The Upper Peninsula has earned the distinction of being the place to go for winter sports. As you might’ve heard, the area gets between 200 to 300 inches of snowfall yearly, which is a skier’s dream! While you can’t go wrong with planning a snowmobiling or snowshoeing adventure in the colder months of the year, you might also be wondering what the area is like once the snow melts away.
Visiting the U.P. in the summer feels like you are experiencing a completely different environment than you find in the winter. By the time the summer arrives, the frozen waterfalls have come roaring back to life, and the wilderness is teeming with wildlife for hunting and viewing. Instead of cross-country skiing, the mountains are the prime place to go for hiking, and Lake Superior is all warmed up for your favorite aquatic adventures.
Once you’ve landed in the best Upper Peninsula motel and put away your bags, you’ll be ready to try some of the best activities to enjoy during the summer.
Go On a Waterfall Treasure Hunt
During the winter season, the waterfalls throughout the area create majestic frozen ice sculptures that are amazing to behold. But you also can’t beat the awe that you’ll feel as you see thousands of gallons of water rushing over a cliff. Hotels in Ironwood are located close to multiple waterfall viewing areas that allow you to see more during your trip.
When you stay here, you can easily access the Presque Isle Falls and the Tahquamenon Falls, along with the ones that are located at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Discovering the beauty of a free-flowing waterfall during your hikes through the wilderness feels like a reward that you won’t find in many other places.
Become a Rockhound
Speaking of treasure hunts, you can also find beautiful agate rocks along the shoreline of Lake Superior. During the winter, Little Girls Point closes to campers, and it’s hard to find rocks when they’re buried below the snow. By the time mid-May arrives, the area opens back up for campers and rock hunters to enjoy.
The best Upper Peninsula motel is located close enough to Little Girls Point that you can stay there and head out to the shore during the day. Or, you might choose to spend a night camping along the beach, where you’re bound to add some agates to your collection before going back to your hotel to rest up for other adventures.
View Pictured Rocks From the Water
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is an iconic place to visit when you’re staying at a Lake Superior hotel. The area is recognized for being one of the most photographed places in the United States, and spending just a few minutes here will show you why.
The breathtaking cliffs not only loom large over the crystal clear blue water, but they all contain gorgeous hues from the minerals that mixed with the natural waters that run down their sides and give them that painted look. Taking a boat tour or going kayaking allows you to get up close to the cliffs, where you can glide through awe-inspiring arches and sea caves, along with viewing waterfalls that turn this into a unique aquatic adventure.
Visit the Lake of the Clouds
The Lake of the Clouds is located in the Porcupine Mountains, where you can find opportunities to indulge your wildest dreams of camping in the backcountry. Still, most people prefer to sleep in a Porcupine Mountains hotel that offers amenities that include a continental breakfast, so they can have more time to explore the more than 60,000 acres of forest land when they’re awake.
The lake sits between two ridges in the mountains and is best known for bass fishing. The beauty of this natural lake comes to life in the summertime when the beautiful blue water contrasts with the green of the surrounding trees to create a picturesque scene for you to enjoy for as long as you like.
Test Your Courage by Cliff Diving in Presque Isle State Park
To enjoy Lake Superior, you don’t have to take the polar plunge. Waiting until the summer arrives means that the water will be much warmer, which is perfect for use as inspiration for an exciting day of cliff diving. Presque Isle State Park’s black rock cliffs are one of the area’s biggest draws for thrill seekers.
Sitting at 10 to 15-feet high, the cliff serves as a platform for divers who line up every year to take advantage of the warmer weather to knock this experience off their bucket list. If you’re not such an adventurous type, then don’t worry. There’s still lots of fun to be had watching people test their mettle on the cliffs after you’ve spent some time hiking on the park’s many trails.
Enjoy Mountain Biking Just About Everywhere
From your Lake Superior Hotel, you can head off on a mountain biking adventure in just about every main tourist destination. The Porcupine Mountains are known for their mountain biking trails that are ready for you to ride down in just about every season. Just make sure you have the right kind of tires for the summertime, and you’ll be ready to roll.
Munising is another hot spot for mountain bikers, and the town has been working hard at creating even more biker-friendly trail systems and pathways. To reach the most popular trailhead, you’ll want to hop on a ferry to Grand Island. There, you’ll find over 40 miles of trails to explore, and the amazing scenery you enjoy will inspire you to keep going until you’ve burned through more than a few miles of blissful riding.
Explore a Unique Type of Island
The Isle Royale isn’t open during the winter, which means that you’ll have to visit the U.P. between April and October to see this destination. The isolation of this island is what makes it so unique. Since it virtually shuts down during the winter, the wildlife becomes accustomed to roaming freely without fear of human interactions.
Isle Royale is the main island in this archipelago, which includes over 400 different islands. To get here, you’ll have to access the island by boat or seaplane, which jumpstarts your trip with a bit of adventure. Similar to other wilderness excursions, you’ll want to arrive prepared to be self-sufficient and capable of survival without reliable cellular service. Once you’re on the island, doing a little day hiking is a great way to explore the unique landscape, and you might even catch sight of wildlife that includes wolves and moose.
The right time to visit the Upper Peninsula depends upon your travel preferences and favorite activities. Even avid skiers and snowmobilers choose to visit the area in the summer when they can enjoy the natural landscape from a different angle. Our hotels in Ironwood are also open year-round to make sure you have a comfortable place to stay between your foray into the wilderness and lakeside activities.
While you’ll discover different things to do here during each season, the best time to visit is truly whenever you get the chance. After all, you just can’t beat spending time in a place that lets you enjoy activities that range from a leisurely waterfall hike to an adrenaline-spiking cliff dive while always being surrounded by natural forest land.