Watch an extended preview of the Travels with Darley Michigan’s Upper Peninsula episode, starting this winter on Public Television. Some of our top adventures in the UP are outlined in this special Michigan Travel Itinerary, so you can follow what our crew did while filming. Below are some of the top picks for things to see and do while traveling through the UP.
Best of the UP- Top Things to Do
#1 Rock Away on the porch of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island
Whether you just take the time to rest in a rocking chair on the 660 foot long porch at the Grand Hotel with its awesome views of the Straits of Mackinac or stay at the hotel, you’ll be stepping back to a simpler time and hopefully relaxing a bit in this beautiful, historic setting.
#2 Do Something with Horses on Mackinac Island
Automobiles were banned on Mackinac Island more than 100 years ago, which means spending time with horses is not hard, as horses are one of the top modes of transportation on the island. Those seeking an active adventure can explore the island on horseback with horses from Cindy’s Riding Stable or drive a carriage through Jack’s Livery Stable. Want something simpler? Hop a horse-drawn taxi.
#3 Eat a Pasty at Taste of the UP
Eat like a local, tasting a meat-pie pasty at The Taste of the UP. Similar to an empanada or calzone, pasties consist of pastry shells normally filled with meat (traditionally roast beef), vegetables and potatoes. These pocket-sized treats are baked and delicious. Eat one on-site or take away a few. You can top your pasty with either ketchup or gravy for a splendid local snack or meal.
#4 Lighthouse Boat Cruise
One of the best ways to see lighthouses up close is from the water, so head to Shepler’s Dock for a lighthouse boat cruise narrated by members of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association. Learn about history, nature and engineering as you pass under Mackinac Bridge and get your camera ready to snap pics of iconic lighthouses like Round Island Light, Bois Blanc Light and Poe Reef.
#5 Try a Blueberry Beer
Enjoy the great outdoors at Tahquamenon Falls State Park, which boasts the second largest waterfall east of the Mississippi, and then grab a beer at Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub within the park. This woodsy, lodge-like bar was started by Lark Ludlow, whose grandfather owned the land surrounding the falls and sold it to the state to make sure it would be preserved for generations to come. Seasonal brews include Raspberry Wheat Ale, White Pine Pilsner and other unique Michigan inspired flavors.
#6 Spot a Massive Ship
Check out an engineering feat, the Soo Locks, built in 1855 to enable ships to travel between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. Ships are lifted up or down to compensate for a 21-foot difference in the water level between Lake Superior and the lower Great Lakes. Because of the high traffic at these locks, travelers can usually spot a freighter passing through and see how these locks actually work firsthand. For a truly unique experience, cruise through the locks on a sunset boat tour.