Three Small Upper Michigan Towns.

Miner's Castle in the Evening 16 x 20
Miner’s Castle in the Evening (Pictured Rocks)
16 x 20

An article in local e-zine “U.P. Second Wave” (new tab) recently touted the attraction of three small towns in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. If you’re ever in this area, these towns are good places to start. As a local road tripper, I’d like to share my opinions of the three towns. So read the linked article, and come on back!

Across Sand, Water, and Sky 18x24
Painting of the “Log Slide” at Grand Sable Dunes

Munising is a great tourist town. It’s nestled among forested hills on a bay in Lake Superior. Nearby, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is sure to wow you. But don’t stop there! Farther east on Highway 58 are the Grand Sable Dunes. These are amazing masses of sand, 300 feet above the blue-green lake. Heading east more is the little tiny harbor town of Grand Marais. We ate here last summer. The food was decent, the palace was busy, and the people were happy to see us! You can get to Newberry from here by heading south on Highway 77.

I’ve only been to Newberry once, and it’s been awhile.  I was just passing through on my way to the Great Lakes Ship Wreck Museum and Whitefish Point Lighthouse. So I don’t have much to say about it, except if you got to Tahquamenon Falls, then it would be a shame if you didn’t keep going the Ship Wreck Museum(map).

Way back to the west, in the Keweenaw Peninsula, sits Michigan’s Northern-most town of Copper Harbor. It’s definitely a cute town, and a nice place to visit.  There’s tons to do and see! There are great trails, rocky shorelines, the Historic Fort Wilkins State Park, Brockway Mountain Overlook, and lots and lots more. The shops are cute, and you can even get homemade fudge. In fact, the entire Keweenaw Peninsula is a great place to see.

Here's an older painting from Copper Harbor. It's called "Awaiting Another Adventure"
Here’s an older painting from Copper Harbor. It’s called “Awaiting Another Adventure”

Copper Harbor is a nice place to visit, but I wouldn’t stay there. Services are lacking. I felt like I was just another tourist when I stayed there. I’ve found nearby Calumet to be much more hospitable, with better restaurants. The Centennial Cottages are gorgeous, and the owner is very nice.

So come on up and check out the Upper Peninsula!



  1. How in the world does Calumet have better restaurants than Copper Harbor which has the Harbor Haus as well as 4 others, plus bakery, coffeehouse and ice cream. You have a choice of B&B’s, motels or camping and what services does it lack? There’s a well stocked general store, a gas station, 2 churches, a Welcome Center and a public park. There are tours, mini golf, boat rides, epic mountain bike trails…..Where were you?

    1. I did say Copper Harbor is a great place to visit, with tons to do. I also said the gift shops were nice. It really is one of my favorite places to go! I just don’t like staying there. I won’t single anybody out, but our cabin wasn’t anything like it was pictured. The place we ate breakfast at was slow and not well supplied. The general store, for its size, was well stocked, though over priced. But that’s understandable since it is so remote. I found one ATM in town and it charged me a ridiculous fee, even higher than the ATM at Mackinac Island. The clerk seemed annoyed that i interrupted his conversation to buy something. All these things together, plus friends’ experiences, prompts me to stay elsewhere. As for Calumet restaurants, I like Carmelita’s, Jim’s Pizza, Michigan House, 5th and Elm, and really any one of the coffee shops in town. Off course, I love a good pasty too! I didn’t mean to hurt anyone’s feelings.

  2. Nice paintings and commentary, but one correction – if you’re in Munising and want to go to Grand Sable Dunes and Grand Marais, you had better head East – not West!

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