Camping in the Upper Peninsula

In the last year, we had a baby, bought a house, and immediately did a couple of pricey renovation projects. Needless to say, our travel budget for this year is pretty small. No plane tickets for us! But since we live in the greatest state in the union Michigan, scenic beauty isn’t too far away. So, we loaded up our Focus station wagon and headed north. We love living in Michigan and feel so fortunate to call it home. Here’s a few photos if you’re interested!

First stop: Fort Wilkins State Park, Copper Harbor, MI

This is as far north as you can get in the Upper Peninsula without taking a boat to Isle Royale. It’s a tiny town that mostly exists for tourism–cute shops, art galleries, a brewery, and a handful of restaurants are about all you’ll find in town. But outside of town? World class mountain biking, amazing Lake Superior views, and plenty of hiking trails to keep yourself busy for days.

Copper Harbor

We spent 3 nights at Fort Wilkins State Park. Immediately around the campground, you’ll find easy hiking trails through the woods. If you drive or bike in any direction, you’ll find even more. We went on a short hike to Horseshoe Harbor and the secluded views you’re rewarded with when you arrive at the beach are amazing.

Copper HarborThe next day, we wandered Fort Wilkins. The US Army built the fort to keep peace and order during the copper boom in the 1800s. Many of the buildings have displays about what life was like at the fort, as well as information about the copper boom and life on the Keweenaw Peninsula. Well worth a visit!

Fort Wilkins Fort Wilkins

Second stop: McLain State Park, Hancock, MI

Bob went to college in Houghton, MI, only a few miles from this state park. We’ve made tons of trips back since he graduated. We love Houghton! Favorite places in Houghton: Down Wind Sports (check out the consignment items in the basement), Keweenaw Brewing Company, and Roy’s Pasties and Bakery (new to us this time around, but we’ll be back!).


Third stop: Indian Lake State Park (West Campground), Manistique, MI

This stop was a quick one before we headed home early thanks to impending rainstorms. While we were there, we saw Fayette State Park–an abandoned iron smelting town. The town was built on a harbor for ease of shipping, and overlooks a magnificent outcropping of cliffs. You can walk through the buildings, and the signs and displays share what life was like when the town was populated in the 1800s.

Fayette State Park Fayette State Park

After Fayette, we drove to Kichi-iti-Kipi–a spring that’s 40 feet deep, with water so cold and clear it’s eerie. You can hop on a raft connected to a rope and ride out to the middle of the spring. Check out the color of the water and the gigantic fish swimming below us!


Big Spring

More than anything we saw, the week we spent together as a family was exactly what we needed. We ignored our phones, went on walks, ate a lot of ice cream, and took as many naps as we could. The end result? I’m a much happier human. Adventure connects us and grounds us and it’s always, always, always worth the effort.

Have you been on any adventures recently?

In case you’re interested…tips for a great camping trip and what food to pack when you backpack.

6 thoughts on “Camping in the Upper Peninsula

  1. You captured the true and untouched beauty of a rare and cherished place, the Up.

    The photos of Julia are breathtaking!

    I love what your eyes see, and your heart feels about your life and family.

    Seeing your parenting, gives me so much hope.

    God bless and the thimble berry jam is as cherished as gold! Thank-you!

    • Diane, you’re the sweetest! And we agree…the UP is the best! We’re already planning a winter trip for after Christmas 🙂

  2. Pingback: A Money Saving Tip for Your Next Vacation | Balance and Blueberries

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