“Up North” starts at the line beginning in Tawas, extending through West Branch, dipping down to Clare, then extending out to Ludington. However, that means that there is a 100 - 120 mile reach of the Lower Peninsula that is “Up North” that the Yoopers still consider troll country (beneath the Bridge).
Actually, in Menominee, you’re really in Wisconsin and don’t know it (but when the bars close at 2:00 am, you can drive over to Marinette in Wisconsin and the Central Time Zone for another hour of drinking). You are also a lot closer to Green Bay than any comparably sized town in Michigan.
My picks for things to do (especially if you are not going to live there forever, so you ought to get the maximum “tourist” value out of being there for a while):
The Garden Peninsula
(About 90 miles Northeast of Menominee on Lake Michigan, between Escanaba and Manistique)
_ Most of the peninsula is flat grass, but down on the west shore, beyond the wide spot that is the village of Garden is the Fayette ghost town which is both historically interesting (it is now a state park) and also scenic.
South of Fayette are Indian pictographs on rocks along the lake, but that may be on private propery, now, so I don’t know that you can get to it.
East of Fayette at the end of an SUV-killing logging road is Portage Bay State Campground. It has pit toilets and a hand pump for water, but there are a couple of nature trails through marshland, the bay is small, enclosed, and shallow with a sand bottom, so the water is warm enough for swimming even in the early summer, and the campsites are located between a pair of forested dunes so that many of them are very private and protected if there is much wind.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore out of Munising
_ Against expectations, I suggest taking the cruise along the rocks on a rainy day. The rocks are weathered limestone, shaped by Lake Superior storms, but they get their name from the minerals leeching through the soil and trickling down the rock faces. They are pretty in the sunshine (so you might want to make two trips), but the sunlight washes out some of the color and I find them prettier in the rain.
Keweenaw Peninsula (pronounced (at least by trolls) KEE we naw despite the spelling)
_ Fort Wilkins out at the end of the peninsula is mildly interesting, but it is in a very pretty location. To travel the shore, you need to get onto county roads, but US 41 up the center of the peninsula goes through some marvelous forest. (This is one that should be travelled in bright sunshine.)
There is also at least one no longer active copper mine that you can visit.
West of the Keweenaw are the Porcupine [del]Moderately High Hills[/del] Mountains that have a lot of pretty country and some great views and hiking.
(Copper Harbor at the end of the peninsula is one place where you can board a ferry to Isle Royale National Park. Be aware, however, that there are NO FACILITIES on Isle Royale. The boat dumps you off, picks up the last load of returning camping hikers, and leaves you to your own devices for a week or so.)
Tahquamenon Falls are in the Northeast, just west of Whitefish Bay. They are located in a beech-maple crown forest and are well worth a visit.
From the falls, if you head East to Paradise and go north along the bay, you come to the Whitefish Point Lighthouse. The actual light has been automated, so the lighthouse has been turned into a pretty interesting museum, specializing in information on all the wrecks on that shore, including that of the Edmund Fitzgerald.
Sault Ste. Marie (sault pronounced soo) is an OK town on the U.S. side and a bigger city on the Canadian side. You can watch ships pass through the Soo Locks from Lake Superior down toward Lake Huron, visit the Valley Camp (an old lake freighter) and take a cruise through the locks, themselves.
South of the Soo on Lake Huron is Mackinac Island (pronounced mackinaw like the blankets) which has a lot of touristy stuff including an 1812 era fort, lots of fudge, many ancient hotels and modern B&Bs, and does not permit automobiles so that transportation is by bike, foot, or horsedrawn wagon.
Across the Straits of Mackinac on the other side of “the Bridge” is the town of Mackinaw City with its reconstructed Fort Michilimackinac and they are working to restore a small ship recovered from the waters of the Straits. The Mackinac Bridge has the longest suspension span from pier to pier in the world, although it is not the longest bridge nor does it have the longest span between the vertical suspension pillars. On Labor Day, they close it to traffic for a few hours while a whole slew of people walk across it, often led by the governor. (Distance: about five miles across.)