Located in the northern reaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and on the shores of Lake Superior, one of Michigan’s great lakes, you’ll find Marquette, Michigan.
Yes, it will feel like you’ve driven far enough to be in Canada, but I promise you’re still in the United States.
Known for Northern Michigan University, mountain biking, surfing, breweries, iron ore heritage trail, maritime history, northern lights and so much more. The Marquette area is so much more than you would ever expect.
There is a rich history and the downtown area is quite lovely, but, in my opinion it’s the outdoor recreation that really draws people to Marquette Michigan.
Important editor’s note: In my opinion, the best time to visit Marquette is in the summer or fall. I’m not a big fan of winter and would prefer to be far away from cold and snow.
That being said lots of people love it here in the winter months. Plan accordingly though if you visit in the winter because it will be COLD.
However, after my recent visit to Marquette, I realized why you only have to be a little crazy to fall in love with the UP.
During my trip, I fell in love with Michigan’s U.P. all over again. It may not be THE place for me to live year round, but it is absolutely wonderful to visit in Summer and Fall.
If you are a fan of snow sports then you will LOVE it during that season as well.
Crazy Fun Reasons to Visit Marquette, MI
Thought you needed to live near an ocean to learn to surf? Think again. Surfers flock to Michigan’s Lake Superior to catch a wave or two.
Note that wet suits are usually required due to Superiors cold, cold waters. Hence, being number one on my crazy list of reasons to visit the U.P. I’ve never been a fan of cold ((shudder)).
Hundreds of miles of trails for off-road biking and fat tire bike await you in Marquette County.
The International Mountain Biking Association recently awarded Marquette as a Bronze Level Ride Center which makes it only one of twenty ride centers in the U.S. and only the second location in Michigan (Copper Harbor in the Upper Peninsula is the other designated ride center).
There are trails for all skill levels here from beginner to extreme.
Black Rocks are famous for its cliff-jumping opportunities. Not being a fan of heights or cold water cliff jumping is not for me.
However, if you’d like a bit of an adrenaline rush cliff jumping from Black Rocks might just be the thing.
NOTE: Be advised that cliff jumping can be dangerous. Engage in this activity at your own risk.
There are lots of great hiking trails to hike around the Marquette area. Two of my favorites include Presque Isle Park and Marquette Mountain.
Presque Isle offers lovely walks along Lake Superior’s shore while Mount Marquette provides scenic sweeping views of downtown Marquette and Lake Superior.
70 waterfalls can be found in Marquette County. Some are easy hikes and others are a little more extreme to hike to.
The majority of waterfalls are in remote locations and will require a 4×4 or be prepared for a bit of a hike.
A great place that is easily accessible is Dead River Falls.
The gorgeous waters of Lake Superior are hard to resist. As far as I’m concerned Superior really never warms up enough to swim in, but many others don’t agree with me.
A lot of locals and visitors alike swim in the lake without any reservations. The most you’ll find me doing is wading a bit and not for long.
Whitefish is a signature menu item in Marquette. You’ll find it fried, baked, and/or steamed at many restaurants.
Marquette has a few breweries that are producing some excellent brews. In September Marquette hosts a beer festival that showcases over 65 Michigan breweries. If you attend be sure to make and wear your beer necklace!
These handheld meat pies were brought to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula by the copper and iron miners from Cornwall, England.
Pasties typically have root vegetables and beef and are baked to a crispy brown. You’ll be able to find pastys at a lot of restaurants in the area.
September and October find the U.P. in an explosion of colors. Reds, Oranges, Yellows and more color the landscape.
Fall is my favorite time of year to visit for all the amazing colors.
Sugarloaf Mountain Overlook
Seriously, well worth the walk and one of the best places for sweeping views of the Lake Superior shoreline in one direction and endless views of forest green in the other is the Sugarloaf Mountain viewing area. Simply stunning.
Lakenenland Sculpture Park
Now, you’ll see a lot of weird and wonderful things on your visit to Marquette. One place, just outside of town, that you absolutely shouldn’t miss is the Lakenenland Sculpture Park.
Here’s a list of what else to see beyond Marquette; 30 more reasons to visit Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Marquette Maritime Museum
You can’t really visit Marquette without visiting the Maritime Museum. The bonus is that the museum is also home to the Harbor Lighthouse, which is a gorgeous building and a must for those that love the history and lore of lighthouses.
For my friends that enjoy a good haunted location you’ll definitely want to visit the lighthouse. Rumor has it that it is haunted by the spirit of a young girl.
Although no records can be found of any tragic endings at the lighthouse there are lots of stories floating around of people seeing a child apparition. The lighthouse itself is worth the stop, a ghost encounter would be a great bonus.
If you have time be sure to include a visit to the Devos Art Museum and if you have small children with you a stop at the Upper Peninsula Children’s museum is a must.
These are also great options if you happen to visit on a rainy day.
Find more family fun at Moosewood Nature Center
Unique Things Roadside Attraction
The World’s Largest Wooden Dome, Superior Dome, spans span of 535 feet and is a great one to check off the roadside attractions checklist.
Where to Eat/Drink
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