There’s no way we could list all the things we love about the region, so here are eight of our favorite aspects from “Up North.”
MICHIGAN—The debate over where Michigan’s “Up North” begins is endless, but there’s one thing we can all agree on: When you’re “Up North,” there’s never an end to the thing to do and the places to see.
That’s part of what makes northern Michigan so great. For people living in other parts of the state, it’s a vacation. For people who get to experience the “Up North” every day, it’s something you might take for granted.
And while the list of things to love about northern Michigan really is endless, we broke down a few things you could—and should—try if you get the chance.
Camping Up North with the Family
Michigan’s “Up North” has all kinds of camping spots that give you a chance to relax and take in the state’s beauty up close and personal.
Perhaps the best part of camping in northern Michigan is the versatility of the area. ‘Ganders can take their RVs north for a popular campsite and enjoy bonding with other camping enthusiasts over a fire and roasted marshmallows.
At the same time, Michiganders can go for a more secluded option, camping out of a tent on the shores of one of Michigan’s beautiful inland lakes.
Michigan has an abundance of state parks and other sites with accessible features, as well. You can read up more on Michigan’s camping spots on the state Department of Natural Resources website here.
CHECK THIS OUT: From Cabins to Yurts: Michigan’s 21 Most Interesting Campsites
Explore Michigan’s Trails
If you like hiking or biking, northern Michigan has trails galore for you to check out. Many of Michigan’s state parks present good hiking paths to follow not too far away from the campsite. For bikers, northern Michigan has several designated bike paths you can check out here.
A beautiful thing about Michigan’s trails is that they aren’t confined to summer use. During the winter months, the state has designated snowmobile paths you can use for recreational use, meaning Michigan offers awesome trails all year round.
Fishing For Fun on the Great Lakes
How does the saying go? “A bad day fishing is better than a good day at work?” In Michigan, that is almost always the case.
Michigan’s up north has plenty of options for fishing. ‘Ganders can cast from the shores of one of the Great Lakes, pulling from the largest freshwater sources in the world some of the best fish for eating, salmon, trout, or walleye. If you want larger fish, jump on a boat and set out for deeper waters.
If you’re looking to stay a little more inland, Michigan offers excellent fishing options on its inland lakes, many of which are attached to state campgrounds so you can fish during the day and camp at night.
And don’t forget about Michigan’s streams and rivers—accessible from the shore or from aboard a boat or kayak, the state’s waterways offer chances to catch all sorts of fish with all kinds of scenic views.
Forage for Mushrooms
Morel hunting is popular across Michigan, and while some of the best morel-hunting spots are found in damp parts of southern Michigan, the northern part of the state offers great locations, too.
According to the Michigan DNR, burn sites in forested areas are the best spots to find morel mushrooms. This becomes particularly the case if they were large areas where jack, white, or red pine previously grew.
If you’re looking for a good spot to hunt for morels, check out this map found on the Michigan DNR website.
Happy Hunting in Northern Michigan
In Michigan, there is an extra season. There’s spring, summer, fall, winter, and mixed in there somewhere is hunting season.
Perhaps Michigan’s most popular hunting season is deer season, which begins in mid-September with doe season and firearms. Archery season ends Jan. 1.
Hunting season in Michigan usually offers more than just a chance for solitude in the up north, when it’s just you and nature, staring each other in the face from the comfort of a deer blind. For many, it’s a family affair, with families traveling north to cabins or campsites for “deer camp” adventures filled with campfire meals and catching up.
Highlighting Michigan’s History
Michigan has an immense history, dating back to before the first explorers arrived at the area and traded pelts with Indigenous people. Northern Michigan is particularly rich in this sort of history, with several museums.
Northern Michigan also has a lot of appreciation for Michigan shipwreck history. A day trip to the Valley Camp museum boat, which honors Great Lakes freighters such as the Edmund Fitzgerald, and then a look at the Soo Locks could make for family fun.
You can also take a trip back in time on Mackinac Island with a visit to Fort Mackinac. On the mainland, visit the Michigan Iron Industry Museum, which pays homage to the state’s iron mining industry.
Touring Michigan’s Lighthouse Towers
Michigan lighthouse once served a very important purpose: being a beacon for Great Lakes freighters and other boats sailing on the lakes. Now, with advanced technology and other features, ships don’t rely as much on the lights in the sky, but the lighthouses still serve as a point of beauty on skylines all over the state.
Anyone who travels north in Michigan would be disappointed to miss out on some of these majestic beauties, some standing tall in the sky and still technically in use. Many allow visitors to climb to the top, offering a great view of the lake they sit on.
Some even let you stay in them, although they might put you to work.
Watching Wildlife, Walking Past Waterfalls, Checking Out Other Cool Sites
The majority of Michigan’s waterfalls are in the state’s “up north” region and serve as just another reminder of how lucky we are to live in a state with vast beauty.
Of course, the majority of these waterfalls serve as tourist attractions for families on vacation. Tahquamenon Falls is Michigan’s widest waterfall, the upper falls of which are about 200 feet wide.
But there are several other waterfalls in northern Michigan that offer their own features, such as a good hike through Michigan wilderness to get to them or a boat trip into Lake Superior for a good view.
Outside of waterfalls, northern Michigan offers cool features, such as the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes or the Mackinac Bridge.
Wildlife watching is also becoming increasingly popular in northern Michigan, whether it be checking out birds at Tawas Point or exploring designated areas trying to find Elk.
SEE FOR YOURSELF: 8 Michigan Waterfalls You Probably Haven’t Seen (But Should)