WRITER | MIKAYLA BALK
PHOTO | KEWEENAW CVB
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is so full of enticing scenery and wildlife, it’s hard to know where to start a tour. The Keweenaw Peninsula is a bountiful place of lighthouses, historical towns, rocky coastal cliffs, charming shops, and various regional foods to try. Each sunrise or sunset is a spectacle to cherish on the land above the bridge. Creating an itinerary can be overwhelming, so we’ve put together a plan to guide you.
Houghton is the Keweenaw Peninsula’s largest city and has many things to see and do. The Portage Waterway, a canal that separates Copper Island from the mainland, can be explored by bike, boat, or kayak. Nara Nature Park has sights to see along its boardwalks, and the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum is worth a visit. Built on top of an old copper mine, the museum has an extensive collection of minerals found around the world.
How does a drive along the water’s edge and a picnic at the beach sound? For anyone searching for a scenic coastal drive, follow the Portage Lake Lift Bridge to Hancock and then cruise along M-26 and east to Gay Lac Labelle Road. Stop and picnic at Lac Labelle Beach, a secluded little area ideal for relaxing and paddle boarding. Be sure to visit the nearby Mendota Lighthouse, and Bete Grise South Preserve, a protected dune and wetland habitat.
If you have the time, the Nordic Spa at Mount Bohemia Resort is great for a rejuvenating swim. They also have a eucalyptus steam room and cabin bar. Settle down for dinner at the Harbor Haus in Copper Harbor, where a lake view is guaranteed.
A trip Up North isn’t complete without catching both the sunrise and sunset above Lake Superior and some time spent exploring the many shops and art galleries. For history lovers, Fort Wilkins Historic State Park, built in 1844, provides tours of the historic fort and lighthouses, an homage to what life was like in the Northern frontier during the copper rush.
With jagged cliffs overlooking bountiful forests, Brockway Mountain Drive offers 9.5 miles of stunning views. It is also the highest drive above sea level between the Rockies and the Alleghenies. Next, head to Estivant Pines Wilderness Nature Preserve, west of Copper Harbor, where you can walk among the 300-year-old pines that reach heights of 125 feet and are five feet in diameter.
M-26 North delivers incredible views of the black boulder shoreline. Visit the Eagle Harbor light station, complete with a working lighthouse and museum, and watch for freighters offshore. The Jampot is a local favorite, so if you’re interested in a side trip, the store is known for its Poorrock Abbey preserves and thimbleberry jam. Spend the night at Fitzgerald’s Hotel & Restaurant on the shore of Lake Superior in Eagle River.
Drive south along the coast on 5 Mile Point Road to Ahmeek to catch US-41 South to Calumet, then enjoy lunch in the historic copper mining town. There is a three-story museum open free to the public that shares the town’s history.
When you’re ready to move on, head west on M-203 to continue along the coast. Spend time searching for agate stones at Calumet Waterworks Park and visit McLain State Park for fishing, windsurfing, berry picking, and snapping photographs on the Lake Superior shore and the Keweenaw Waterway Upper Entrance Lighthouse. Resume your journey along M-203 to finish your vacation in Hancock.
Wherever your journey takes you within the Keweenaw Peninsula, it’s sure to be full of breathtaking views, delicious food, and lifelong memories. Nothing beats a trip to the land up above. Contact the Keweenaw CVB for tips and questions regarding travel plans.