Having fun in the Keweenaw doesn’t have to come with a hefty price tag. There are plenty of free things to do that can be enjoyed at no cost. From adventures in the great outdoors to siestas on a secluded beach, here’s how to have fun in the Keweenaw without breaking the bank.
The Keweenaw’s vast network of trails and wilderness areas can be explored at no charge. Your feet will do if you don’t have your own bike, boat, or ORV (or opt not to rent one). Popular locations to explore include Hungarian Falls, Estivant Pines and Horseshoe Harbor.
Scenic drives are a great way to leisurely explore the Keweenaw. Head north of the Portage Lake Lift Bridge and head west along M-203 to cruise along the Keweenaw Waterway. Then head north via US 41 and M-26 to explore Lake Superior's coastline. You’ll discover several roadside parks, like Esrey Park, perfect for picnics, boat watching and rockhounding. Be sure to include Brockway Mountain Drive on the route for some of the best views in the Upper Peninsula.
Speaking of rocks, there’s no better pastime than combing beaches in search of Lake Superior Agates and Yooperlites along the rocky shores of the Keweenaw. Or borrow a metal detector and head to the ruins of Cliff Mine to try your luck at tracking down pieces of copper. Even if you’re not a geologist, you’re sure to discover a keepsake.
Relax on one of the Keweenaw’s numerous Lake Superior beaches. Pack a picnic lunch and enjoy a lazy afternoon listening to the waves crash against the shore. Jump in for a reinvigorating swim and then head back to shore. Repeat as needed. When night falls, build a fire on the beach and enjoy the dark sky. See if you can spot your favorite constellations, the Milky Way, and even the Northern Lights.
These precious berries, akin to raspberries, can be found throughout the Keweenaw in late summer. The berries resemble a button or “thimble” and turn bright red when ripe. Slightly tart, they make excellent jam. To find the, seek out shaded trails. If you’re between seasons, you’ll find many of the local gift shops sell this tasty treat.
Take a hike and look for hidden remnants of Copper Mine. The Monk Trails near Jacob’s Falls will take you to the site of the Arnold Mine Ruin’s. Cliff Mine, the site of the first successful mining operation in the Keweenaw is also a great place to explore on foot. Make sure to tour Central Mine Location and visit the museum at the Keweenaw National Historical Park, as well. The Keweenaw National Historical Park also offers free ranger-led tours at several of the Keweenaw’s prized heritage sites.
The Keweenaw is full of hidden gems and affordable adventure opportunities.