We wanted to go on a COVID safe vacation and there’s no where more social distanced than the Upper Peninsula. We’ve been a few times and wanted to do something new so we went all the way to the peak – Copper Harbor. I love being in the UP because it’s so calm with water and crazy views literally everywhere you turn! There’s never a shortage of awesome things to see/do.
Some tips on going to the UP:
– Everything is pretty far apart – be ready to drive a lot
– There’s no guarantee of phone service – it’ll go in and out constantly
– Because of the lack of service, it might be worthwhile to get a paper map or download maps on your phone before leaving each morning
– The food options aren’t great and there are rarely vegetarian options (outside of a grilled cheese)
– Everything closes pretty early – sometimes small towns will close down by 7pm (including food)
– Because of the last two points, it’s good to plan out where you’re going to eat or bring your own food so you’re not left starving
DAY 1: PICTURED ROCKS/MUNISING
We drove up and got here mid-afternoon. It’s about a six hour drive from the metro-Detroit area. If it’s your first time to Pictured Rocks, I recommend doing one of the boat tours vs. hiking. It’s the best way to see the rocks and is more relaxing. Since we’ve already gone the boat route, we decided to hike. Here’s what we did on the first day:
– Sable Falls – pretty waterfall, easy access
– Log Slide Overlook – one of our favorite views, easy access
– Hurricane River/Twelve Mile Beach – both are beaches, you could just do one – we liked Twelve Mile better
– Munising Falls – pretty waterfall, easy access
– Dinner at the Roam Inn – “fancy” UP food, a cute atmosphere, make a reservation
– Drinks in downtown Munising at By George Brewing and/or East Channel Brewing
DAY 2: PICTURED ROCKS + HOUGHTON
We wanted to do a few more Pictured Rocks sites before driving the 2.5 hours to Houghton/Hancock.
– Falling Rock Cafe – get coffee/tea (they had breakfast sandwiches that looked really good too)
– Bay Furnace Bagels – we got some sandwiches here to save for lunch later
– Coves Campground/Beach – we did the 3 mile round trip hike to this beach – it’s sooo calm and beautiful with crystal clear water
– Chapel Area/Mosquito Beach – this is a really popular trail route and the best way to see the rocks from land – when we went, it was super crowded so we decided to opt out
– Miner’s Castle/Falls – the castle is actually a famous rock formation – it’s super easy access and the water is a pretty green/teal
– Sand Point Beach – we stopped here to drink a beer and say goodbye to the area – it’s a nice beach with a view of Grand Island and the rocks – it would be a good place to spend the day
We then drove to Houghton – it’s a cute little college town with awesome views! To cross off two more breweries from our list, we went to The Library for dinner and then got beers at Keweenaw Brewing Company. I would recommend staying in Houghton if you can – it’s definitely the most lively city in the area and centrally located. We stayed in Calumet and it was cute, but we definitely preferred Houghton.
Hancock is another little downtown across the bridge from Houghton that you can check out as well.
DAY 3: COPPER HARBOR
From Calumet we drove north as far as we could!
– Eagle River – a small waterfall/museum and cute little town
-The Jampot – a small roadside stop for really good jam/baked goods – it’s owned by monks which is slightly weird/religious
– Eagle Harbor Lighthouse – right on the water with tons of maritime history
– Brockway Mountain Overlook – this was my favorite part – you can drive up via Brockway Mountain Drive (mostly trees) or Lakeshore Drive (on the water) – you get to the top and there’s a gorgeous view of multiple lakes and lots of trees
– Downtown Copper Harbor/Brickside Brewing – there are gift shops, a candy store and more
– Fort Wilkins State Park – historical buildings on the water
– Copper Harbor Lighthouse Overlook – a small beach with picnic tables with a view of the lighthouse
We ended the day back in Calumet with dinner and drinks at Red Jacket Brewing. Another option to do in the area is tour a real copper mine – the Quincey Mine. You can call to make reservations and it lasts about 2 hours. We didn’t feel like we had enough time for this stop.
DAY 4: PORCUPINE MOUNTAINS + MARQUETTE
We woke up early and drove the 1.5 hours to Porcupine Mountains to see Lake of the Clouds. It’s an easy access overlook to crazy view. There are a bunch of trails options as well. Then we drove 30 minutes to Summit Peak. It’s an easy 0.5 mile hike to a viewing platform with lots of trees.
We then drove 2.5 hours to Marquette. This is my favorite city in the Upper Peninsula! It’s a college town with tons of nature and a cute downtown. The vibes are amazing.
There are a ton of breweries here! The most popular are Black Rocks Brewing and Ore Dock Brewing. We wanted to go to places we’ve never been so we chose Barrel + Beam and Drifa Brewing. Both were really cute with good beer.
For our nature fix, we went to Dead River Falls. And then drove the Presque Isle Loop. Make sure you stop at the actual Black Rocks and jump off if you’re brave enough. We got dinner at BODEGA at night.
Other Marquette hike ideas:
– Sugarloaf Mountain – easy access/short hike with great view
– Top of World
– Harlow Lake
– Hogback Mountain
We stayed at an Airbnb downtown this time, but a few years ago we stated at Nestledown Bed and Breakfast. It was so cute and nice!
DAY 5: ESCANABA + MANISTIQUE
We got tea and muffins at BabyCakes before hitting the road. We wanted to do some stuff on our long ride home. First we stopped at Hall Farm, right outside of Escanaba. They have a huge sunflower field with two viewing platforms and it’s free! You can leave a donation to cut a few stems.
Then we drove into Escanaba and tried to go to Upper Hand Brewery, but they were closed :/. We did try our first pasties at Dobber’s and Gram’s – the two competitors in Escanaba. Gram’s didn’t have any vegetarian options, but my Dobber’s pasty was good. It’s basically like a portable pot pie.
Then we went to Manistique to check out the Big Spring or Kitch-iti-kipi. There’s teal/clear blue water with a moving platform over the area. It’s a cool site!
From there it’s about 5.5 hours back to the Detroit area.
– Sable Falls
– Log Slide Overlook
– Hurricane River/Twelve Mile Beach
– Munising Falls
– Dinner at the Roam Inn
– By George Brewing and/or East Channel Brewing
– Falling Rock Cafe
– Bay Furnace Bagels
– Coves Campground/Beach
– Chapel Area/Mosquito Beach
– Miner’s Castle/Falls
– Sand Point Beach
– Drive to Houghton/Hancock (2.5 hours)
– The Library
– Keweenaw Brewing Company
– Quincey Mine
– Eagle River
– The Jampot
– Eagle Harbor Lighthouse
– Brockway Mountain Overlook
– Downtown Copper Harbor/Brickside Brewing
– Fort Wilkins State Park
– Copper Harbor Lighthouse Overlook
– Red Jacket Brewing
– Lake of the Clouds
– Summit Peak
– Drive to Marquette
– Dead River Falls
– Presque Isle/Black Rocks
– Brewery of your choice
– Dinner at BODEGA
– Hall Farm
– Upper Hand Brewery
– Gram’s or Dobber’s