Keweenaw Peninsula, Michigan

I’m a lifelong Midwesterner and have gone to the UP of Michigan several times. I have enjoyed these visits very much, although I don’t think I would want to live there. Too isolated and rural for me, especially during the winter.

Anyway, I’m curious about the Keweenaw area ("the area that sticks up into Lake Superior) and it looks like a very interesting place for as sparsely populated as it is. Anyone have specific things to recommend?

I like museums, thrift stores, and bookstores too. I’m aware that there are colleges in the Houghton/Hancock area, which are a good place for them to be located. It also looks like lodging is relatively inexpensive in this region.

Until Athena posts I’ll give what I know
I’ve done a bicycle tour twice starting in Baraga. Baraga - McLain St Park - Copper Harbor (Ft Wilkins) - Lake Linden - Baraga.

Several Mine tours in the area (never been one)
Copper Harbor is small town – Mt biking and kayaking are tow popular activities.
Ft Wilkins has some old and restored buildings from when it was a fort. Showing officer quarters, mess hall, etc. Drive up nearby Brockway Mt Drive (highest paved road in the Midwest) (though paved is a generous description)

Calumet has some impressive buildings.

Jacobs Falls and the nearby Jam Pot (run by monks) are worth visiting, as is Eagle River falls.

I’ll think of some more

Be sure to eat a pasty. Try to find a shop that still puts rutabaga in it. Lots of Yoopers are too cool now to still like rutabaga.

A couple of good places to eat along the way up there is the L’anse Cafe in L’anse, for cinnamon rolls, and the very Finnish Suomi Cafe in Houghton.

Powder tree skiing in the Extreme Backcountry area of Mt. Bohemia is exceptionally good and very affordable (season pass sale on the first Saturday of December: $99 one year, $159 two years). The tip of the peninsula gets hammered with Superior storms from three sides, so the snow accumulation is phenomenal. Watch the weather, and start driving for Bohemia on the first day of a storm cycle.

Weave down through the trees until you come to a road, gasping to catch your breath. A short bus full of really happy people with silly smiles on their faces will come along and pick you up, and take you and your new-found best friends to the chair lift that will carry you up for another descent through perfection. Stay in a yurt, a cabin, a bunk, the back of your Jeep, or just dig into a snowbank. Bring food, 'cause there’s not much out there at the end of that pointy-sticky-outie-thingie thing they call the Kee-wee-nah – just a lot of trees, a lot of snow, and a ski area that is all about tree skiing. This is not at all what you would call a ski resort. It’s motto is “No beginners allowed.” Mt. Bohemia is a place where serious skiers go for serious fun.

A couple of youtube ski-cation vids by folks who went to Bohemia:
(Telemark) Return to Bohemia 2005 - YouTube
(Alpine) Back in Bohemia 2008 - YouTube

Bohemia website:

Location on Google Maps:

Breakfast at either Houghton’s Suomi or Kaleva will make you happy for the rest of the day. At least they make me happy for the rest of my day.

Something most folks never get to see is the middle of the inland sea. Hi thee to Copper Harbor at the northwest end of the pointy-stickie-outie-thing, and take a passenger ferry to Michigan’s Isle Royale, which is in sight of Thunder Bay, Ontario, at the northwest end of Lake Superior. (I’ve never been on the ferry, but I have worked on all the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence on a freighter, and can highly recommend getting out from sight of land on Superior for a few hours out and a few hours back – it calms the soul.)

The Isle Royale Line:

We go to the Keweenaw almost every year. It’s a gorgeous place, I highly recommend it.

Museums: There are a lot of 'em up there, albeit most are very small. Many are built in/around lighthouses; I’ve been to most, and they’re worth it. It’s pretty fun to climb to the top of a lighthouse.

Along the same idea as museums: Mine tours. There are many in and around the Keweenaw. The Quincy Mine outside of Hancock is really, really cool; it’s built on a bluff over the town, and you get to tour all the buildings on the top of the mine, then they put you in a little train thing and bring you into the mine itself. It’s spooky & cool & way more interesting than I initially thought when I went.

Delaware Mine is not as impressive as Quincy, but it’s also pretty neat. You get to walk into the mine shaft itself and once again, pretty cool.

Fort Wilkins, outside of Copper Harbor, is an old fort that they’ve reconstructed into a museum kind of thing. You can walk through all the various buildings, and on weekends, they have actors playing actual folks who lived there back in the day. Pretty cool.

Thrift Shops: Other than Houghton/Hancock, I’m not sure most towns on the Keweenaw are big enough for thrift shops. There’s a St. Vincent’s in Houghton/Hancock, that’s probably worth going to. I’d be surprised if there’s not others.

Bookstores: Once again, Houghton has a few, it being a college down. There’s a really cool one in Copper Harbor called Grandpa’s Barn. Not aware of any others.

What else? It’s a good place for a driving tour for sure. As you mentioned, lodging tends to be cheap. There’s a lot of hiking/sightseeing around the area; Copper Harbor is especially beautiful. If you have a four-wheel drive, driving out to the tip of the point is pretty cool (but it can be tricky; the roads can get very, very four-wheely. Check with locals before you go.)

Fitzgerald’sin Eagle River is worth a stop; it’s an amazing small hotel / restaurant built right on the beach. I mean, RIGHT on the beach. You can sit on the deck and the water is 10 feet away. Really, really seriously good food, and a cute hotel. Not much else in Eagle River except a pretty cool waterfall right on the road, and a very, very small museum.

The Jam Pot between Eagle River and Eagle Harbor. Monks make jam and other goodies. Pretty cool place to stop, look around, buy some baked goods and jam.

Calumet is a cool town to wander around. It’s a bit of a ghost town, but you can see that it was once pretty rockin’. If you can stick your head in the Opera House it’s worth it. There used to be some pretty nice art shops there, but I believe they’ve closed.

This is a good website for activites.

Er, wha? All the pasty shops I’ve ever seen offer “with (rutabaga)” and “without”. Never seen one that doesn’t offer beggies as an option.

Completely agree with this, but did want to point out that it’s not as easy as just “hopping on a ferry.” They do offer out-and-back in one day packages, but it’s a 3-4 hour ride each way, so you’re not getting a whole lot of time on the island and it’s a loooooong day. If you want to stay for a few days, you must plan ahead; it books up fast, and I’d doubt you could get out there this summer given that it’s already June.

As people have mentioned Brockway Mountain Drive, Eagle Harbor, and Fort Wilkins are good options for a driving tour though the area.

My interests have always been the more exploring remote areas exploring railroad remnants and artifacts from the copper industry. Also hiking and fishing.

Lots of cool stuff here. -

FYI here are photos from my most recent Keweenaw tour:


We took the ferry from Copper Harbor to Isle Royale last summer, and it was AMAZING. On the way out we had high “seas,” very dramatic, but not good for the seasick. (I was fine :)) The island itself is gorgeous, and a good balance of developed (lodge, restaurant, trails, campsites) and wilderness. We saw three moose in 2.5 days. I’d agree that a day-trip is difficult, the ferry ride itself isn’t that interesting once you’re out of sight of land.

We also stopped at the Porcupine Mts State Park, which was lovely. We accidentally climbed the second-highest mountain in Michigan! The view over the Lake of the Clouds is a glorious vista.

My father and I visited the Keeweenau area in an open cockpit biplane back around 1989. Weather was great, the sights were amazing from the air. Sadly, not many landing fields in the county, so we set down at Houghton/Hancock, and rented a car, and visited Copper Harbor and Eagle Harbor and Ft. Wilkins and Estivant Pines and Bete Grise preserve. Along with the obligatory visit to Gay, and its eponymous Gay Bar. :rolleyes:

Thanks, everyone! I’m not into skiing or kayaking, but everything else sounds like a lot of fun.

I haven’t done a solo road trip in a few years, and am in the mood to do one again and this looks like an interesting place.

The Jam Pot! Excellent. There are tons and tons of waterfalls in the area, as well, that range from “visible from the road” to “3-4 hours backcountry hiking,” nearly all of which are well worth the trip. Visiting Lake Of the Clouds is breathtaking.

It is, but it is quite a bit west of the Keweenaw. Going to the Porkies is certainly an option on the way to/from there though.


The Jam Pot is in my tourist-agency brochure. Since several people here have recommended it, I will definitely check it out if I go there.

What is “The Porkies”?

Porcupine Mountains, usually referring to the park: Michigan Recreation Search Site Details Page


Good name for someone in this thread! :cool: Do you live in that area?

If people don’t know what you’re talking about when you ask about the ferry, use the more familiar term … Barf Bucket.

Someday some year, I’d like to go up there and spectate at the Lake Superior Performance Rally.

I get the impression that it’s usually a bumpy ride.