Explore the Unique and Quirky Side of Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Embark on a thrilling journey in a land brimming with breathtaking natural beauty, wildlife and centuries-old cultures. But besides the U.P.’s popular destinations, it is a treasure trove of one-of-a-kind and often quirky places. Get ready to make spontaneous stops at these 10 must-see roadside attractions.



The Jampot

Eagle Harbor | Open mid-May through mid-October

Venture up the Keweenaw Peninsula on M-26 and stop at this unique bakery and preserves shop. Monks from the Society of St. John sell locally sourced jams, baked goods, coffee and other tasty treats. Yes, these are real monks. That’s their monastery across the street.

Insider’s Tip: After grabbing a muffin or two and jam to take home, go the short distance to the Monastic Park trails to see Jacobs Falls.

Line of people in front of the Jampot, in the Keweenaw Peninsula of the Upper Peninsula, Michigan USA

Adventure Mining Company

Greenland | Mine tours from May to October; hiking trails open all year

When driving through Greenland on M-38, pull off at the Adventure Mining Company. Here is one of the best-preserved historic copper mines in Michigan. It is open seven days a week in the summer and offers three experiential tours ranging from 1.5 to 6 hours. 

The Prospector’s Tour, designed for all ages, takes you to the largest rooms in the mine. The Miner’s Tour includes rappelling 80 feet to another part of the mine. The Captain’s Tour takes you through the first two levels and includes an underground pasty lunch — how authentic! 

Adventure Mine Tours - Keweenaw Peninsula



Pickle Barrel House Museum

Grand Marais | Open June through September

The Pickle Barrel House is one of the U.P.’s most unusual attractions. William Donahey, a renowned cartoonist, built it in the 1920s as a summer cottage. This barrel-shaped house is now a museum dedicated to local history and the artist. Check out the unique architecture and charming backstory of the famous Teenie Weenie characters. 

Da Yoopers Tourist Trap Museum & Rock Shop

Ishpeming Township | Open daily

This Yooper-themed museum ranks high for being quirky. Just off U.S. Highway 41 near Marquette, it is hard to miss. Inside, you can see “Big Gus”, da largest working chainsaw in da world. Or marvel at the mysterious Loop Garou in the museum's “Deer Camp.” It doesn’t get more Yooper than that, eh

Want to shop? You and your travel companions will find countless Yooper-themed gag gifts and souvenirs to bring a piece of da U.P. home with you. In the rock shop, see rare local minerals, like "Yoopa-Lights," a syenite that glows orange under UV light. It's so cool! Also, there is the usual rock-store stuff from around the world, including handcrafted stone goblets and clocks.


Jilbert Dairy's Giant Cows

Marquette | Open daily

There are three giant “Jilly” dairy cow statues at this whimsical roadside attraction that scoops up some of the best-tasting ice creams in the U.P. One cow perches on the silo roof, another is in a trailer ready to follow you down the road. The third is in a pen in the dairy’s shady picnic area. This last cow is a great photo opportunity for you and the kids. You can sit on the stool and pretend to milk her. 

Lakenenland Sculpture Park 

Marquette | Open 24 hours daily; FREE

You won’t even have to leave your car for this one! On M-28 near Marquette, Lakenenland is a drive-through sculpture park. Or park the car and take a tour on foot. See Tom Lakenen’s handiwork — over 100 whimsical, colorful and sometimes “tell it like it is” metal art pieces. Each sculpture started from junk metal or iron scraps. There’s a lot of creative energy here! 

Besides the sculptures, the park features a bog walk, a picnic area, two fishing ponds, a playground and two entertainment stages. 



Castle Rock

St. Ignace | Open daily from May to October

Clarence Eby opened this renowned landmark to tourists in 1929 and it has been a popular destination ever since. As one of the oldest lookout points near St. Ignace, it rises almost 200 feet and offers breathtaking views for up to 20 miles. Use the summit’s viewing binoculars to bring Mackinac Island, Lake Huron and downtown St. Ignace into focus. Adding to the selfie appeal of this roadside stop are statues of Paul Bunyan and Babe.

Castle Rock, located in St. Ignace in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan

U.S. Highway 2 Coastline

Naubinway to St. Ignace 

The views along this 60+minute coastal drive are Pure Michigan gorgeous. Go from seeing the mighty Mackinac Bridge to rocky wooded areas, the Cut River valley and sandy beaches with rolling dunes.

Insider’s Tip: Bring your camera and take this drive just before dusk. Park at one of the many pull-offs, set up your tripod and capture a show-stopping Yooper sunset.

Lake Michigan Shoreline along US 2

The Mystery Spot

St. Ignace | Open daily, May through mid-October

Voted Michigan's No.1 unusual attraction by Michigan Living Magazine’s (AAA) readers, the Mystery Spot is a great side trip. Its optical contradictions and physical sensations will have you scratching your head and wondering how this can be. Add a thrilling zipline, baffling maze, an 18-hole mini-golf course, plus more and it’s all you need to create a fun-filled few hours.

There is also a gift shop where you can get your unique Mystery Spot souvenirs. When people ask where you got them from – you can tell them it’s a mystery!


GarLyn Zoo Wildlife Park

Naubinway | Open daily, May through October

When looking for wildlife in the Upper Peninsula, you don’t expect to find a Siberian tiger, African lion or grizzly bear. However, at GarLyn Zoo you will see these and hundreds of North American and exotic animals from around the world. Built on an ancient dune at the northernmost point of Lake Michigan, the zoo blends well with its natural surroundings. It stands out from many other zoos by how close you are to the animals. 


On your next trip to the U.P., include one or more of these off-beat spots in your itinerary. You will bring home stories to tell your family and friends. Set a goal to see all 10 stops over the next few years. There are plenty of places to stay near each of them.