Your U.P. Bucket List:
10 Things to Do Above the Mackinac Bridge

Paddling along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. PC: Pictured Rocks Kayaking.Paddling along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. PC: Pictured Rocks Kayaking.
When planning an exciting summer vacation, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan should be on your radar. Although serene beaches and gorgeous waterfalls are scattered throughout the area, attractions like Mackinac Island, the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and Tahquamenon Falls are some of the biggest enticements.

Why You Need to Kayak Pictured Rocks

Within driving distance from the Detroit, Cleveland, and Indianapolis areas, the U.P. is a perfect road trip for anyone traveling from the Lower Peninsula and beyond. With many things to do nearby, your adventure begins as soon as you’ve crossed the Mackinac Bridge.

1. Kayak Close Enough to Touch the Pictured Rocks

Get so close to touch the Pictured Rocks. PC: Pictured Rocks Kayaking.Get so close to touch the Pictured Rocks. PC: Pictured Rocks Kayaking.
Enormous sandstone cliffs, majestic beaches with pink sand, sand dunes, and waterfalls make up the 42-mile long Pictured Rocks park. Kayaking the shoreline is one of the best ways to experience the rocks up close and personal.

Directions

Operating out of Munising, Pictured Rocks Kayaking brings paddlers so close to the rocks they can touch them while gliding through colorful sea caves. Tours begin with a relaxing cruise on a boat before the kayaks are launched into the water near the best parts of the Pictured Rocks. Once finished with the paddle portion of the trip, you’ll board the boat for a ride back to shore.

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2. Go Back in Time on Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island
Take a short ferry ride to Mackinac Island, a beautiful atoll reminiscent of a time when riding in a horse and buggy was the common way to get around. Just imagine – no cars. No chain hotels. Just world-famous fudge, unique shopping and dining options, one-of-a-kind golf courses, and more. Whether you take a leisurely bike ride along the lakeshore or a horse-drawn carriage tour, you’ll find yourself dreaming of another time in history.

Directions

3. Defy Gravity at the Mystery Spot

The Mystery Spot. PC: St. Ignace Visitors Bureau.The Mystery Spot. PC: St. Ignace Visitors Bureau.
Visit the Mystery Spot, where gravity goes wonky and optical illusions are manifested. Now equipped with two ziplines, a human maze, and an 18-hole putt-putt course, the Mystery Sport makes this a fun place for the entire family.

Directions

Go to the UP Bucket List Map

4. Climb Castle Rock

Castle Rock. PC: St. Ignace Visitors Bureau.Castle Rock. PC: St. Ignace Visitors Bureau.
Known as “Pontiac’s Lookout” by the Ojibwa Tribe, Castle Rock is nearly 200-feet above the water. See panoramic views of Mackinac Island, Lake Huron, and 20-miles of nature. Be sure to get a picture with Paul Bunyan and Babe, his blue Ox, before you take off.

Directions

Learn About Pictured Rocks Boat Tours

5. Capture the Mighty Mac

Mackinac Bridge View Park. PC: St. Ignace Visitors Bureau.Mackinac Bridge View Park. PC: St. Ignace Visitors Bureau.
Overlooking the Straits of Mackinac, where Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron, Bridge View Park is a great place to enjoy a sunset or take a photo of the Mackinac Bridge. Check out the top 10 Instagram-worthy spots in the area.

Directions

6. Burgers, Shakes, and Rock N’ Roll

Clyde’s Drive-in, St. Ignace. PC: St. Ignace Visitors Bureau.Clyde’s Drive-in, St. Ignace. PC: St. Ignace Visitors Bureau.
St. Ignace

Founded in 1949, Clyde’s Drive-in is an old-fashioned restaurant where you can enjoy delicious fast food from the comfort of your own vehicle. Roll down the windows and let the staff serve your food on a tray with a side of classic American flare.

Directions

7. Check Out This U.P. Zoo

A lion at GarLyn Zoo. PC: GarLyn Zoo and Wildlife ParkA lion at GarLyn Zoo. PC: GarLyn Zoo and Wildlife Park
Located only 40 minutes west of the Mackinac Bridge, GarLyn Zoo and Wildlife Park is family run and nestled along the northern shores of Lake Michigan. The park is home to hundreds of native and exotic animals from around the world.

Directions

Top 10 Western UP Roadtrip

8. See Michigan’s Largest Waterfall

The Upper Falls, Tahquamenon Falls. PC: Instagrammer extra_guacemolly_pleaseThe Upper Falls, Tahquamenon Falls. PC: Instagrammer extra_guacemolly_please
Paradise

With a drop of nearly 50 feet and more than 200 feet across, the Upper Tahquamenon Falls is the largest waterfall east of the Mississippi. Four miles downstream is the Lower Falls, a series of five smaller falls cascading around an island. Be sure to check out the gift shops, plus the restaurant and brewery!

Directions

9. Pose with the Cubs

Oswald’s Bear Ranch. PC: St. Ignace Visitors Bureau.Oswald’s Bear Ranch. PC: St. Ignace Visitors Bureau.
Newberry

Oswald’s Bear Ranch is home to more than two dozen black bears and cubs that have been rescued around the country. Since opening to the public in 1997, the bear ranch has grown greatly over the years and is a perfect attraction for families.

Directions

10. See the Edmund Fitzgerald’s Bell

The bell of the Edmund’s Fitzgerald on display. PC: Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum – Instagram @greatlakesshipwreckThe bell of the Edmund’s Fitzgerald on display. PC: Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum – Instagram @greatlakesshipwreck
Whitefish Point

Home of the bell of the famous Edmund Fitzgerald, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum has plenty of artifacts and exhibits that tell stories of sailors and ships that braved the waters of Lake Superior and those that were lost to its treacherous waves. You’ll also see the oldest lighthouse on the shores of Superior.

Directions

Fun Fact: Michigan has the most lighthouses of any U.S. state and is home to hundreds of waterfalls, with all but one located in the U.P.

So, what are you waiting for? Start planning your trip to the U.P. today.

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