18 Ideas for Unique Upper Peninsula Day Trips

Fresh air, fresh water and fresh memories are what Michigan's Upper Peninsula is all about. If you're a native Yooper, you know all of the beauty and uniqueness the U.P. has to offer. The U.P. also boasts some of the best culinary hidden gems that Michigan has to offer. Here are just a few of the many unique eateries and activities to take advantage of if you've got a day to spend in the U.P. 

A man carrying a plate of fish out of a restaurant
Jamsen's Fish Market | Photo Courtesy of Midwest Living/Aaron Peterson

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1. The AmbassadorHoughton

On January 1, 1965, the Ambassador Restaurant opened under new ownership. The new owners, the Rossi family, transformed the space from a tap bar into a restaurant that specialized in pizza and sandwiches. In 1978, the Ambassador expanded into the space next door, and the second dining room was added. The owners crafted a poem to walk guests through their history, detailing the life of the establishment and the unique murals adorning the walls. The poem, entitled "Come Fill a Bumper," has since been printed on the cover of the Ambassador menu.

2. The Library Restaurant & Brew Pub – Houghton

The Library is not your ordinary restaurant. They don’t worship the frozen or torture it in frying oil until it’s crispy. They cherish fresh ingredients. The Library's goal is simply for you to “Taste Something Great” in every meal. This U.P. experience mixes traditional foods with unique flairs and twists. The award-winning microbrew is the favorite of many, and premier drinks, wines and beverages bring it all together.

3. Kaleva CaféHancock

In 1891, Daniel T. Pearce opened a small saloon. The latest offered a warm retreat for hard working miners to gather over a welcomed spot of ale and to exchange tales. Eventually the business exchanged hands, becoming known as John's Saloon. The new owner proudly promised his guest the "best brands of wine and liquor always on hand". In 1918, Henry Moilanen took over at 234 Quincy with the idea of opening a restaurant. However, he needed a name. A contest was held and the name "Kaleva" was chosen, a direct take-off from the "Kalevala" national Finnish epic poem. In May 2006, Frank and Sandra Beauchamp reopened the Kaleva Cafe after an extensive renovation. They strive to carry on the Kaleva tradition of good home-cooked food in a friendly atmosphere.

4. The JampotEagle Harbor

The Jampot bakery is a Catholic Monastery. They embrace traditions of the Christian East while making a wide selection of homemade jams, jellies and preserves and fresh bakery and fruitcakes. Online ordering is available.

5. Mariner North ResortCopper Harbor

The Mariner North holds a very large place as the hospitality center in the history of Copper Harbor. First established in the1920′s as Copper Harbor launched its tourism era into a summer resort community with the shuttle service on the Copper Queen to Isle Royale National Park and the establishment of Fort Wilkins State Park. It offers unbelievable outdoor activities such as snowmobiling, skiing, mountain biking, ATV's and whatever else you enjoy doing outside.  

6. Harbor Haus Restaurant – Bed and Breakfast – Copper Harbor

Without a doubt, the most frequently asked question at the Harbor Haus is "Can we have a table with a view?" Fortunately, that's an easy request to fill as it's situated right on the shore of Lake Superior. Through the large picture windows, each guest has a beautiful harbor view expanding onto the big lake. While dining, it's not uncommon to see ore freighters in transit or small marine traffic and kayakers taking in the beautiful surroundings. All of this is framed by a patio adorned with flowers and trees, providing a German/Austrian flavor. The Harbor Haus offers a vast dining menu featuring fresh local fish, seafood, steaks and many more items, as well as Ahi flown in from Hawaii the day after it was "swimming." Local berries and vegetables are utilized in the dishes when available.

7. Jamsen's – Copper Harbor

At Jamsen's Fish Market and Bakery, freshly baked goods are highlighted through the use of local ingredients whenever possible.  The market offers fresh and smoked Lake Superior Trout and Whitefish, and sells muffins, donuts, coffee and jams.

8. Laurium Manor Inn Historic Hotel, Bed and Breakfast & Mansion TourLaurium

Laurium Manor Inn was built in the height of the mining boom of 1908 for Calumet & Arizona Mining Co. owners Thomas H. and Cornelia Hoatson. The Manor is perfectly located in the heart of the Keweenaw Peninsula, perfect for guest to explore neighboring Copper Harbor, Hancock, Houghton and more. Guests can choose from 11 guest rooms with their own bathrooms, a whirlpool and a relaxing evening on the covered porch. The Manor also hosts tours of the immense 13,000-square-foot home.

9. Paul's Superior View RestaurantSilver City

Paul's Superior View is committed to providing the best dining experience around. Paul’s menu features an eclectic mix of traditional favorites that is sure to satisfy any craving. Stop in & check out their nightly features, including: Friday Fish Fry & Saturday Angus Prime Rib.

10. Joey's Seafood & Grill – Houghton

Joey's is famous throughout the Copper Country and the Midwest, as well as the rest of the world, for their seafood. The menu also includes delicious steaks, chicken, Baby Back ribs, steak burgers, pasta, tacos and quesadillas. Joey's is a must for all seafood lovers visiting the U.P.

11. Suomi Home Bakery & Restaurant – Houghton

The Suomi Home Bakery & Restaurant has become a Houghton staple, serving up traditional Finnish foods, home style cooking and breakfast at reasonable prices all day. Enjoy Suomi’s small town ambiance and see for yourself why Suomi has been doing breakfast successfully for many, many years.

12. Roy's Pasties & Bakery, Inc. – Houghton

Roy's Pasties and Bakery is a family owned bakery specializing in traditional pasties and baked goods. The shop cooks up eight varieties of pasties, 19 kinds of bread per week, wedding cakes, bars, cookies, donuts, baklava, cookies and a multitude of other bakery delights.

13. Quincy Mine Properties – Hancock

Quincy Mine Properties
Quincy Mine Properties | Photo Courtesy of Pure Michigan

The Quincy Mine Tour offers three unique tours for all visitors: Surface Tour only, Surface Tour with Tram Ride, and Full Tour. All tours include a visit to our museum, a video-tour of the No. 2 Shaft-Rock House and a guided tour of the enormous and complex Nordberg steam-powered hoist engine and the building it is in. On the Full Tour, you will take a ride on the cog-rail tram car down the hill to the mine entrance and then ride by tractor-pulled wagon into the mine, seven levels underground. For a family-friendly adventure, check out the Quincy Mine.

14. Adventure Mining Company Greenland

While visiting the Copper Country, you’re invited to experience the best in underground mine tours: a tour through the historic Adventure Copper Mine. Walk through part or all of the tunnels on the first level or try your hand at rappelling with a rope and harness to the second level of the mine...the choice is yours!

15. Keweenaw Adventure Company – Copper Harbor

The Keweenaw Adventure Company offers rentals and tour for mountain biking and sea kayaking as well as lording, shuttle services and hiking groups. Copper Harbor has la beautiful agate harbor paddle for views of the natural rock formations, while the single track bike tour gives visitors and enchanting introduction to the forests and mountain biking.  

16. Copper Harbor Lighthouse Boat Tour – Copper Harbor

This single tour encompasses a total lighthouse experience, including a ride in a boat similar to an early 20th-century lighthouse launch. Because lighthouses are built in treacherous waters, it took a versatile boat to ferry supplies to lightkeepers and their families. The time-proven "double-ender" hull design and dimensions of the launch are identical to the early wooden boats of the United States Lighthouse Service which tended to the needs of the lightkeepers of the Keweenaw Peninsula. You will arrive at Hayes Point just as the lightkeepers did over 150 years before you.

17. Lake of the Clouds – Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park

Surrounded by the silhouettes of the ancient Porcupine Mountains, the Lake of the Clouds is a blue gem amid the thick forests. The Lake of the Clouds is perhaps the most photographed feature in the Porcupine Mountains region. No matter what the season, it is a truly breathtaking sight to behold.

18. A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum – Houghton

Let's be crystal-clear: the Seaman Mineral Museum is handsome, classy, and suitable—a fortune that houses a fortune. A hundred people gathered on a hot afternoon, across from the ATDC, and attested to a milestone more than a century in the making: a permanent home for the official Mineral Museum of Michigan. Appropriately, for a museum noted for its copper collection, the structure sits on an old mine shaft.