Copper Harbor, Michigan, the most northern city in the state, is located right at the top of the Keweenaw Peninsula.
One of the top destinations in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, Copper Harbor MI offers breathtaking views and endless waterfront. It also has something for every type of nature lover, whether it’s hiking, canoeing, fishing, or camping.
Whether you’re looking for a scenic drive, fun trip idea or simply want to explore the top of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Copper Harbor is the place to go.
About Copper Harbor
Copper Harbor truly is a nature lover’s paradise.
As the jumping-off point to Isle Royale National Park, this pristine area of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has so much to offer. It’s prime location on the shores of Lake Superior provide endless opportunity for outdoor adventure, as well as perfect viewing for Michigan’s Northern Lights when they appear in the sky.
Copper Harbor has a rich history, embedded in development of the country.
Once home to many prosperous copper mines, Copper Harbor was the heart of Michigan’s copper shipping industry. Copper resources in the area were depleted by 1870, however.
With approximately 100 year-round residents, Copper Harbor is now a top tourist destination, with travelers around the world making a visit to take in the rugged beauty of the area.
Read on for a list of 15 Best Things to Do in Copper Harbor MI and scroll to the bottom for a map to help you plan your trip.
1. Fall Colors in Copper Harbor
It’s especially true in the fall, when Michigan’s amazing fall color lights up the trees in amazing reds, oranges and yellows.
With scenic spots of stunning natural beauty like Brockway Mountain Drive and the sparkling Lake Fanny Hooe, Michigan’s Copper Country is a great place to take in fall colors.
Copper Harbor MI isn’t just at the top of Michigan, it’s at the top of most Michigan travel bucket lists.
2. Explore the Delaware Copper Mine
7804 Delaware Rd, Mohawk, MI 49950
Ever toured a once-operational copper mine? Here’s your chance. The Delaware Copper Mine is located just outside of Copper Harbor and offers self-guided tours of the underground mine.
The mine and area that surrounds it have been turned into a museum, and there is a lot to see here. The mine is set up to try and show how the area would have looked in the mine’s heyday in the 1800’s.
Follow the trails to explore the ruins of the two original mine buildings, equipment displays, antique engines, and trains. This is a great experience for anyone who wants to experience some history and learn about how copper mines functioned.
3. Slip into a Sea Kayak at the Keweenaw Adventure Company
155 Gratiot St, Copper Harbor, MI 49918
Looking to explore Lake Superior? This is your chance to do it. The Keweenaw Adventure Company offers both single and tandem kayaks, perfect for exploring the wild and wonderful coastline of the third-largest lake in the world.
There’s more here, too. You’ll find all kinds of rental services, from kayaks and canoes to mountain bikes. They also offer guided tours on both mountain bikes and kayaks. They even offer kayak tours of Isle Royale.
4. Visit Isle Royale
Copper Harbor is one of three ports that offers ferry service to Isle Royale. Isle Royale is one of the least-visited national parks in the entire United States.
At 45 miles long and nine miles wide, Isle Royale is the largest island in Lake Superior and has been a National Park since 1940.
Wheeled vehicles (other than wheelchairs) are prohibited on the island, and that means you’ll do plenty of hiking to see the six inland lakes on the island. Moose, wolf, fox and other animals can be found on the island, as well as unique flora like the wood lily and prickly wild rase.
The isle offers camping and hiking, along with great views and nature that is almost untouched by civilization.
5. Step Back in Time at Fort Wilkins Historic State Park
15223 US Hwy 41, Copper Harbor, MI 49918
Built in 1844, Fort Wilkins is testament to the wild times of the Copper Mining era. The discovery of copper in the Keweenaw Peninsula caused a “Copper Rush,” and Fort Wilkins was built as an army outpost to maintain law and order in the area.
It’s a fascinating place and the fort offers an interesting look at what daily life was like in the mid 1840’s. In the summer, you’ll find as many as 40 youth dressed in period clothing, reenacting the lives of real people who had lived at the fort.
There are also plenty of buildings including two lighthouses on the grounds for you to explore. There are museum exhibits as well to really help visitors understand the history of the fort.
6. Hike Eagle River Falls and Dam
5055 M-26, Eagle River, MI 49950
Just southwest of Copper Harbor, along the Lake Superior coastline, is where you’ll find Eagle River Falls. Set just off the road, this picturesque set of falls features a 65-foot drop that flows into the Eagle River. You’ll want to get your camera out, and head to the wooden bridge over the water for the best pics!
7. Buy Homemade Preserves at the Jampot
6500 M-26, Eagle Harbor, MI 49950
One of Michigan’s best-kept secrets is this tiny bakery and jam shop run by the Monks of the Society of St. John. Located in Eagle Harbor, this amazingly simple and sweet spot has been operating almost 40 years.
That’s a lot of muffins, cookies, chocolates and sweet preserves, made from locally grown fruits like thimbleberry, chokecherry and golden raspberry. This is a must on any trip to the Keweenaw Peninsula. Bring an appetite and room in your cooler: you’ll want to take some treats home with you.
8. Take a Sunset Cruise
Hop on board the Isle Royale Queen IV an hour before sunset for a sunset cruise.
Since 1972 the same company that offers ferry rides to Isle Royale has offered sunset cruises that go out into the Lake Superior shipping lanes offering both a breathtaking view of the sunset and the Keweenaw Peninsula. This is truly a one-of-a-kind experience.
Watching a sunset in Michigan is beautiful now just imagine it from Lake Superior where it looks like the water goes forever. Sign me up.
9. Take a Scenic Drive Along Brockway Mountain Drive
Known as one of the prettiest drives in Michigan, this almost-nine-mile stretch of highway just west of Copper Harbor climbs 1300 feet above sea level.
You’ll find amazing panoramic vistas of Lake Superior, Copper Harbor and pristine forests of hardwoods. If the weather is clear, you might be lucky enough to catch a glimpse of Isle Royale, some 50 miles away in Lake Superior.
10. Hike the George Hite Dunes and Marshes Preserve
Sand Dunes Dr, Mohawk, MI 49950
You’ll find a stunning network of hiking and cross-country ski trails in this 340-acre preserve, part of the Keweenaw Land Trust. You’ll want to spend at least a day hiking here, exploring the Lake Superior coastline and coastal dunes, marshes and Owl Creek, which empties into Lake Superior.
11. Visit the Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary
Burma Rd, Copper Harbor, MI 49918
Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary offers two trails through the beautiful nature preserve.
This is the largest set of old growth Eastern White Pines preserved in Michigan, and the views are stunning. With tons of unique flora and fauna to see in the preserve, this is a great way to spend a day outside. You’ll see things that you don’t often get to see, so be sure and bring your camera.
The giant white pines are the stars of the show here, though, with the oldest as tall as 125 feet and around 300 years old. This is a very cool place to check out on your trip to Copper Harbor.
12. Catch a View of the Northern Lights
The Northern Lights, scientifically called the Aurora Borealis, are collisions between electrically charged particles from the sun entering the earth’s atmosphere and seeing them in a once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The Northern Lights or Aurora Borealis are sometimes visible in Michigan, and a place like Copper Harbor is an ideal place to view them. If you’ve ever wanted to see the Northern Lights this could be your chance.
You can find more information in our Guide to Where and When to Catch the Northern Lights in Michigan.
13. Jacobs Falls
Sand Dunes Dr, Eagle River, MI 49950
Another beautiful waterfall just east of Copper Harbor, you can view Jacobs Falls from the roadside on M26. It’s about a 20-foot drop, and this is the last of a series of falls along Jacobs Creek as it rushes to Lake Superior.
14 and 15. Explore the Lighthouses
The Keweenaw Peninsula is home to a lot of lighthouses, many of which are still functioning. These are cool buildings to see as you travel the Upper Peninsula, and a great destination for a day trip when you stop in a place like Copper Harbor.
Cooper Harbor Lighthouse
The Copper Harbor lighthouse is located on the grounds of Fort Wilkins. The Copper Harbor Lighthouse was built in the year 1848 with the intention of aiding the transportation of copper ore mined in the Upper Peninsula.
Ships would gather the ore and head east through Lake Superior and down into the lower Great Lakes, where the ore would be refined and processed.
Eagle Harbor Lighthouse
At the western entrance to Eagle Harbor, the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse continues to operate, helping to guide ships around the Keweenaw Waterway.
Built in 1871, this is one of several lighthouses constructed in the area to manage the shipment of ores during the Upper Peninsula’s copper mining boom of the mid-late 19th century. Today the lighthouse is now part of the Keweenaw County Historical Society’s Light Station Museum Complex and is open for the public to visit.
Map of Things to Do and Places to Stay in Copper Harbor MI
Where To Stay in Copper Harbor
There’s a lot to see in Copper Harbor, and you’ll probably want to spend a few days exploring the area. You’ll have some great options if you’re looking for stay overnight. You can also check out our guide to the Best Lodging in the Keweenaw Peninsula.
This two-bed room at the Lake Fanny Hooe Resort is exceptionally clean, comfortable, and even has a balcony. This is a tranquil spot and a great place to get-away-from-it-all without actually being in the wilderness.
Located just about 10 miles from Copper Harbor is Doc’s Inn, a clean and cozy two-bedroom vacation home with a full kitchen and living room, perfect for relaxing after a day of a sightseeing. There’s complimentary WiFi, too.
Calumet is abour 30 minutes south of Copper Harbor, and this clean and spacious hotel is a good jumping-off spot for exploring the Keweenaw area. The AmericInn by Wyndham has a nice pool and hot tub, and also offers a nice complimentary breakfast every morning.
About the Author-
Cy Nardone is a Content Creator for us here at mymichiganbeach. He grew up in Grosse Pointe and attended Grosse Pointe South High School. He went on to attend Wayne State then Michigan State University where he majored in Sports Journalism. Cy is a lifelong Detroit sports fan who loves food. Cy looks forward to expanding our Metro Detroit content and hopes to turn you on to a new spot to adventure or eat.