St. Ignace, the Mackinac Bridge gateway to the U.P., dates to 1671; the area’s history is displayed at the Museum of Ojibwa Culture and Fort de Buade Museum. North and east are Les Cheneaux Islands, a Lake Huron archipelago of 36 islands that The Nature Conservancy recognizes as “One of the Last Great Places in the Western Hemisphere.” Woods & Water Ecotours offers guided birding, hiking, biking and sea kayaking trips in waters that are ideal for paddling.
Venture north to Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan’s first permanent settlement. See the freighters--some up to 1,000 feet long---as they negotiate the narrow channels of the Soo Locks. Ride through the navigational system on a Soo Locks Boat Tour. The River of History Museum illustrates the complete history of Native Americans and fur traders along the St. Mary’s River.
Tahquamenon Falls near Paradise are the largest of the more than 200 known waterfalls in the U.P. Paths lead to several vantage points of the Upper and Lower Falls and the state park has 35 miles of hiking trails, including a route that connects the two sections of rushing waters. A short drive north takes you to the Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point on Lake Superior, which tells the story of the majesty and danger of the Great Lakes and the ships they have swallowed, including the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald. You can stay overnight in the handsomely restored Whitefish Point Light Station.
Follow Follow Lake Superior westward to Munising to explore Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. This treasure, the country’s first designated national lakeshore, has hiking trails, secluded beaches and backcountry camping but is best known for the popular Pictured Rocks Boat Tours at the park’s western end.
South of Pictured Rocks is Seney National Wildlife Refuge. The 95,000-acre protected area is a diverse habitat that is home to a wide variety of wildlife and migratory birds. A bit south and east along US-2 are Garlyn Zoological Park and Top of the Lake Snowmobile Museum in Naubinway. Cut River Bridge near the town of Epoufette is a popular stop to climb down the path and stairway to the beach, river and gorge below.
Know your travel dates? Check the interactive travel map to find more activities based on your destination, travel dates and interests.
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