Ultimate Upper Peninsula Road Trip: 6 Jaw Dropping (Mostly Free) Spots in Michigan's UP

Upper Peninsula Road Trip | By Sherry Trautman | Traveling Michigan

Join us on our Upper Peninsula Michigan Road Trip vacation as we tour pristine vistas, jaw dropping waterfalls, great views of Lake Superior and exciting attractions in Michigan's pristine UP.  There are so many things to do in UP Michigan!

We plan to take this exact trip again this year, we had so much fun! 

Upper Peninsula Michigan Map of Our Road Trip!

Zoom in and out of the map to see our stops!

Click the links below for full city guides, tips, maps, photos and things to do!

  • Mackinaw City (See our City Guide)
  • Mackinac Island (See our Island Guides!)
  • Tahquamenon Falls or a train ride/river boat excursion (Tons of photos, info)
  • Whitefish Point (This place is spectacular! See our photos and things to do!)
  • Manistique (be sure to visit this page, there's at least 2 full days of activities and additional map of things to see in this area)
  • Kitch-iti-kipi (Highlight of the summer! This place is jaw-dropping!)

FYI: You will need a state park pass for two of these locations.  Since we travel all over Michigan, we automatically have this sticker on our license plate.  Below is more information.  You can purchase the pass at the parks where needed.

In State: You can get a Recreation Passport through the Secretary of State when renewing license tabs.  If you don't have a Passport, vehicles will pay $17, motorcycles will pay $11.

Out of State: There is a $9 single day pass if you are an out of state tourist. You can get into any Michigan State Park including both sites (Upper and Lower Falls) at the Tahquamenon Falls State Park.

Let's Kick Off This Trip at Mackinaw City!

Of course, Mackinaw City is the gateway to Mackinac Island, so if you have extra time, be sure to visit this magnificent island that is just a ferry ride away!

Click the links above for lots of information, tips, hotels, photos, guides, maps and everything you need to visit the two cities!

Grab our guide, hints and tips when visiting Mackinac Island!!

Next Up: Tahquamenon Falls!

41382 W. M 123, Paradise MI, 49768

At 200 feet wide and 50 feet tall, the Upper Falls is the largest waterfall in Michigan. Did you know the water flows at more than 50,000 gallons per second?!

Read more on our dedicated Tahquamenon Falls page!  Lots of tips, maps, photos and information!!!

Tahquamenon Falls Riverboat Tours

Address: 7195 Co Rd 381, Soo Junction, MI 49000

As an option, if you wish to embark on a day trip that involves a train ride and riverboat cruise, Tahquamenon Falls Riverboat Tours is perfect for you! 

One of the options is a 6 1/2 hour wilderness tour that begins with a 35 minute narrow gauge train ride, followed by a 2 hour, narrated riverboat cruise. ​After reaching the rapids above the falls, the riverboat docks for one hour and fifteen minutes so you can embark on a 5/8 mile nature hike to see the upper Tahquamenon Falls.

After the stopover, the riverboat and train retrace their route back to Soo Junction. At the time of this writing, this tour ran from July 1 - October 3, departing from Soo Junction, MI at 10:30 AM and returning at 5:00 PM.  Check their website to book your tickets and get up to date information. 

Whitefish Point

We absolutely love visiting Whitefish Point!  Plan to spend at least 2.5 hours there to explore the places listed below.  There are nice restrooms and snacks in the gift shop.  We purchased popcorn and fudge while we were there.  

While visiting Whitefish Point, you will see:

  • See the Whitefish Point Light Tower, in continuous operation for 155 years, the oldest operating lighthouse on Lake Superior (and maybe climb it depending on the weather and availability)
  • Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum with shipwreck memorabilia including the Edmond Fitzgerald's bell. 
  • 1861 Lightkeeper’s Quarters & Exhibits
  • Guided tour of 1923 Surfboat House & Exhibits
  • Be sure to check out the fantastic views of Lake Superior and explore the hiking trails!

CLICK HERE for a ton of Whitefish Point photos, tips, information and things to know before you go!

Visit Scenic Manistique

We hope you love visiting Manistique!  

While visiting Manistique, you can:

  • Explore the boardwalk with magnificent views of Lake Michigan
  • Walk out to the Manistique Breakwater Light
  • Discover a wildlife area
  • Explore a wildlife refuge
  • Go on fantastic hikes with wildlife galore!

CLICK HERE for a ton of Manistique photos, tips, information and things to know before you go!

Kitch-iti-kipi is Breathtaking!

Friends, if you are only going to do one thing this summer, GO TO KITCH-ITI-KIPI!  We were blown away by its beauty! 

What is it?  Kitch-iti-kipi is Michigan's largest natural spring that is crystal clear and full of fish!

The spring delivers 16,000 gallons per minute! HOLY MOLY!

Hop aboard the raft that will take you across the bubbling emerald green springs.  I love the middle viewing area as the water is so crystal clear! It offers a great view of the fish and the magical bubbling springs. The raft has a roof so you are able to see the fish very clearly without the glare from the sun. 

CLICK HERE for a ton of Kitch-iti-kipi photos, tips, information and things to know before you go!

Find Yooperlites!!

What are Yooperlites?  These fantastic glow in the dark stones can be found all along the shoreline of Lake Superior. Read more about these fantastic Yooperlite rocks and where to find them!

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Sherry Trautman Bio Picture

About the Lead Author | Sherry Trautman

Thanks for stopping by!

Our Words of Wisdom: “Never follow anyone else’s path. Unless you’re in the woods and you’re lost and you see a path, then by all means follow that path.”

"Sherry & Chris"

We're Sherry and Chris the founders of one of Michigan's most comprehensive and Top Travel Blogs!

    Sherry Trautman is a seasoned business owner and a multifaceted content creator, deeply entrenched in the world of travel in Michigan. With her extensive background in writing, editing, photography, marketing, website design, web mastering, social media, and publishing, she is the driving force behind the acclaimed Michigan Travel site "Travel-mi.com." A lifelong Michigander, Sherry's journey began in Mt. Pleasant, Michigan led her to St. Joseph during her formative years, and further to Kalamazoo for her higher education. She holds a Bachelor of Science in Industrial Design and Fine Art from Western Michigan University. Her career initially blossomed in Battle Creek, where she contributed significantly to aviation, marketing, and the art industry.

    In 2018, Sherry, alongside her husband Chris, embarked on a passionate endeavor with the inception of Travel-MI.com. This venture was not just a business but a full-time commitment to exploring and celebrating the diverse landscapes and communities of Michigan. Together, they tirelessly traverse the state, curating unique experiences, capturing stunning visuals, and weaving engaging narratives that showcase Michigan's rich cultural tapestry and natural beauty. From her early experiences in different Michigander locales to her extensive professional background, Sherry's life and work epitomize a deep-rooted expertise in Michigan travel, making her an authoritative voice in this niche.

Sherry & Chris are at the Inn at Bay Harbor and looking out at the lake.
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