If you have the chance, you should spend MUCH more time than five days in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. However, if you’re limited on time and want to traverse the glorious region in a short time frame, here’s a sampling of activities for you to try.
On our first day, we arrived at Tahquamenon Falls State Park after a stay in Northern Michigan with a drive through the Tunnel of Trees and across the Mackinac Bridge. For us, it was a delightful opportunity to meet up with family (Mariah, Mark, and Mia) for some waterfall views. The park affords multiple hiking and camping opportunities. If you have time, we also recommend driving up to Whitefish Point.
For the evening, we stayed at Muskallonge Lake State Park, with access to Lake Superior and gorgeous beach running. This beach is known for it’s beautiful agate rocks.
The next day, we headed west towards Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. There was much hype for the beauty of this region, though we were unable to enjoy most of it due to the restrictions on dog access of the park. We are sure this would be a wonderful place to visit without a pet though!
However, we stayed that night at nearby Munising on the lovely Lake Superior and enjoyed a beautiful kayak across the lake to Grand Island. The distance across is only about 1 mile. If you don’t have your own kayak, there is also a ferry that will take you across. Given more time, you can explore the island’s 17 mile loop trail.
On our third day, we had hoped to jump off the Black Rocks in Marquette but found the road closed, so instead headed on to Canyon Gorge Falls en route to Ontonagon for the evening. The falls were a delightful midpoint distraction and easy hike. Additionally, the Ontonagon campground is lovely with easy access to Lake Superior swimming.
Day four was exclusively dedicated to the Porcupine Wilderness, which my mother asked if we were visiting about five times because she loved it so much. There are multiple trails to hike here, but we chose the Government Peak Loop. It was a bit boggy for the first half, but the Escarpment Trail made up for it!
We also stopped for pasties (pronounced pass-tees) in Ontonagon as a reward for our long and tough hike! Mmmm….
On our final day, we drove the National Black River Scenic Byway as recommended to us by my high school friend, Gina. It is a lovely stretch of road that includes about six waterfalls. It was a nice restful day after hard hiking. Most of these trails are easily accessible, though they include stairs that can be challenging at times.
To see more of our adventure, watch our YouTube video of the region!