Exploring Michigan's Upper Peninsula: A 72-Hour Adventure

Marqette's Boat Pier

Nestled between the vast waters of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan lies a hidden gem waiting to be discovered: Michigan's Upper Peninsula. With its rugged landscapes, stunning natural beauty, and rich cultural heritage, the UP (as it's affectionately known) offers an unforgettable adventure for the intrepid traveler. As Detroit natives, we take pride in our Michigan roots and would love our MuskOx Herd to join us, as we embark on a whirlwind 72-hour journey through the Upper Peninsula, exploring its iconic landmarks, indulging in local cuisine, and immersing ourselves in its unique charm.

Day 1: Discovering Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

The adventure begins with a sunrise drive to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, a breathtaking stretch of coastline along Lake Superior. Boarding a boat tour, visitors glide past towering cliffs, vibrant rock formations, and cascading waterfalls. The sheer beauty of this natural wonder often leaves travelers awestruck, so be sure to snap photos and breathe in the crisp, fresh air.

Pictured Rocks, Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Photo of the Pictured Rocks

After the boat tour, we'll lace up our hiking boots and hit the trails. With over 100 miles of hiking paths, there's no shortage of adventures to be had. Popular trails like Miners Castle and Chapel Loop offer panoramic views of the lakeshore and lush forests, along with hidden coves and ancient sandstone formations.

Old lighthouse in Munising

Photo of the Lighthouse in Munising

As the sun dips below the horizon, our journey leads us to the quaint town of Munising, where we can relax and recharge for the adventures that await us tomorrow. Picture-perfect scenes may find us savoring a Michigan classic beer – whether it's the refreshing Oberon or the robust Two Hearted Ale hailing from Kalamazoo. And let's not forget to treat ourselves to a taste of local delight: the pasty. Stopping in at Miners Pasty Kitchen, we'll indulge in this hearty pastry, brimming with a savory blend of meats, potatoes, and vegetables.

Miners Pasty Kitchen BuildingInside Picture of a Pasty from Miners Pasty Kitchen
Photos from The Pasty Guy

Day 2: Exploring Marquette's Rich Heritage

Rising early, we'll venture south to Marquette, a vibrant city steeped in history and culture. After a hearty breakfast at a local cafe, we'll explore Presque Isle Park, a verdant oasis nestled on the shores of Lake Superior. Wandering along winding trails, we'll marvel at panoramic vistas and hidden waterfalls, finding tranquility amidst the natural beauty.

Presque Isle Park Coast

Photo of the Presque Isle Park

Next, let's delve into Marquette's rich heritage at the Upper Peninsula Children's Museum and the Marquette Regional History Center. Here, you can learn about the region's indigenous peoples, early settlers, and the booming mining industry that shaped its destiny. The exhibits offer a fascinating glimpse into the past, igniting curiosity and appreciation for this unique corner of the world.

As night falls, dine at a local restaurant, savoring another delicious pasty or sample regional specialties like smoked fish chowder and Lake Superior whitefish. The warm hospitality and flavorsome cuisine will reaffirm your love for the Upper Peninsula.

Day 3: Journeying to the Keweenaw Peninsula

On the final day, set your sights on the Keweenaw Peninsula, a rugged wilderness renowned for its copper mining heritage. The first stop is the Quincy Mine, where guided tours offer insight into the hardships and triumphs of the miners who toiled there centuries ago.

Quincy Mine
Photo of the Quincy Mine

Continuing the journey, explore the towns of Houghton and Hancock, connected by the iconic Portage Lake Lift Bridge. Driving north to Copper Harbor, visitors traverse the winding roads of Brockway Mountain Drive, soaking in panoramic views of Lake Superior and the surrounding wilderness.

Keweenaw Peninsula coast
Photo of the Keweenaw Peninsula Coast
In just 72 hours, we've have embarked on a whirlwind adventure through Michigan's Upper Peninsula, discovering its natural wonders, indulging in local cuisine, and immersing ourselves in its rich heritage. From the rugged shores of Pictured Rocks to the historic streets of Marquette and the wilds of the Keweena Peninsula, the UP offers a treasure trove of experiences for the adventurous soul.