Here’s your chance to get in one more blast of U.P. summer fun before your life goes full bore into fall. These top picks will make it easier to plan your end-of-summer holiday. There’s no better place not to labor!
Walk across the Mackinac Bridge on Labor Day, 7 a.m. to noon
Topping the must-do Labor Day list is walking 5 miles across the Mackinac Bridge. Up to 65,000 people will join you on this annual trek over the blue and green waves of the Straits of Mackinac. Start in St. Ignace or Mackinaw City. There is no bus service this year, so you will either walk halfway and turn back, or arrange a ride with someone to return to your starting destination.
Visit one or more of these favorite attractions
We asked locals and repeat visitors to share their end-of-summer recommendations of where to go and what to see while in the U.P. In a blink of an eye, they came up with 200-plus ideas! You can’t visit more than two or three on a long weekend because of the distance between each of them. If you want help to narrow your choices to one or two, pick from:
Pay tribute to the men and women whose grit and sweat built the U.P.
Labor Day honors workers who built America, and you would be hard-pressed to find tougher, gutsier men and women than those that tamed the wilds and sailed the dangerous Great Lakes surrounding the Upper Peninsula. They built the Mackinac Bridge, still considered the eighth Wonder of the World. Mined and smelted billions of tons of iron ore. Endangered their lives pulling valuable copper and silver from the earth and felling and sawing giant trees. They fashioned knives and axes that opened new frontiers and weathered howling storms in life-saving lighthouses. Our U.P. museums and historic sites draw you into their gripping stories.
Discover how quirky the U.P. can be
Labor Day Weekend gives you time to see U.P. places you have heard exist, but never have seen. These 7 Unique Roadside Attractions are good bucket list additions, but also consider going to the Pickle Barrel House Museum, Paulding Mystery Light and Millie Mine Bat Cave.
Go outside and play
Early September weather and water are typically warm, so spend time at our gorgeous beaches and inland lakes. Hike, bike and ATV thousands of miles of nationally renowned trails. Climb mountains to see stunning vistas, and hunt for waterfalls. Play disc and traditional golf on some of Michigan’s most challenging and scenic courses. And kayak to places that will leave you in wordless awe. Whatever you do, take time each day to watch the sunrise, sunset, and then wait for the sky to fill with a sea of stars.
Join us at these Labor Day Weekend festivities
As you can see, there are lots of ways to pack your holiday with hours of activities you enjoy. But you can also build your itinerary around these local events. Mountain bikers won’t want to miss the Copper Harbor Trail Fest. Whether you are a cross-country lover, blazing-fast downhiller, enduro expert, sure-footed trail runner or aspiring young ripper — this is where your people will be!
The Marquette Area Blues Fest fills Mattson Lower Harbor Park with world-class blues musicians and offers a wide variety of food vendors, a beer and wine tent, free workshops, and assorted arts and crafts booths. Runs Sept. 1 through Sept. 3 — Friday night’s concert is free.
Another annual favorite is the U.P. Steam and Gas Engine Show at the U.P. State Fairgrounds in Escanaba — it has a big flea market, too. And one of our most beautiful, natural events in early September is when hundreds of migrating monarch butterflies stop to rest at the Peninsula Point Lighthouse and along the Bays de Noc near Escanaba.
A fun prelude to the Labor Day Walk is the Arts Dockside in St. Ignace on Sept. 2 and 3. Get your steps in finding over 100 exhibits of original and unique arts and crafts displayed along the Huron Boardwalk at the St. Ignace Public Marina.
Truly rest at these lodgings
Having fun in the U.P. is easy on Labor Day Weekend. But it’s also one of the best places to sleep soundly after a day of adventuring and relaxation — and go home rested for school and work. Find the location, amenities and rates you want at lodgings all across the U.P. It’s still our busy season, so make your reservations now. See you in September!