It’s right here in Michigan. Growing up in Ontario, crossing the border at Detroit was an everyday occurrence. Our easy crossings of Canada’s borders were something we took for granted. However, that changed in 2020. We are now feeling nostalgic about our road trips through Michigan. We had some fantastic adventures and wanted to inspire others to visit northern Michigan. It will be surprising to you.
Northern Michigan: Cool and Unique Activities
This guide will take you through northern Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (or U.P. It is also known as the Lower Peninsula of Michigan. Many things to do in Northern Michigan will fill your summer. Our tour of Northern Michigan will begin in Charlevoix, and we’ll work around clockwise. Charlevoix, a four-hour drive from Detroit, is a great place to start your Great Lakes State road trip. You can drive anywhere in Michigan, but you don’t have to be a driver. You will love exploring the Mitten of Michigan from Lake Superior to Lakes Huron.
You feel like you’re on vacation in the Caribbean at the height of summer, with all the beach, snorkeling, and paddle-boarding activities. There is also plenty of history and nostalgia in the Upper Peninsula. We’ll bring you all the best things to do in Michigan’s north. Let’s go!
Charlevoix is one of our favorite places in Michigan’s north. Charlevoix has a beautiful waterfront, many microbrew pubs, restaurants, and beaches. This is a great place to base yourself on exploring Northern Michigan’s top attractions.
- The Edgewater Inn in downtown Charlevoix was our stay. It was centrally located and within walking distance of the best attractions. See TripAdvisor to find out more.
- If you don’t own a car, you can compare prices and reserve your vehicle at RentalCars.com.
Charlevoix Mushroom Houses
You can visit Hobbiton, Michigan. You can travel only some of the way from New Zealand. Instead, visit Charlevoix and tour the incredible mushroom houses built by Earl Young. Over 30 years, he designed 30 homes in Charlevoix. You can tour the 28 remaining mushroom houses today. Take a tour of the mushroom houses in Charlevoix. All Hobbits are welcome to Michigan!
Castle Farms offers a Renaissance Castle tour.
Michigan has a castle! You don’t need to travel to Europe to see a court. The French Renaissance castle at Castle Farms is just outside Charlevoix. Sears, Roebuck & Company vice-president built Castle Farms in 1918. It has been restored to its original design. This was a popular spot for rock concerts in the 1970s when Arthur Reibel, a rock promoter, bought it. He attracted top-profile acts such as Metallica, Bob Dillan, and the Beach Boys. On a guided tour, you can see all of the memorabilia that was there in its glory days. You can plan your visit to Castle Farms by visiting their website.
Follow the Footsteps Of Hemingway
We love to find the places Ernest Hemingway used to hang out when we traveled the world. He has been to Havana in Cuba, Pamplona to Havana in Cuba, and Kenya up to Key West. Did you know that he was raised in Upper Michigan during his formative years? Before exploring the mushroom houses in Charlevoix, see Harsha House, where you can find his marriage certificate. Then follow the trail to explore the 11 Hemingways hangouts in Michigan.
Hemingway spent 21 summers in Petoskey (Michigan), and you can follow the Hemingway Trail when you visit northern Michigan. This fascinating glimpse into Hemingway’s life is available at the Perry Hotel, Potters’ Rooming House, and his favorite fishing spot at Horton Creek. We were taken on a tour of Hemingway’s route with a guide who read portions from Nick Adams, Hemingway’s book. The scenery in Northern Michigan inspired the guide.
Find Petoskey Stones
Petosky was a great place to spend time, whether cycling along the waterfront trails or looking for Petoskey Stones. We also enjoyed exploring the historic downtown area of Bayfront Park. We found a Petoskey Breakwall on the rocky shore, where we searched for Petoskey Stones. However, I couldn’t find Green Stone in New Zealand, so I bought a lovely necklace in Petoskey.
The Northern Lights are on the horizon.
While everyone believes you must travel to Iceland to see the Northern Lights, we witnessed them in Michigan. The Headlands International Dark Sky Park allowed us to see the Milky Way and night sky and the Aurora Borealis perform a spectacular show. For more information, visit the Headlands International Dark Sky Website.