FIND MICHIGAN’S BEST STATE PARKS IN THE UPPER PENINSULA
Want to be awe-struck by natural scenery, immerse in our state’s world-changing history and make the best memories ever with family and friends — visit Michigan’s state parks in the U.P. Once you see one, you will want to see them all — over and over!
ADD ALL 24 STATE PARKS, RECREATION AREAS AND SCENIC SITES TO YOUR U.P. BUCKET LIST
Outdoor adventures await all across the Upper Peninsula, from Lime Island State Recreation Area in the east, Fort Wilkins Historic State Park to the north, the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park in the west and Wells State Park to the south. Michigan has preserved acres of prime wilderness and lakeshore for you to enjoy. Take the challenge to visit all 24 U.P. state parks over the next few years.
THINGS TO DO AT U.P. STATE PARKS
Think of your favorite things to do outdoors. Something you have always wanted to try. A hobby you are passionate about. Wild birds or flowers you hope to see. A time in history that fascinates you. Your perfect relaxing day. With rare exceptions, you can experience it at our state parks!
Go mountain climbing, scuba diving, hiking, biking, swimming, boating, paddling, fishing, geocaching, wildlife and bird watching, snowmobiling, downhill and cross-country skiing, rockhounding and stargazing. Hear the roar of waterfalls. Visit lighthouses and historic places that stopped time, but keep their stories alive. Attend music and harvest festivals, snowshoe along lantern-lit trails and see the best fall color in the U.S.! And should one of your passions be beer, the U.P. even has a state park with a craft brewery!
TOP SIX MUST-SEE STATE PARKS IN THE U.P.
With so many parks to pick from, it’s tough to know where to start. Here are six to put at the top of your bucket list, but set a goal to see the rest.
Straits State Park: This gem is on Church Street, in the City of St. Ignace, south of US-2. An ADA-accessible overlook gives everyone a side view of the magnificent Mackinac Bridge which connects Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
Mackinac Island State Park: This is the oldest and one of the most popular state parks. Over 80% of the island is state park property and most of this land remains in its natural state. You can see the park by foot, bike, rented horse or buggy, sightseeing carriages or horse-drawn taxis. There are no motorized vehicles or camping on the island. Plan your visit.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park: If you’re exploring waterfalls in the Upper Peninsula, this is an ABSOLUTE MUST-VISIT in any season. You can access the park from either Paradise or Newberry to see the five Lower Falls and the Upper Falls which is Michigan’s largest waterfall and one of the largest in the United States east of the Mississippi River.
Palms Book State Park: See one of the U.P.'s alluring natural attractions —- Kitch-iti-kipi, The Big Spring. Two hundred feet across and 40 feet deep, it is Michigan's largest freshwater spring. Over 10,000 gallons a minute gush from fissures in the underlying limestone which you can view from a self-operated observation raft.
Fayette Historic State Park & Townsite: This once-booming town manufactured charcoal pig iron that helped to build much of the Midwest in the 1800s. Now, this park is a scenic blend of a well-preserved museum village and the unmatched beauty of a Lake Michigan harbor, white cliffs and ancient cedar forests.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park: The “Porkies” boasts being Michigan’s largest state park. On the shores of Lake Superior, it contains the Midwest's largest remaining stand of old-growth timber. Enjoy breathtaking wilderness panoramas from overlooks at Lake of the Clouds and Summit Peak scenic sites. Over 90 miles of hiking trails, waterfalls and in winter, downhill and cross-country skiing promise adventure.
YOU NEED A MICHIGAN RECREATION PASSPORT TO VISIT
Whether you are a Michigan resident or non-resident, you need an annual Michigan Recreation Passport or day pass to enter Michigan state parks, recreation areas and scenic sites. You can use your passport or day pass to enter or re-enter multiple parks each day. These passports also give you year-round access to state boat launch sites, state forest campgrounds, thousands of miles of trails and other outdoor spaces. Where to get a passport or daily pass.
WHEN TO COME
Most state parks in the U.P. are open seven days a week, all year round. Many welcome your leashed dog and several are ADA-accessible. Hours vary, but most are open from early morning to sunset. Check the individual park descriptions for dates, hours and details.
WHERE TO STAY
You can easily fill a day with adventures at any of the state parks. But to fully experience each park’s wonders and outdoor fun, plan to spend one or more nights.
Camp beneath a dome of stars.
Many of the U.P. state parks offer campgrounds. Choose from thousands of modern and rustic campsites, camper and rustic cabins, lodges, yurts and tepee rentals. Many campgrounds are pet friendly and several provide ADA-accessible camping options. For campground reservations, register online or call 800-44PARKS (800-447-2757).
Stay over at close-by hotels and lodgings
Do you enjoy playing and exploring outside, but prefer overnighting with the amenities and comforts of a hotel, bed and breakfast inn, cottage or resort? Most U.P. state parks are within minutes of lodgings that fit your needs and budget. Book your stay.
Now, choose one of our state adventure playgrounds below and go outside and play!
PLEASE SHARE YOUR STATE PARK PHOTOS
We would love to see pictures of your favorite state park scenery, adventures and relaxing moments while vacationing in the Upper Peninsula.. Use our hashtag #uptravel for an opportunity to be featured on our social media, website or in our marketing materials. You can also upload your photos to our Crowdriff Collector below.