There was a time when you took a road trip somewhere and packed your bag with backup batteries and rolls of film. Once you were home, you developed those photos and displayed them in frames. Your coffee table may have had a few scrapbooks out with hopes that your houseguests would ask about your travels. Together, you’d flip through page by page as you relived the memories. That trend is being swapped out. In its place is social media — where followers scroll through profiles and feeds of your photos to see what you are up to. With a platform like Instagram, we understand how hard it can be to select only a few photos from the many in your camera roll. You want something that encompasses your adventures. Something that looks as good as it tastes. Something that makes your followers shoot you a message to ask where they can find that old building or spectacular view. In the case of our destination, you want the most instagrammable, iconic photos and picturesque locations in the Upper Peninsula.
We’ve divided some of our most frequently traveled cities to give you picture-worthy plate locations, neat nature scenes, ghost towns galore filled with old structures and fun, quirky shots. All of our suggestions are within a day trip from the hub city you are staying in!
IronwoodBack to Top of List
Joe’s Pasty Shop
Okay, okay. We had to include one pasty stop just in case you have yet to try one of our U.P. staple foods! Joe's Pasty Shop has been family owned since 1946, so you know they must be doing something right. Choose from the traditional beef, potato and onion, chicken, cornish, Finnish, veggie and breakfast pasty. While we can all go for a pasty, we are relatively divided on what the best dipping sauce is. Ketchup or gravy? At Joe’s, it’s a ketchup only world and you gravy guys and gals are just living in it. Give it a try, and snap a photo to document the moment you ate like a true U.P. native.
Copper Peak Adventure Ride
This location doubles as a nature photo and an impressive architectural masterpiece. Take the Adventure Ride to the top of the world's largest ski flying structure. Start your visit by taking an 810-foot chair lift ride to the crest of the hill, then ride an 18-story elevator to the upper observation deck. Finally, walk the last eight flights to get to the very top of the ski flying structure. This iconic, cantilevered, engineering marvel rises 26 stories above the hilltop for a view unequaled anywhere in the Midwest. The Fall color panorama is second to none. The vista overlooks 2,500 square miles of the Lake Superior Basin including parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota and, on a clear day, 85 miles across the Lake. Points of Interest include the Apostle Islands, the Porcupine Mountains, Isle Royale and numerous historic sites. Experience the ski flyers perspective and document it with your camera. Flyers soared more than 600 feet on this hill!
Keweenaw PeninsulaBack to Top of List
Located in Eagle Harbor, The Jampot is open May through mid-October. While venturing up the Keweenaw Peninsula, you must stop at this unique bakery located right on M-26. Monks from the Society of St. John sell their locally-sourced jams, baked goods, coffee and other tasty treats. Grab a delicious muffin or two, snap a mouthwatering photo and get some jam to take home. And yes, these are real monks! That’s their monastery across the street.
Once you fill up on sweets and other goodies, walk a few paces up the road from The Jampot to access the Monastic Park trails. Here, you will be able to photograph the 20-foot-tall Jacobs Falls. But take it to the next level by capturing your Jampot treat in front of the falls!
Brockway Mountain Drive
Grab a camera, and take the easy drive up Brockway Mountain. You'll marvel at the view from 735 ft. above lake level. Look out over Lake Superior as the setting sun paints the wide expanse of Keweenaw Sky. Watch as a freighter silently cruises the waters off of the peninsula. Overlook the quaint town of Copper Harbor to the north, or scan the roads leading south, to spot the inland lakes or landmarks you passed on your trip up.
These are some of the reasons Brockway Mountain Drive has consistently been selected as one of the most scenic drives in the midwest. Just 9-1/2 miles long, it offers superb views and some of the best the Keweenaw has to offer, and in all the seasons.
For the avid hiker, this 3.1-mile hike takes preparation and caution, but few trails are more exhilarating in the Midwest. This sanctuary near the tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula contains stunning geological features — exposed cliffs, bluffs and forests. Portions of the trail are along steep cliffs and there are slippery sections where you need to watch your footing. It can take two hours to half a day to make it to the top of Bare Bluff which rises 588 feet above Lake Superior. The view is mesmerizing as you look 180-degrees out at Manitou Island to Point Isabelle to Bete Grise. This strenuous hike makes for a magnificent photo, and an even better story to tell.
Eagle Harbor Lighthouse
The original wooden structure of the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse was built in 1851, but the brick structure you see today replaced it only 20 years later. Although the light station hasn’t been staffed since 1982, visitors can still see the landmark that helped mariners navigate along Lake Superior today. Capture a photo with Lake Superior in the background, an old building still on watch over the big lake. You can also visit the four museums on the grounds today.
While you’re in the Keweenaw Peninsula, take one of the daily guided tours through the Calumet Theatre. Listed on the National Historic Landmark since 1971, this structure dates back to March 20, 1900, when it was built for the 4,000 villagers to have entertainment. There were 30,000 others within walking distance thanks to the copper mining boom. In its heyday, the Theatre hosted well-known Broadway names and shows. Renovations took place inside in 1975 for the Village of Calumet’s centennial, and the exterior was restored in 1988. The Theatre became a Heritage Site of the Keweenaw National Historical Park in 1993. Today, for $15 a person, you can take a two-hour, guided tour through the historical building once a day at 1 p.m. Doors open at 12:45 p.m. and close at 1:30 p.m. Tours are available Tuesday through Saturday. Get indoor shots or exterior photos! This is the only site in the National Historical Park that still serves its original function. We recommend analogue photography lovers bring their cameras here to capture the location on film.
Unique and quirky spots
After you check out one Heritage Site of Keweenaw National Historical Park, you should stop by this next one! America’s first mining boom began as prospectors and speculators rushed to mine deposits of native copper along the Keweenaw Peninsula. For 99 years, the Quincy Mine mined the Pewabic Lode, and its impressive string of dividends earned it the name of "Old Reliable." Today, it is a major tourist attraction in the Keweenaw, featuring tours of the underground workings, the No. 2 shaft house, the world's largest steam powered hoist which serviced the No. 2 shaft to a vertical depth of 6,200 feet and the Midwest's only cog-rail tram. Take a tour and snap unique photos you won’t find at your other vacation destinations.
Keweenaw Snow Thermometer
If you’re traveling from somewhere that doesn’t often get snow, you’re in for a surprise when you find out how much the Keweenaw Peninsula gets! The Keweenaw Snow Thermometer measures the total annual snowfall each year. Winter 1978-79 is the record to beat with a whopping 390.4 inches of snow! Even the all time low measurement of 81.3 inches is more than most major cities get. Pose next to the thermometer for comparison, and marvel at how many times you’d have to stack yourself to meet the previous year’s snowfall total. Be sure to share this one with your friends in warm places.
MarquetteBack to Top of List
This cute, hip brewery is located in a Marquette house with an expansive patio space. There is wood everywhere, so you’ll use that to frame your photos. Blackrocks Brewery is most known for their IPA 51K. Another unique option is their Honey Lavender beer. Once you grab a drink, grab a shot of the Blackrocks pint glass with the Blackrocks patio stage in the background.
A 15-20 minute hike to the top, Sugarloaf Mountain has a rocky peak with panoramic views of Lake Superior, the surrounding forest and Marquette. We recommend taking a sunrise shot overlooking the lake and Presque Isle.
These unique rock formations just off of Presque Isle make for an ideal cliff jumping experience! If you’re daring and up to the thrill, your Instagram shot should be one of you launching off the cliff. If you aren’t a jumper, that’s okay. A panoramic view of the rocks jutting out of Lake Superior is still worth sharing!
Marquette Harbor Lighthouse
The Marquette Harbor Lighthouse is near a sandy beach, but the actual structure itself sits on rocks, giving it a classic coastal vibe. We recommend getting a shot of the railing and walkway in the foreground leading up to the lighthouse. You can choose to let the lighthouse be the center of attention, or pose your group along the railing.
These are impressive industrial docks you don’t often see elsewhere. The “it” shot only happens twice a year — Orehenge. This is when the sun rises right in the middle of the docks. If you can’t make it for Orehenge, we still suggest you get a picturesque sunrise photo to post when you do see it.
Escanaba AreaBack to Top of List
Instagrammable foods in Escanaba
There are some foods that are worth going off the beaten path for — Trenary Home Bakery is one of them. Located 40 minutes from Escanaba in Trenary, this crunchy, delicious treat has been a staple Upper Peninsula tradition since 1928. The twice-baked Swedish coffee bread known as Trenary Toast comes in a variety of flavors. Choose from plain, cinnamon, cardamom, vanilla or get them all in a sampler pack! Take a photo with the sugar crystals under the right lighting. You can also prep it by slathering nut butter on top or dunking it into a hot coffee. Make sure to photograph it next to the iconic brown bag it comes in. After you purchase it, the bag keeps it good for a year!
Nature & Architecture Shots in Escanaba
Fayette Historic State Park
Once a bustling industrial community that manufactured charcoal pig iron from 1867 to 1891, Fayette Historic State Park, offers visitors the unmatched serenity of a Lake Michigan harbor, white cliffs and verdant forests. But this well-preserved museum village features 20 structures including the furnace complex, charcoal kilns, machine shop, office, hotel, town hall, company store, superintendent's house and employees' homes. Snap photos of Snail Shell Harbor and spotlight the town’s architecture on your feed.
Munising AreaBack to Top of List
If you didn’t grab a pasty at Joe’s, you still can at Muldoon’s. In addition to traditional cornish pasties, chicken and vegetable, you can also get fruit pasties and some seasonal offerings, too! Be careful walking outside though. A Sasquatch statue awaits! This fun U.P. lore of a Bigfoot-esque creature shows up across the peninsula. Take a photo next to him, and get a photo with your pasty, too.
While we recommend exploring Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in its entirety, one of the many “it” shots from the breathtaking landscape is Miners Castle. This is the only cliff area in the entire park that is accessible by vehicle. Named after the interesting rock formations due to years of erosion, you can see distinct layers of sandstone that represent very long periods of deposited sands and minerals. Pair it with the turquoise waters of Lake Superior and you’ve got quite the photo!
It’s Christmas year round in Michigan — specifically, in Christmas, Michigan. This town is a short drive from Munising and a large Santa cut-out greets you. Take a photo with him and some of the other winter characters in his vicinity. This is a great shot for the family or kids to be in. You can put it on your Christmas card and your Instagram!
ManistiqueBack to Top of List
One of the Central U.P.'s most popular natural destinations, Palms Book State Park is home to Kitch-iti-kipi, Michigan’s largest freshwater spring. A self-guided raft lets you cross the water, see and photograph the fascinating world below. Nicknamed “Mirror of Heaven'' by the Ojibwe, this must-see site reflects its surroundings year-round on crystal-clear waters, making for a unique photo.You will need a Michigan Recreation Passport or day pass to enter the park.
Unique and quirky spots
Paul Bunyan Statue
Standing at 15-feet tall, the Paul Bunyan Statue is one of many in this region. Manistique claims to be the “Home of Paul Bunyan.” You and your travel companions can park next to him, hop out and take a photo next to the roadside statue that has been around since the 1990s to rep lumberjack lore. Paul Bunyan is located at 1000 W. Lakeshore Drive, Manistique.
ParadiseBack to Top of List
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
This state park is a mouthful to say, but it’s breathtakingly beautiful to see in person! Tahquamenon Falls State Park is home to both the Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls. The Upper Tahquamenon Falls is the second-largest waterfall east of the Mississippi River. It has a drop of nearly 50 feet, is more than 200 feet across and has a maximum water flow of more than 50,000 gallons per second. Be sure to hike or drive the four miles downstream to the Lower Falls, made up of five smaller waterfalls. Play in the Lower Falls on foot or rent a rowboat and journey out to the small island in between them all. There is also a photo-op cutout at the Lower Falls where you can place your head into some wildlife characters.
Nicknamed by locals as “Root Beer Falls,” Tahquamenon Falls get their unique brown coloring from tannins that leach in the swamp at the head of the Tahquamenon River. When it comes crashing down the waterfall, the white, frothy result looks like root beer. Including something about the Root Beer Falls in your Instagram caption is a must!
St. IgnaceBack to Top of List
Clyde’s Drive In
Swing by Clyde’s Drive In to eat a ¾-pound Big C burger, grab a malt and stretch out your legs before continuing on your trip. Don’t worry, they also have several smaller sandwiches to choose from for those of you with smaller appetites! To get a headstart, call in your order when you’re about 20 minutes out. Be sure to check the Facebook page because this joint is always featuring fun fried foods, slushies and different desserts. Although there is limited seating inside, you can always drive a few minutes to the shores of Lake Huron. This business accepts cash only. The diner-days flare of this food joint makes for a fun, nostalgic photo!
Straits State Park Scenic Outlook
If you came from Michigan’s Lower Peninsula to get to St. Ignace, you can thank the mighty Mackinac Bridge. This marvel is the longest suspension bridge in the western hemisphere! At Straits State Park Scenic Outlook, you’ll find a platform with some binoculars so you can see the bridge up close and personal — as long as you have quarters! There are also stairs that lead to a beach. It’s perfect for a family photo with Lake Huron and the bridge. You can also go at night to catch a shot of the bridge lit up!
Drummond IslandBack to Top of List
Esther’s Authentic Mexican Cuisine
Esther's is committed to giving you the true taste of Authentic Mexican cooking by using only the best ingredients and preparing everything fresh in their kitchen. Mix up your meals by grabbing a colorful plate of Mexican cuisine and posting a photo. Taco Tuesday may be the trending hashtag, but you can snap photos of this delicious food any day of the week in our book!
Maxton Plains Preserve
Maxton Plains Preserve is one of the finest examples of alvar grassland in the world. Here, see plants native to the Arctic tundra, Great Plains and the Great Lakes, including the beautiful prairie smoke that blooms from mid-May to mid-June. Also, go to the island’s north shore and walk on the ledges made from the fossilized remains of a saltwater coral bed. It requires some off-roading to get there, but it’s an adventure you will be glad you made. Just be sure to snap some photos as you take in the peaceful scenery!
DeTour Passage Underwater Preserve
One of the benefits of traveling is witnessing some sites you wouldn’t see in your normal day-to-day life. One of the unique things about the Upper Peninsula is its ability to retell stories of the Great Lakes using shipwrecks. These stories aren’t limited to a screen or book either — you can actually see the sunken ships yourself. See shipwrecks in the DeTour Passage Underwater Preserve. There are 16 ships and one sunken construction crane in shallow enough water for scuba divers to explore near Drummond Island. But, you don’t need to wear diving gear to get a view of two of the shipwrecks. Launch your kayak at Big Shoal Bay Beach along Scammon Cove, then paddle over the wreck of the schooner barge TROY lying in 5-10 feet of water (some of its wooden ribs stick out of the water). Just off Meade Island, you can paddle over the tug SILVER SPRAY visible in 5-10 feet of water. These adventures make for eerie photos that share the story of these ships’ fates.
Sault Ste. MarieBack to Top of List
Have you ever gone freighter watching? It’s fun to see those big ships plying the waters of the Great Lakes. But nothing, and we mean nothing, compares to seeing those giant vessels come so close you can practically touch them as they enter the Soo Locks in Sault Ste. Marie. It is one of the ultimate Upper Peninsula experiences. Bring your camera and prepare to be wowed by this navigational wonder!
Mackinac IslandBack to Top of List
Mackinac Island Fudge
All who visit the island are affectionately referred to by locals as “Fudgies.” And with good reason! One of the first things you’ll notice when you step onto the main drag is the growing number of fudge shops down the stretch. As you pass by each one, you’ll catch the delightful, wafting scent of a variety of fresh treats being made on marble table tops. You can usually stop in to watch the process, too! What is unique about the fudge on Mackinac Island is that this tradition and the many storefronts are all intertwined while being owned by separate people. Some of the fudge makers learned from each other, then opened their own store fronts. Many recipes and shops have been passed down through several generations, too. Check out the fudge shops listed on Mackinac Island’s website to explore the variety of flavors. Some places play it safe with traditional ones like chocolate, peanut butter and vanilla, while others throw in dark chocolate and cherry chip, butterfinger, lilac and espresso — talk about a pick me up! Grab your fudge and take a photo of it with the storefront, Main Street, bicycle or Lake Huron in the background to really set the scene!
Arch Rock is a geologic formation which consists of a natural limestone arch. Towering over the Lake Huron shoreline 146 feet above the water, the observation deck allows you to take photos level to the top of the arch or you can go up a few steps to be next to it. Either way, the iconic photo to snap is of the beautiful blue Lake Huron below through the space under the arch.
Behind Mackinac State Historic Park’s office next to the fort, you’ll stumble upon a few small trails. One of which is Anne’s Tablet Trail. A few steps to the right and over some tree roots, you’ll find a stunning panoramic view of Main Street, the Mackinac Bridge and many of the Island’s other well known landmarks. Not only is this a beautiful shot with everything in it, but it is a great opportunity to take it all in without the hustle and bustle of the Island below you.
See the world’s longest porch at the Grand Hotel! Admission costs $10 if you aren’t staying at the Grand Hotel. This fee gives you access to walk on the lawn (Look for the Secret Garden!) and take a self-guided tour through the colorful, high-class hotel. Some rooms have placards signifying celebrities who have stayed at the high-end resort. Admission also gives you access to the porch and Cupola Bar, where you can relax and enjoy a drink among beautiful scenery. This white hotel can be famously seen as you cross the Mackinac Bridge and as you ferry to the Island too. Regardless of what photo you take, you can’t go wrong!
Plan your picture-perfect visit today!
Pick a few locations, and charge up your camera — whether it be on your phone or filled with film. Then, book your stay to embark on your Instagrammable vacation! We hope you find shots that match the aesthetic of your feed perfectly.