There are so many family friendly and memorable things to do in Michigan Upper Peninsula. While visiting You might see wolves, black bears, or moose. There are over 400 different types of birds, over 150 waterfalls, you can hike mountains, canoe along huge rock cliffs, search for sea glass along lake Superior, learn to make maple syrup, go morel mushroom hunting, eat the famous pasties, and so much more! For anyone who hasn’t visited the UP, this is one place that you MUST visit! The beauty of Michigan Upper Peninsula is simply amazing and breath taking!
There are many family owned cottages and hotels around Michigan Upper Peninsula to stay in and not as many different big chain hotels/motels. When we went up there a couple years ago we decided to stay in some small Family owned cottages in Newberry called Halfway Lake Resort. They were centrally located between the places we wanted to visit during our stay and were really an amazing place to stay. The cottages had full kitchens in them, so we could cook instead of having to eat out for our meals, they have a pretty much completely private lake for the guests and even boats to use on the lake.
My boys loved taking them out fishing and exploring! They have a playground for the kids to play on, and even a fire pit you could roast marshmallows at. There are only a few sets of cottages so there isn’t too many other guests to deal with and it’s so quiet at night you could even hear cyotes howling off in the distance. To our east was Tehquanemon Falls and to the west is the Pictured Rocks National Shoreline. We couldn’t have asked for a better place to stay really!
Things To Do In Michigan Upper Peninsula
This is a list of family friendly things to do in Michigan Upper Peninsula, which would be anything North of the Mackinac Bridge. I have often said anywhere North of the bridge is a little slice of heaven. The scenery everywhere is just beautiful and breathtaking and shows the beauty of our creator, and it would be an amazing place to spend a memorable family vacation in Michigan.
Tahquamenon Falls – The upper and lower Tahquamenon Falls which is the largest waterfall east of the Mississippi river. There are a couple different ways to see the falls. You can walk the trails through the state park to see the falls, or you can take the Toonerville Railway to the Riverboat that will take you to their private trail and viewing area on the other side of the falls.
Pictured Rocks National Shoreline – There are many places you can visit along this huge national park that is along the Lake Superior lakeshore. Some of the hikes are short, others are miles long. There are so many different places to visit along the shoreline you could spend an entire week just exploring this shoreline. Along the shoreline you will find waterfalls, sand dunes, amazing cliffs, beaches, and tons of wildlife, you will find there are limitless things to do here. When we went up there were stopped at Chapel Falls and Miner’s Castle. If you don’t feel like hiking trails to visit the pictured rocks national shoreline, consider taking a cruise along the shore. You get views you would never get otherwise!!The cruises run may through October.
Porcupine Mountains – The state park is 60,000 acres and one of few remaining wilderness areas in the Midwest. Forests, secluded lakes, streams, and rivers are just a few of the many beautiful things you will find exploring the porcupine mountains state park. It is common to see black bears in the park.
Au Sable Light Station – The lighthouse was built in 1873. Located in the Pictured Rocks National shoreline. It is about a 1 1/2 mile walk to the lighthouse using the hiking trails. On the trail you will find exposed shipwreck, they also offer summer guided tours.
Quincy Mining – The Quincy mine is located in Hancock Michigan, and is meant to educate people on the history of copper mining in Michigan. They offer guided tours for surface tours, surface tour with tram ride, and full tours.
St. Ignace – St Ignace is the city you will pass through immediately after crossing the Mackinac Bridge. It is the 3rd continuously inhabited city in the USA because of the rich soil and waterways. If you are driving through chances are you will see Castle Rock, if you climb the 170 stairs to the top of this 195ft above ground level you will get a chance to get a picture of yourself with Paul Bunion and Babe his big blue ox.
Drummond Island – Drummond Island is the second largest freshwater island in the nation. While there you can enjoy visiting the historical museum, the Maxton plains, and the unique and beautiful fossil lodges (YouTube Video of them) or go birding and see some beautiful wildlife.
Great lakes Shipwrecked Museum – Lake Superior has caused the most treacherous conditions of all the great lakes, causing many shipwrecks, this museum has artifacts from many of the famous shipwrecks including the bell from the Edmund Fitzgerald. The tours include a self guided tour of the Shipwreck museum building and exhibits, 20 minute video presentation, guided tour of 1861 light keeper’s quarters and exhibit and a guided tour of the 1923 Surfboat house and exhibits. While visiting the museum stop over the Whitefish Point Lighthouse overlooking Whitefish Bay on Lake Superior.
Tahquamenon Logging Museum – Situated on 29 acres along the Tehquamenon River the museum features early days artifacts. You can also view a presentation of how logging used to be done with the river. Stop at certain times to enjoy a homemade pancake breakfast made on an old wood stove.
Grand Sable Dunes – For the time being a portion of Grand sable Dunes is closed due to hazardous erosion which is aproxomitaly 14 acres in size. The trails to Sable Falls remains open.
Seney National Wildlife Refuge – Seney National Wildlife Refuge has many things for families to do while visiting. Get amazing pictures of wildlife, scenery, and more. Hike trails, fish, go mushrooming, go birding, geocaching, hunting, canoeing, and lots more. Head over to their website for more information.
Take a Ferry to Grand Island – Grand Island is located in Munising, it is 13,500 acres and part of the Hiawatha National forest. There are many things to do on the island like explore nature, visit historic sites and overlooks, bike or hike the island, or even camp on the island overnight.
Ottawa National Forest – The Ottawa National Forest is a HUGE 1,000,000 acres full of beautiful wildlife, breathtaking views, hills, waterfalls, rivers, and more. In the forest you will find many great places to visit including the Sturgeon River George – The little silver river has carved out falls, rapids, ponds, and oxbows. Stunning views are possible from the eastern rim of the gorge, they offer 7 different camp sites for staying the night in the forest as well.
Sylvania Wilderness Area – The Sylvania wilderness area is located in the Ottawa National forest. This area is 18,327 acres and is great for people who want to camp, fish, hike, canoe, or just enjoy the solitude of wilderness. There are 34 named lakes some have sandy beaches while others have huge red and white pines. Camping with a permit is allowed on this site.
UP Craig Lake State Park – Michigan’s most remote state park. Situated on 8,459 acres of land. Getting there can be a challenge and a high ground clearance vehicle is recommended. There are 6 full lakes, a variety of wildlife including deer, black bear, beaver, loons, and moose.
Take the Ferry from Houton to visit Isle Royale National Park – Isle Royale is a remote island wilderness in the middle of Lake Superior. Only accessible by fairy, seaplane, or private watercraft. The island is a unique and remote island archipelago. It is 132,018 acres, it consists of 1 large island and over 450 smaller islands. There is a unique ecosystem of wildlife to explore on the island, including 19 mammals species. Midwest Living shared this great article on why a trip to Isle Royale is worth the effort.
Coopertown Mining Museum – The Coopertown mining museum gives visitors a unique view at the tools and techniques used for centuries during the mining process.
Sault Ste Marie – Soo Locks – Watch how freighters, barges, tugboats, and more make the 21 foot drop from Lake Superior to Lake Huron. 90% of the worlds Iron Ore is transported through these locks as they are the only way of transportation from Minnesota to the Atlantic Ocean.
Keweenaw Peninsula- watch northern lights at the most premier location in the lower 48 states. Visit some of the many amazing places along the Keweenaw peninsula including the lighthouses, beaches, scenic drives, and so much more.
Brockway Mountain Drive – 9 1/2 Mile drive along a breathtaking views along Lake Superior, it is the highest above between the Rockies and the Alleghenies. It is part of the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Paulding Mystery Light – Visit the spot of the Paulding mystery light, and see if you can figure out the mystery behind the light that comes out every night.
Bond Falls ~ Located in the western upper peninsula of Michigan in Ottawa National Forest, it is one of the “best kept secret” spots for travelers to stop and visit.
Crystal Mountain – Crystal mountains has a ton of fun family friendly things to do. They offer an Alpine Slide, outdoor laser tag, disc golf, outdoor laser tag, mountain climbing, and much more. It would be somewhere you could visit for a few attractions or stay the night at their camp ground or hotel.
WWII glider/Military Museum – This museum contains an extensive collection of military Uniforms from the Civil War through wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It also includes photos from World War II, Nazi Germany artifacts, a restored WWII Jeep 1930’s Model AA Ford dump truck and a Model A Ford Tudor sedan. There are military and general Plaques, and a restored glider. This is a great place to get a look into the worlds history of wars.
Palms Book State Park – This state park has one of Michigans alluring natural attractions. This big spring is 200 ft across, 40 ft deep and is Michigan’s biggest freshwater springs. Over 10,000 gallons of water gush from the underwater limestone with a flow that continues at 45’F year round. Tourists will head out on the self-operated raft to the spring, they will also see tree trunks, branches, fish as they go through crystal clear waters.
Minesota Mine – once the most productive copper mines in the US. A mass was discovered here that would become the largest single mass of native copper ever found to this day. When processed, it was estimated to weigh around 527 tons. Today collectors can still find copper, silver, and micro minerals here.
Copper Peak Adventure Ride – Copper peak adventure ride is a 810ft lift and 18 story elevator. It overlooks 2500 square miles of the Lake Superior Basin including parts of Michigan, Wisconsin, Minnesota, and, on a clear day, 85 miles across the Lake. Points of Interest include the Apostle Islands, the Porcupine Mountains, Isle Royale, and numerous historic sites – Skiers can soar more then 600 feet in the air. This is the world’s largest ski jump / ski flying structure
Chutes and Ladders Park – This is a perfect place to spend the day as a family. They offer an amazing park that is set up like the games of chutes and ladders, they have a public access beach swimming area, covered pavilion and more. While there don’t forget to check out the beautiful Lift bridge that goes from Houghton to Hancock.
MIFalls.com shared this amazing printable map of 100 different waterfalls that can be found in Michigan Upper Peninsula. There are many more waterfalls then the ones listed on this map, but this is a great start!
The Detroit Free press shared this drive through Michigan Upper Peninsula that made the 10 Best US Road trips going through many different beautiful landscapes and at least 5 different waterfalls. The post on the website isn’t there anymore, but there is a map highlighting the drive.
Pasties are a HUGE thing up in Michigan upper peninsula. So don’t forget to stop at a local diner and try some out. I’ sure you’ll fall in love quickly!
Where is your favorite place to visit in Michigan Upper Peninsula? Leave a comment letting me know, I would love to hear from you!
I have shared many different places that are free and ones that charge an admission fee on my Michigan page including our stops in Michigan Upper Peninsula, stop over and check it out!
My Amazing Places to Visit In Michigan Pinterest board has vacation ideas for families around Michigan and Michigan Upper Peninsula as well stop over and check it out.
I am linking up with these great Linky parties, stop over for more great ideas!