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Prepping for any vacation often involves learning a few interesting facts about the area that you plan to visit that you can use to get acclimated to the area and entertain your traveling buddies or family. The Upper Peninsula is filled with exciting places to visit, including unique tourist attractions and everything you’d expect from natural wilderness areas. As you start learning about the local wildlife, state bird, and other interesting tidbits of information, you can also enjoy these 10 fun facts about Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that give you a different perspective on the place you’ll quickly want to adopt as your new home away from home.
Wilderness Areas Make Up 84% of the Upper Peninsula
Just glancing at a map reveals that most of this part of the United States is filled with forest land. Even better, most of the wilderness is pure, pristine beauty that is protected by state parks, national forest land, and wildlife preserves that are all open to visitors. While you’ll have hundreds of acres to explore and play, finding a place to stay isn’t hard when you check out hotels in Ironwood that are near enough to the wilderness that you can maximize every minute of your adventurous vacation.
Michigan Is Known for Being the Wolverine State
Although the name might get you excited about spotting one of these elusive creatures, Michigan is the Wolverine State in name only. People still hold friendly debates today about how the nickname came about, but it is widely thought to come from the 1835 Toledo War between Michigan and Ohio. While you might not be able to spot a wolverine here, you’ll have no problem seeing other amazing wildlife, including otters, foxes, black bears, moose, and porcupines. Make sure to bring your binoculars and remember to follow the best practices for wildlife encounters.
The Upper Peninsula Has Over 3,000 Miles of Groomed Snowmobile Trails
Avid snowmobilers know that it can sometimes be hard to find groomed trails with the right conditions to enjoy an excursion. Here, you won’t have to look hard to find snowmobile trails that often intersect and allow you to choose your own level of adventure. In fact, you can even travel from one town to another using the trail system. Exploring the area by snowmobile is a true Upper Peninsula experience everyone should do at least once.
Michigan’s Largest State Park Has Two-Time Zones
The Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park sprawls across 60,000 acres, which also includes 20 miles of shoreline along Lake Superior. Due to the size and location, you’ll potentially visit two counties and two different time zones if you venture far enough. Finding a Porcupine Mountains hotel lets you expand your trip to include several days to a week, which still never seems to be enough time to explore all that the state park has to offer fully. For skiing and other adventures, make sure to visit the Porkies Winter Sports Complex, which offers gear and equipment rentals for you to try out a new kind of sport.
Marquette, MI, Has the Largest Population in the Upper Peninsula
One of the most notable features of the area is that every town you visit has that small-town feeling. Marquette ranks as having the largest population in the area, with just over 20,000 residents. If that number seems small, then you can rest assured that it is. The average U.S. suburb has between 30,000 and 70,000 residents. You’ll notice that everyone seems to know each other in these tight-knit towns, and the residents are all eager to share their love for the Upper Peninsula lifestyle.
The Largest Inland Lake Is In the Upper Peninsula
Lake Gogebic is the largest inland lake, and this beautiful aquatic paradise is 14 miles long and two and one-half miles wide. The Lake Gogebic State Park offers gorgeous lakefront campsites where you can cook up that fresh fish you caught or prepare to go boating. The park is less than an hour from Ironwood, which means that you can also find Upper Peninsula hotels nearby if it’s not the right time of year for camping.
Ironwood is the Furthest Corner That You Can Drive to in Western Michigan
Ironwood sits just at the border of Michigan and Wisconsin, which makes it the perfect place to take a little out-of-state road trip. Minnesota is also a short drive away, and visiting the Upper Peninsula is on the bucket list for many outdoors enthusiasts from all over the state. Hotels in Ironwood are the ideal pit stop for resting up before your skiing or mountain bike adventure.
Nearly 400 Different Species of Birds Flock to the State
As hard as it may be to believe, not everyone flocks to the Upper Peninsula to go snowmobiling. Bird watchers also know that there are infinite opportunities to spot rare species such as jaegers and boreal owls. The spring and fall seasons are perfect for catching sight of these beauties during their migratory flights. Since winter sports won’t be in full swing just yet, the hiking trails tend to be pretty quiet and less crowded for birdwatching. If this is your idea of the perfect UP adventure, then you’ll want to add the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory to your itinerary.
President Roosevelt Once Sued a Michigan Newspaper for Libel
This fun historical fact goes back to 1913 when President Roosevelt was so offended by an Upper Peninsula newspaper that he decided to sue them for slander. Back then, the newspaper claimed that President Roosevelt was frequently inebriated from alcohol and that all of his surrounding friends and colleagues were aware of his behavior. He sued the publisher and won. At the end of the trial, he waived any compensation for damages and asked for six cents, which was the cost of a newspaper. He also received a retraction that upheld his positive reputation.
Michigan Tech Holds the Honor of Making a Record-Breaking Snowball
Over the years, Michigan Tech students have shattered records for snowball fights and snow angels, and now they hold the Guinness World Record for making the largest snowball. When the team was done, they had a snowball with a circumference of 32.94 feet that was estimated to weigh between three to four tons. Considering that these enterprising students are always looking for ways to make waves with their latest snow creations, it’ll be interesting to see what they come up with next.
The sheer vastness of the Upper Peninsula feels like an outdoor playground, but remember to take some time to dive into the rich history behind this amazing state. During your snowmobiling and hiking breaks, try to stop into one of the many museums in the area for a fact-filled tour. Our Upper Peninsula hotels are in close proximity to Ironwood’s famous historic Theater, Depot Museum, and Miner’s Memorial Heritage Park, which all give you different perspectives into all that went into making the area such an interesting destination.