We recently had some friends over for a card game and somehow got onto the topic of a road trip through the Upper Peninsula and all the cool places to check out there. We got the usual suspects like the Great Lake Shipwreck Museum, Soo Locks, Kitch-iti-Kipi, and Tahquamenon Falls. And if you are up for more adventure, you can head further west to the Porcupine Mountains, Keweenaw Peninsula mine tours, Black River National Scenic Byway, and of course, Isle Royale.

Tunnel of the Delaware Copper Mine in the Upper PeninsulaThen, the chat took a fun turn. We started discussing what towns and spots we would hit up for a day trip between the bridge and the Keweenaw Peninsula. There were six of us and each person got to pick a place. The only rule was that they couldn’t pick a place in the same town as someone else’s place. Here is what we came up with for an awesome 1-day road trip, mixing in some expected and unexpected stops along the way. We decided to start in Eagle Harbor on the Keweenaw Peninsula because the first stop was the perfect place to stock up.

Stocking up for the Drive

First stop? The Jampot! This adorable bakery and jam store is run by monks from the Society of St. John. It is tucked away near Eagle Harbor and offers some seriously delicious homemade jams, jellies, and baked treats. Trust me, you will want to grab some goodies for the road.

Fun and Quirky

Next up, Ishpeming! Even though the town boasts the U.S. National Ski Hall of Fame, we got distracted by a massive chainsaw in front of a building. Yep, we chose the Da Yoopers Tourist Trap as the place to stop. It is this quirky spot along the highway filled with local culture and humor. From giant chainsaw sculptures to a museum of oddities and Yooper souvenirs, it is a blast! Do not forget to grab some souvenirs for the folks back home.

Challenge Your Mind

We then decided that Marquette was next to check out the Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum. Even if you are flying solo, it is worth a visit. This museum is like an interactive playground that takes you on a journey through history, science, and the arts. It is all about sparking creativity and curiosity, no matter your age.

Enjoy a Cold One

On the road again and landing in Munising. Instead of the Pictured Rock National Lakeshore, we are sending you to the East Channel Brewing Company. This microbrewery crafts some amazing beers inspired by the U.P.’s natural beauty. Perfect spot to kick back and toast to our day’s adventures (responsibly, of course). Oh, and if the Cooking Carberry’s are there, definitely try their wood-fired pizza. You can also bring in some takeout from nearby restaurants.

Find a Ghost Town

No road trip is complete without a little history, right? So, swing by Fayette Historic State Park, a ghost town that is like stepping back in time. Located on Big Bay De Noc, this well-preserved site was once a bustling iron smelting community in the 19th century. It is fascinating to wander through the restored buildings and imagine life back in the day.

Chicken PastieEnd with a U.P. Staple

And of course, you cannot visit the U.P. without trying pasties, those tasty traditional meat pies. We were told we had to try Lehto’s Pasties and you must take some home for later. They will not disappoint!

Heading Home

Whether you are a Yooper, a Troll, or a Fudgie, this day trip has something for everyone. If you are crossing the bridge to go home make sure to stop at Michilimackinac State Park. Sit by the shore, soak in the view of the Straits of Mackinac, the Upper Peninsula and the Mackinac Bridge, and unwind as the sun sets. 

If you are a Yooper, just turn around and head back home to relax on your deck, porch, or by a bonfire. After all, you live in one of the most beautiful places on earth, and this little day trip is a great reminder of that.

A Journey of Unexpected Wonders

So, there you have it! From quirky tourist traps and historical gems to mouthwatering culinary delights, a road trip through Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a journey of unexpected wonders. Every turn offers a new story, every stop a unique experience, and the spirit of the U.P. shines through everywhere you go.

Got a favorite spot in the U.P.? Or maybe your own awesome day trip idea? We would love to hear about it! Drop us a line at adventuresinnorthernmichigan@gmail.com.