The Upper Peninsula is the only land mass in the world with shores on three of the greatest freshwater lakes — Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Superior. Whether you’re a resident or an adventurous traveler, these three lakes are calling you to explore their wonders. Besides these Great Lakes, the U.P. boasts over 4,300 inland lakes. Each provides additional outdoor recreation and serenity. You can spend a lifetime exploring them all!



Lake Superior | Lake Michigan | Lake Huron | Plan Your Trip



Among these three Upper Peninsula giants, Lake Superior reigns supreme, standing as the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. This seemingly endless expanse of blue holds 10% of the world's fresh surface water - enough to submerge all of North and South America under one foot of water! 

Lake Superior, or Gichigami as it's known in Ojibwa, is more than just a body of water — it's a living entity, with raw power and untamed beauty. Few other lakes can rival Superior's pristine shorelines which stretch over 2,700 miles across Michigan's Upper Peninsula, Ontario and Minnesota.


Lake Superior shapes the northern coast of the Upper Peninsula from Hurley-Ironwood in the west and Sault Ste. Marie to the east. Along its shores, you can see a plethora of fascinating historical sites and attractions and do thrilling outdoor adventures year-round. Here are a few must-sees:

Black River National Scenic Byway: See five of over 300 waterfalls in the U.P. along this 15-mile gorgeous highway. It ends at the Black River Harbor Recreation Area on Lake Superior. In the warmer months, this is a popular place to boat, swim and picnic. A highlight is crossing its wooden suspension bridge over the river’s mouth to the day-use area.

Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park: Want a true wilderness adventure in the U.S.? One with unrivaled vistas of Lake Superior’s stunning shores, roaring waterfalls, miles of rivers and streams, 35,000 acres of untamed old-growth forests and 90 miles of hiking/backpacking trails? Explore the Midwest’s last great wilderness!

Keweenaw Peninsula: Jutting into Lake Superior, this is a land for exploring Copper Country history, enchanting forests, unparalleled beaches and trails and the darkest skies for stargazing. As you make your way to the U.P.’s northernmost point, follow the Keweenaw National Historic Park

Isle Royale National Park: This is so remote it is one of the least visited national parks in the country — but don’t skip over it. Come once, and you will understand why this park is also one of the most revisited national parks nationwide, booked for months in advance. National Geographic even added it to its list of “Best of the World” in recent years! You will agree when you go hiking, paddling, boating, fishing and wildlife viewing.

Mount Arvon: This stop isn’t on the shores of Lake Superior, but it’s worth the short drive into the backwoods from L’Anse. It is Michigan’s highest point. 

Thomas Rock Scenic Overlook: Take an easy hike on the universally accessible trail through the woods to the top for an incredible view of Lake Superior and the surrounding wilderness. Interpretive signs identify a variety of wildflowers, trees, wildlife and plants along the trail. In autumn, you will know instantly why the U.P. is considered one of the best places in the U.S. to see fall colors.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: One of the most popular destinations in the U.P., this ancient masterpiece along Lake Superior is renowned for its colorful, mineral-stained limestone cliffs. There are 42 miles of lakeshore and inland forests to swimming on pristine beaches, kayak, boat, hike, bike and in winter, snowshoe, cross-country ski, snowmobile and ice fish. For the best views of the waterfalls and cliffs, consider a guided boat or kayak tour. 

Great Lakes Ship Museum: For all its beauty, Lake Superior harbors tragic stories of its vicious, unforgiving nature. Over 350 shipwrecks, including the tragic tale of the Edmund Fitzgerald, lie beneath its depths. This museum tells the tales of mariners and their rescuers.

Sault Ste. Marie: Explore Michigan’s oldest city and all its historical and natural wonders. A highlight is watching giant international and domestic freighters ease their way through the Soo Locks, the gateway between Lake Huron and Lake Superior.


Along the southern coast of the Upper Peninsula lies Lake Michigan, known for its clear waters and sandy shores. In the summer, it is especially popular with water enthusiasts for soaking up the sun’s rays, building sandcastles, swimming, paddling, fishing, kite surfing and kayaking. All year round watch the sunrises and sunsets from its shores, — they are spectacular. 


Menominee Historic Waterfront: See the magnificent architecture of past lumber barons in this waterfront downtown.  A short walk will take you to a beautifully restored historic lighthouse. You will find some of the best fishing and boating here and beautiful parks where you can play, swim, or sit and enjoy the beautiful waters and watch sailboat races on Green Bay. 

Big and Little Bays de Noc: Together, the bays make up over 100,000 acres of fresh water and are fantastic for sport fishing and boating. Known as the Walleye Capital of the U.P., you can reel in trophy catches from May 15 to March 15. A popular spot for walking, swimming, picnicking and live music is Ludington Park in Escanaba.

Fayette Historic State Park & Townsite: In the Upper Peninsula’s history of boomtowns gone bust, Fayette’s story jumps off the page and comes to life when you visit this park. Tour the preserved town, hike trails, kayak or scuba dive in Snail Shell Harbor and swim at its Lake Michigan beach. The beautiful white limestone cliffs around the harbor are Lake Michigan’s Pictured Rocks.

Seul Choix Pointe Lighthouse and Museum: Built in 1895, this is the only working lighthouse on northern Lake Michigan. It is said to be haunted by the old lightkeeper, Joseph William Townshed. The lighthouse is open for tours from Memorial Day through mid-October. 

Beaches Along US-2:  Most Lake Michigan beaches are made of soft, golden sand. During the summer months, the water tends to be warmer for swimming and wading than the much larger Lake Superior. Picnicking, paddling, jogging, walking, sitting or sandcastle building are popular options. Offshore, you can drop your boat’s anchor, pound the waves on your personal watercraft or go tubing, parasailing, kitesurfing, windsurfing and scuba diving. There’s even a beach that is on the fall flight path of thousands of migrating monarch butterflies. 

Straits State Park: This is one of the best spots along Lake Michigan to view the engineering marvel, the magnificent Mackinac Bridge that connects Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas. One mile of the North Country Trail, which crosses through the Upper Peninsula, is within this park. 


The eastern end of the Upper Peninsula takes shape along Lake Huron. This vast expanse of water is known for its natural beauty and historical significance in the U.S. From its serene beaches to its historic and recreational paradise islands, Lake Huron awes you in the Upper Peninsula.


St. Ignace Huron Boardwalk: This self-guided, interactive walking tour takes you through Michigan’s second-oldest city and along its waterfront boardwalk. Learn about the hustle and bustle of older days and see the remains of an era gone by. At the south end of the boardwalk, you will come to St. Ignace’s newest addition to the lakefront, the Chief Wawatam Lighthouse.

Mackinac Island: This is one of the Upper Peninsula’s most iconic destinations. Renowned for its horse-drawn carriages, Victorian-era architecture and creamy fudge, this island lets you step back into life as it was centuries ago. The island’s charm is not limited to summer; visit in the colorful fall, tranquil snowy winter and vibrant, lilac-scented spring. 

Les Cheneaux Islands: Kayak through the labyrinthine channels or visit charming shops and craft and art galleries. This is home to the world’s largest antique wooden boat show in August.

Drummond Island: This is the farthest east you can go in the Upper Peninsula and what a destination it is! Drummond is an adventure-packed, recreational paradise that doubles as a relaxing year-round “Island Time” resort. Whatever your passion — time on the water, off-roading, golfing, hiking, snowmobiling, scuba-diving for shipwrecks or just kicking back  — you can fill your days doing what you love most. 


With so much to see and do along these “Best Lakes in the U.S.,” start mapping your plans with this road trip. Then fill in with other places you want to visit along Lake Superior, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, booking places to stay along the way. If you come in the summer or during peak fall color, our lodgings fill up faster, so make your reservations as early as you can to get the locations, amenities and rates you want. 

See you on the Best Lakes in the U.S.! 

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