Delta County – Welcome to the Walleye Capital of World!
Fayette State Park Photo credit: wanderingz
What an amazing destination! Delta County, home to Escanaba, Bark River, Gladstone, Rapid River, Nahma and Garden, is a Lake Michigan coastal paradise. Its 211 miles of varied shoreline is the most of any county in the continental U.S. Beautiful beaches, trails and stunning limestone cliffs along Big and Little Bays de Noc offer spectacular sightseeing by foot, bike or kayak. While you’re here, reel in trophy-sized fish from sparkling streams, inland lakes and the great waters. Find your groove at live music performances hosted on the shores of Lake Michigan. Walk through history in a ghost town and museums. Sample locally crafted wines and beers. Find your Upper Peninsula favorites in local shops and eateries. And return often for more memories.
Welcome to the Walleye Capital of the World!
The fun starts at the water’s edge along the Bays de Noc shoreline – and you’ve found the “Walleye Capital of the World” in Delta County. Anglers from near and far converge for open-water and ice fishing and ESPN for its B.A.S.S. Elite Series Professional bass fishing tournament. Boaters and divers enjoy Gladstone and Escanaba harbors and marinas and many unique islands.
The fun continues away from the lake into the Hiawatha National Forest, with its large tracts of public land where you can hike, mountain bike and ride ORVs. Or you can hit the Bays de Noc-Grand Island Trail, which nearly connects the 40 miles between Lakes Michigan and Superior and is open for horseback riders, backpackers, hikers and mushers.
City Charm Beneath a Mystery Light
Head into Escanaba, the largest downtown in the U.P., and snack at Sayklly’s Confectionery and Gifts, home of homemade chocolates and candies made from old-world recipes. Learn about the area’s past at Delta County Historical Museum. From there head to the shore and take in the view from the striking white brick Sand Point Lighthouse. Lovingly restored as a maritime museum, historically preserved details tell tales of Mary Terry, one of the first women lighthouse keepers on the Great Lakes, witness to a mystery of the light shrouded in time. Located above Ludington Park, kids of all ages will delight in climbing the winding spiral staircase and taking in the view of picturesque Little Bay de Noc to the east.
Cross the bay and discover new vintages at Garden Bay or Threefold Vine Wineries. Point south down the lovely Garden Peninsula and head toward Fayette Historic State Park which offers a delightful blend of nature and history. By land or by water, you can enjoy the park in countless ways. Hike or cross-country ski along five miles of trails and marvel at views from limestone cliffs surrounding the harbor. The park boasts ancient cedars – some dating back 1,400 years – the oldest in any Michigan state park. Big Bay de Noc is bountiful for anglers and is rated one of the top fishing areas in the Midwest. Fayette reveals some of it’s story in artifacts on the floor of the harbor. Scuba dive beneath the surface to learn more about the area. The slag beach just off the townsite is a popular exploration point, but please leave any discoveries in the water for the next sleuth to discover. Stop by the camp office to purchase the required permit. The park offers many amenities, a modern campground, harbor slips, a boat launch, showers, grills, picnic tables, a visitor center and gift shop are located within walking distance. Cap your adventures by stepping back into UP history at the Fayette Historic Townsite. Explore a restored industrial smelting village of more than twenty buildings from the 1870s that unlocks stories of the past. Learn more through interpretation provided by the Michigan Historical Center. Visitors can take guided tours or self-guided walks.
Step right up!
UP State Fair Photo credit: Upper Limits Media
Every August, Escanaba plays host to the largest fair in the Upper Peninsula. The UP State Fair dates all the way back to 1928. Visit once and you will understand its staying power. Families delight in thrill rides and blue ribbon winners, while splurging a little on delectable summertime fair foods. Evenings bring top talent headlining the entertainment stage in the grandstand, while everyone enjoys a fireworks finale. Adrenaline junkies flock to the on-site UP International Raceway to experience the action of race cars circling the track at dizzying speeds.
Activities and Recreation Spanning the Seasons
Choose from many different golf courses and experiences during your stay. Four of the courses rank in the U.P.’s top fifteen best. Enjoy the rare opportunity to tee off on the same holes where international players compete annually for hundreds of thousands of dollars. However, we pride ourselves on offering an affordable experience where our golf destinations compete amongst each other to show the best hospitality. We will even throw in spectacular scenery and top it off with same day tee times!
Check the calendar for tons of cool events, including the Jig-It Ice Fishing in January, Cruisin’ Klassics Classic Car Show and Fun Run in June, and Century Bike Ride Tour of Delta County in September. Fayette State Park hosts year ‘round fun, from holly jolly sun in the fun during Christmas in June to Fallfest. Get into the spirit of the season and decorate your campsite for Halloween while enjoying dazzling fall colors, trick-or-treating, hayrides and other family-friendly activities. On the last Saturday in January kerosene lanterns illuminates the Bluff Trail with a soft glow during the Lantern-Lit Cross-Country Ski, Snowshoe & Hike. Cozy up with a bonfire, hot cocoa and marshmallows while stargazing on a clear and silent night.