and a flight of craft beers brewed right on site. You can enjoy many different viewpoints of the falls by taking the provided walking paths. Almost as enthralling as the sight of the falls is the sound of the falls. The Tahquamenon falls leave an amazing impression of their power on your senses – the sight, sound, and smell.
The peak of Brockway Mountain, near Copper Harbor, is accessible to vehicles, and the views are awe-inspiring! If anyone had any doubt that the U.P. is covered in unspoiled wilderness, these views of endless gloriously green forest and brilliantly blue lakes will remove all doubt! Unfortunately, my only regret about visiting this site is that I didn’t do so during the peak of the fall leaf-turning season! Another great way to enjoy the U.P.’s beautiful forests: drive through the “Tunnel of Trees,” which hang over the road in a way that seemingly envelops you in a passage through a leafy pipeline!
The U.P. is chock full of lighthouses of all shapes, sizes, and styles! There are over 40 lighthouses in the U.P. mostly from the 1800s. The lighthouse at Point Iroquois is one of many that you can climb to the top of for nice views of the lake. You also can tour the preserved, historic living quarters of former lighthouse-keepers, and visit a small museum on-site. If you’re into lighthouses, you’ll be spoiled rotten in the U.P.! They are a major player in the area’s history and culture. You’ll have no trouble finding them either; the Michigan Tourism Bureau has done an outstanding job with attraction signage throughout the state, and the lighthouses are no exception. Or, you can pick up a lighthouse map at any Michigan tourist center and plan your adventure!
Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point
The Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point provides a fascinating look into the mysterious world of shipwrecks! As an Art History major, I have a lot of education on museums and their curation, and in my opinion the installations here are very well done. The displays are very interesting and informative, and include many fascinating historical artifacts. For example, there are underwater explorer suits, parts of shipwrecked vessels, historic articles found at shipwreck sites, and more. The Shipwreck Museum is well-worth the detour!
Off the Beaten Path
You’ll never know what you’re going to find when you wander the back streets of U.P. towns. For example, this house in the above photo! There’s something particularly rewarding about stumbling on something quirky and unusual like this taking the time to get off the beaten path – often some of the most rewarding travel experiences of all. I found this house taking the back roads in Calumet.
More Outdoor Delights in Upper Peninsula, Michigan!
The Upper Peninsula, Michigan is a wild wonderland of natural beauty. There is an abundance of things to see and do in the U.P., and I can’t wait to return!
You can view my video tour of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula here!:
Can’t get enough of Michigan’s natural beauty? I don’t blame you! Check out my post on mainland Michigan here!:
And if you want to know about the authentic log cabin I bought in northern Michigan, you can read about it here!:
Finally, for more travel videos of Michigan and all around the world, visit my YouTube channel here!: