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 at Fumee 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 to Bond 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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