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Michigan, Sault Ste Marie, Escanaba, Houghton, Iron Mountain

Quick stop in Upper Peninsula of Michigan

We are considering a quick stop through the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.  Any general tips on the area? Stuff to do as a visitor (with young kids), any overall impression?

7 Answers

top answer by
Tony from Seattle

We just visited a few months ago and it was lovely (but coming from the west coast, the scenery was quite a bit less awesome for us compared to what we are used to).

Our favorite spots were 

  • Mackinac Island - very touristy but charming town with no cars.  There are horse drawn taxis!
  • Traverse City - This is a really cool town with orchards, vineyards(!), and a really charming downtown.  There's a 17 mile spit of land splitting the bay in front of the town that's full of farmhouses/etc-- very quaint.  Mario Batali spends a bit of time here and I believe has opened a few restaurants-- it has a pretty great food scene for a small/midwest town.  It's a summer destination for folks in the region, so there's plenty to do.
  • Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is gorgeous (take a boat trip!).
  • We were not wowed by the Apostle Islands (so I'd dodge that if you only have a few days)
  • Marquette is a great town pretty near Pictured Rocks.

Here are some great answers when I asked about the area:

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mackinac Island (island)
  2. Traverse City (city)
  3. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (attraction)
  4. Apostle Islands (attraction)
  5. Marquette (city)
6 thanks

answered by
Susan from Bay City

The UP is a wonderful place to visit! If you enjoy hiking, the Porcupine Mountains have many trails, and the "Lake in the Clouds". Tahquamenon Falls State Park is beautiful and you can also hike there, however, I suggest the row boat rental/ride to the small inner island, where you can wade into the falls. Copper Harbor has the mines, which are intriguing. Munising has the "Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore" and the boat tour is highly recommended. Newberry (Michigan) has the Oswalds Bear Ranch, were you can interact with a bear cub, while feeding them Fruit Loops cereal (additional cost but the staff will take pictures/video with your camera).

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Porcupine Mountains (attraction)
  2. Tahquamenon Falls State Park (attraction)
  3. Copper Harbor (attraction)
  4. Munising (city)
  5. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (attraction)
  6. Newberry (Michigan) (city)
  7. Oswalds Bear Ranch (attraction)
3 thanks

answered first by
Courtney from Los Angeles

This is such a gorgeous part of the country and a great choice for the summer since it's so far north. 

The first thing that comes to mind are the waterfalls in the area. There are literally dozens of them although make sure you check which ones are well, falling, before you go because I know they change depending on the season. Tahquamenon Falls  is absolutely amazing if you can catch it while you’re there.

Also, do NOT miss the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. It’s this amazing region where the rock formations turn all sorts of incredible colors and there are tons of natural arches and caves and trails and you name it. There’s a waterfall there called Spray Falls I would definitely try to see.  I know you can go camping there although I’ve never done it.

Since you've got the car, drive up to Brockway Mountain Dr. It’s a breathtaking, totally isolated region where you can actually see an aurora borealis on the right day. Just keep in mind though, it is really, really cold up there so be prepared. 

I don’t know how old your kids are, but they might like a tour of the Quincy Mine—I haven’t been yet but I just read a really fascinating book about how the copper industry created so many of the first billionaires in the U.S. so this is on my list and I know it's supposed to be great for kids!

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Tahquamenon Falls (attraction)
  2. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (attraction)
  3. Spray Falls (attraction)
  4. Brockway Mountain Dr (attraction)
  5. Quincy Mine (attraction)
2 thanks

answered by
Sanna from Hancock (Michigan)


I'm currently living in Hancock (right across the bridge from Houghton). I just moved here for six months about two weeks ago. My overall impression has been good so far. Houghton and Hancock (Michigan) have surprisingly many activities going on. I've also managed to travel around a bit in copper harbor etc. and the scenery is beautiful.

Here's a link to my first blog post about the area!Twin-Cities-of-the-North-Hancock-Houghton-/cmbz/4A9E985C-9B4E-450F-ACCC-DC257C6D4EE5 (at the bottom of the post you'll find a couple of useful websites to check out).

The smelter at Houghton is a popular place to visit but they'll have their last tour of the season on saturday 11th. Also the Quincy mine tours are popular and they'll have their last tours on 18th.

I hope this helped you guys!

Kind regards,


Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Houghton (city)
  2. Hancock (Michigan) (city)
1 thanks

answered by
Maria from Fort Worth

Make sure you stop for a pasty meat pie at a shop like Dobber's located in Escanaba (Dobbers Pasties) and Iron Mountain (Dobbers Pasties). It is a unique food found in the UP.

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Escanaba (city)
  2. Dobbers Pasties (restaurant)
  3. Iron Mountain (city)
  4. Dobbers Pasties (restaurant)
1 thanks

answered by
Jeff from Wisconsin


I have been vacationing in the UP since I was 10.

Here's a list:
Iron Mountain Mine Tour (Vulcan, MI)
Marquette on the shores of Superior
Mackinac Island, take a ferry to a historic Island

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Mackinac Island (island)

answered by
scott from Michigan

My son and I spent 4 days in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan last summer.  We stayed in Munising at the Beach Inn Motel, a small hotel on Lake Superior.  Clean and bright with great views from every room.  No beach at the hotel but a great one 10 minutes away.  Great boat tours of Pictured Rocks. 

Mentioned in this answer:

  1. Munising (city)
  2. Beach Inn Motel (hotel)

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