It still surprises me to this day how many people have no idea what or where the Upper Peninsula is. The US state of Michigan is actually made up of two peninsulas: The Upper Peninsula and the Lower Peninsula.
Quite often, the UP is forgotten about and has even been left off of maps of the United States. I was raised in the UP and have lived here for over 20 years and it’s astonishing that people can forget so easily about a piece of the country! I’ve even been asked by people if there is running water here..
I live in the UP, not the North Pole. Of course there is running water, paved roads, and internet. It’s true there is a lot of land and forest in the UP, but that doesn’t mean that we all live in tiny, little shacks and have to hunt for our food every day.
Does Canada have running water and electricity? Yes. So why wouldn’t half the state of Michigan?
If you’ve never been to the UP, you would be very surprised at how much it has to offer! The UP is home to three universities: Michigan Tech, Northern Michigan University, and Lake Superior State University. It has many port towns because it’s surrounded by water on three sides, and it connects to the Lower Peninsula by a 5 mile bridge called The Mackinac Bridge (mack-in-aw).
Not only does the UP connect to the Lower Peninsula by bridge, and part of the state of Wisconsin by land, but it also connects to Canada by bridge! The small town of Sault Ste. Marie borders the Canadian city of the same name and is home to the Soo Locks.
The UP has much to offer anyone who comes here, especially if you’re interested in nature and outdoor activities. I truly believe this is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and I’ve been traveling for 20 years! There is shopping, swimming (in one of the three lakes that border the UP), hiking, skiing, snowboarding, lots of great restaurants (you have to try a pasty) and more.
In fact, President Obama visited Northern Michigan University, located in Marquette, Michigan in 2011 to celebrate NMU’s WiMAX Network, which is the largest educational WiMax network in the U.S. Basically it’s insanely good WiFi and students close to 60 miles away from campus have been able to use the WiFi network.
NMU is also the home to the world’s 5th largest dome and 1st largest wooden dome: The Superior Dome. It is 14 stories high and a total of 5.1 acres inside. The NMU football team plays inside the Dome, which is perfect when the temperature drops and it starts to snow during football season, and it’s also the home to the NMU Olympic Training Site offices. Yes, people come to Marquette to train for the Olympics.
There’s so much to do here, it even surprised me! I’ve been here for two decades and still haven’t seen everything there is to see!
Here are some notable places to visit in the UP:
Located in Munising, Michigan along the shoreline of Lake Superior, you can see the magnificent encompassing cliffs, dunes, waterfalls and lakes.
Presque Isle Park
Located in Marquette, Presque Isle is a beautiful place to swim, jump off the Black Rocks into Lake Superior, picnic and even have weddings!
Seney National Wildlife Refuge
The perfect place to go if you want to see some wildlife in Michigan and feel connected with nature. The visitor’s center has plenty of information and you can take an auto tour through the refuge to see some of the animals in their natural habitat, especially birds!
Mackinac Island Butterfly House
Mackinac Island itself is a place you have to see, but the Butterfly House is incredible! There are tons of different butterflies, moths and other insects there and you get to walk right through the habitat and see it all firsthand.
Lake of the Clouds/Porcupine Mountains
If you’re looking for hiking, beautiful scenery and a spectacular view, visit the Porcupine Mountains in Ontonagon. Hiking in the summer, skiing in the winter. What more could you want?
There is just so much to do in the UP, it would take me days to write and I would end up with enough info to write a book! According to TripAdvisor, there’s a grand total of 377 things to do in the UP, and I can’t even begin to brush the surface.
Check out TripAdvisor’s list of the ultimate things to do in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan!
The UP is the perfect summer getaway, or winter if you’re into skiing and snowboarding. It’s also one of the best places in the world to see the fall colors, considering there is over 7 million acres of land in the UP. Take a trip during the fall to go on one of the fall color tours.
The beauty, the nature, the food, the people, everything about the Upper Peninsula is the reason you need to visit. The UP is filled with so many unique, wonderful things and it’s a tiny corner of the world that would be a shame to miss.