We absolutely love Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. The place is like another world entirely, and we simply cannot get enough of it. Visiting this gorgeous part of the country is absolutely wonderful on your own, with your significant other, or with a good friend. However, there is nothing quite like visiting Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with kids.
You see, kids are amazing at finding magic even in the most unexpected places. Therefore, in a wonderland like the UP—where magic is apparent even to the most serious of adults—kids are in their element. Best of all, seeing this place through the eyes of children is simply amazing.
On the fence about visiting Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with kids? Check out this article to learn the reasons you should, the places you should see, and some tips for making it an especially amazing getaway.
Reasons to Visit Michigan’s Upper Peninsula With Kids
First, let’s take a look at some of the top reasons to visit this part of the country with kids. There are actually a number of great reasons the UP is an excellent family vacation destination. That said, the points below are some of our favorite reasons to explore the Upper Peninsula as a family.
Experience Educational Fun
The state of Michigan is full of educational fun, and the Upper Peninsula is no exception. From museums to amazing natural areas, there’s always something new to discover and learn about in this beautiful place.
This is great because it means you can connect as a family while also furthering your child’s education. Not only that, you’ll all have fun doing it! In fact, your kids may not even realize they’re learning.
Immerse Yourself in Another Culture
The UP is one of the few places in the US where you can fully immerse yourself in a completely different culture without ever stepping foot outside of your own country. This is an amazing thing for kids to experience. It encourages them to open their minds to other ways of life, gives them the opportunity to try new things, and will likely inspire more learning.
Get Outdoors Together
As mentioned before, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is a beautiful place. There is gorgeous scenery everywhere you turn, and there are tons of amazing natural areas that are perfect for hiking and other outdoor recreation.
Spending time in the UP encourages families to get outside, soak up some sunshine, and get in some physical exercise. Not only does doing these things together bring families closer, it also puts everyone in a good mood, ensuring happy memories for all involved.
What to See in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with Kids
Wondering what you should do and see while visiting Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with kids? Not to worry! There are plenty of fantastic ways to fill your time. State parks, NPS sites, and museums are some of our favorite options.
Check out the list below to learn about some of the best things to do with kids in the Upper Peninsula. Choose from this list and you simply can’t go wrong.
Mackinac Island State Park
Mackinac Island is easily our favorite place in the UP, and Mackinac Island State Park might just be our favorite place on the island. This is Michigan’s first state park and covers 80% of Mackinac Island, meaning much of the island is completely natural.
The state park features a wonderful mix of nature and history. During your visit, you might see historic sites such as Fort Mackinac, interesting trails such as the Native American Cultural History Trail, or natural wonders such as the eyecatching rock formations and beautiful woods.
Palms Book State Park
Home of Kitch-iti-kipi (aka Big Spring), Palms Book State Park is a must-visit when in the Upper Peninsula. This enormous spring is a full 240 feet across, and over 10,000 gallons gush from the spring every minute! Because the water from the spring is always 45°F, the spring can be enjoyed any time of year, even during the harsh winters of the area.
To fully enjoy the spring, visitors take self-operated observation rafts to various vantage points.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Another absolutely gorgeous state park, Tahquamenon Falls State Park features the Tahquamenon River—and, of course, its many waterfalls.
The Upper Falls (often referred to as the “mini Niagara”) ranks among the largest falls east of the Mississippi and has a drop of nearly 50 feet, with water flow of more than 50,000 gallons per second. Meanwhile, the Lower Falls consists of 5 smaller falls which cascade beautifully around an island.
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
Located at the Whitefish Point Light Station, Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum is an incredibly interesting maritime museum. It’s dedicated to the maritime history of the Great Lakes, with a special focus on shipwrecks in the area. As such, shipwreck artifacts, shipwreck artwork, and shipwreck models can all be found in this unique museum.
Other museum features include a 15-minute video and tours of the restored 1861 Lightkeeper’s Quarters and 1923 Lifeboat Station Surfboat House.
For an additional fee, the famous Whitefish Point Light Tower is also open for tours.
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Found along the south shore of Lake Superior, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is best known for its dramatic multicolored cliffs. These cliffs are beyond beautiful, and the contrast between the cliffs and the blue green water of Lake Superior is incredible.
Other features of this fantastic park include unusual sandstone formations such as Miners Castle and Chapel Rock. A white birch forest offers the ideal hiking location, and the remains of shipwrecks can be found along the shoreline near a 19th-century lighthouse.
Presque Isle Park and Blackrocks
Presque Isle Park is set upon a forested peninsula that juts out onto the water and offers incredible views of the lovely Lake Superior. It’s an ideal place for bicycling and offers many amazing bike paths. Hiking is another popular activity in this park, and there are miles of hiking trails running through the dense forests, so you’ll have plenty of options to choose from.
Perhaps the most well known and interesting feature of this park is known as Blackrocks. This is an ancient rock formation that stands 10–15 feet above the waterline and offers a cool breeze, incredible views, and the perfect place to dive into the water, should you so choose.
Quincy Mining Company Historic District
Quincy Mine was once an incredibly productive set of copper mines. They were owned by the Quincy Mining Company and operated from 1846 through 1945. By the time the mines closed, they were the deepest of their time.
Besides the mine, the Quincy Mining Company Historic District also features the Quincy Mining Company Stamp Mills, Quincy Dredge Number Two, and Quincy Smelter. The entire district is now an amazing tourist attraction that features tours and information on the lives of the miners who worked onsite. The attraction is wonderful for adults and kids alike, and really makes history come alive.
Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park
Finally, there is Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. This park encompasses roughly 60,000 acres of untouched land, making it a nature-lover’s paradise. Here you’ll find hardwood stands, waterfalls, and incredible vistas.
Visitors to this park enjoy hiking, biking, fishing, kayaking, and more. Organized nature programs are run throughout the year, and a boat launch, some concessions, and pet-friendly areas are all available as well.
Other Great Sights
The sights listed above are some of the best UP attractions, That said, they are far from the only things to do and see. We also recommend squeezing in stops at the following landmarks and attractions while visiting Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with Kids.
- Mackinac Bridge
- Whitefish Point
- Sugarloaf Mountain
- Hogback Mountain
- Brockway Mountain
- Dead River Falls
- Lake of the Clouds
Tips for Visiting Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with Kids
Still not convinced that you should try visiting Michigan’s Upper Peninsula with kids? Why not take some steps to ensure it’s the best vacation you’ll ever take with your young explorers? There are ways to go about this, and most are fairly simple.
By employing the tips below, you can rest easy knowing your trip is going to be absolutely amazing for everyone in your family.
Take an RV
Our first tip is to take your trip in an RV. Why? Because the UP is so full of beautiful nature that you are going to want to immerse yourself in it completely, and an RV allows you to do just that.
Besides, traveling with your family in an RV just makes things easier. Not only will you have comfy beds to sleep in no matter where you wander, you’ll also have a full kitchen so you can cook the foods you know your kids will eat. Additionally, you’ll always have a bathroom nearby. As parents, we all know how handy that can be, especially if your children are very young.
Of course, it’s also nice to be able to pick up and go quickly and easily, as this allows you to see more of what the UP has to offer in less time.
Go with Others
Another great tip? Go on your adventure with friends. Traveling in a group is always more exciting, and this is even more true if you have kids.
By choosing to go with other families, your kids will be able to socialize throughout the journey, and you’ll be able to connect with other adults who crave travel and adventure. You can swap stories, recipes, and sometimes even responsibilities, making the trip more fun for everyone involved.
Let Someone Else Plan
As a parent, you likely already have a lot on your plate. Adding trip planning to your list of responsibilities is likely the last thing you want to do. For this reason, our last tip is to let somebody else plan this one and give yourself a break so you can relax and fully enjoy your getaway.
Here at Family RV Caravans, we are professional travel planners who specialize in families traveling by RV. We offer all-group travel adventures all over the country, and we’ve got a trip to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan coming up.
If you’d like to leave the planning to someone else and enjoy an RV vacation with like-minded families in one of the most wonderful places in the US, be sure to snag your spot on this adventure today!