Michigan’s Upper Peninsula after dark: Experience stellar stargazing

Photo credit: Aaron Peterson

For many of us, gazing into the night skies from our urban or suburban locations reveals only a few luminous points. But spend time where light pollution doesn’t obliterate your view of our galaxy and beyond, and you will be mesmerized by all of the stars, planets, moons, nebulae and Northern Lights drenching the sky. Almost the entire 51,000 square miles of the Upper Peninsula offers front row seats to some of the most stellar stargazing shows on earth — which is why the night sky is one of our biggest tourist attractions. It isn’t truly Michigan stargazing until you step out on a silent night, look up at the sky and gaze in breathtaking wonder at the millions of white freckles above you.

Best time for stargazing in Michigan

On clear nights, all 12 months present breathtaking celestial viewing in Michigan’s U.P. However, the International Dark-Sky Association (IDA) designates the week of the new moon in April as Dark Sky Week. Visit the IDA site for the next Dark Sky Week dates.

Best locations for stargazing in Michigan

The best place to go stargazing is where there are open spaces. Try along Lakes Michigan, Huron and Superior and inland lake shorelines, on top of our mountains and treeless hills, or in our fields. Favorite destinations include Whitefish Point or Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Paradise, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Munising, Brockway Mountain in Copper Harbor and Isle Royale National Park accessible from Houghton or Copper Harbor.

The Michigan Department of Natural Resources also offers Meteors & S’Mores nights in mid-August at designated U.P. state parks for campers and non-campers to watch the Perseid meteor showers. One of these events happens up at Fort Holmes, the highest point on Mackinac Island, overlooking the Mackinac Bridge. Check here for upcoming dates and parks to watch “falling stars” flash across the sky with famous Michigan landmarks in the background. What are you waiting for? Try stargazing tonight!

Plan your U.P. trip now!