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Marquette MI: Ultimate Travel Guide

Marquette mi lighthouse

Visit Marquette MI

You may have noticed everyone talking about Marquette MI. It’s one of Michigan’s top travel destinations, with many visitors to this beautiful lakefront town deciding they never want to leave. Travel to this once-remote area is booming, and with good reason: there is a lot to do here year-round, both indoors and out.

After all, Marquette is what happens when you combine a stunning Lake Superior shoreline with a vibrant, hip city steeped in Michigan history.

Marquette’s Natural Beauty

The result? An outdoor paradise teeming with natural beauty all year long.

Whether you’re visiting to take in the spectacular natural beauty of Presque Isle State Park and the surrounding area, here for the fall beer festival, or to take in some local art, Marquette has something for everyone.

If you’re planning to “travel Marquette,” read on to discover the best of the city of Marquette and start planning your vacation getaway.

View of Lake Superior with a rainbow in Marquette MI
View of Lake Superior with a rainbow in Marquette MI

Explore Marquette MI

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is one of the best places to visit and Marquette MI is truly the best of it.

This fun city, the largest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, home to Northern Michigan University, has been growing quickly as both a must-see travel destination and place of residence as visitors learn of everything this amazing city has to offer.

First, the natural beauty: think towering granite cliffs and a picturesque harbor, complete with an iconic red lighthouse.

Throw in the wild surf of Lake Superior, some waterfalls and endless paths for hiking, biking, skiing or snowshoeing.

Next, we have the downtown area, and it’s an eclectic mix of craft breweries, restaurants and cafes set inside historic buildings alongside friendly boutiques and shops.

It’s really a perfect destination for vacation getaway: the perfect blend of outdoor adventure and natural beauty.

Ore Dock in Marquette Mi

About Marquette MI

As one of the largest cities in Michigan’s upper peninsula, Marquette is a port city, known for it’s iron mining and exports. In fact, the town newspaper’s name “The Mining Journal,” is testament to it’s iron-rich history.

The iconic Ore Dock in the Marquette Harbor is a testament to this as well. Built in 1911, the still-active ore dock is 1200 feet long and 60 feet wide. You can’t miss it when you visit downtown Marquette.

Be sure to have your camera or phone ready so you can snap a few pics; it’s quite picturesque.

Home to Northern Michigan University, the busting (and fast-growing) downtown is home to a variety of shops, parks, museums and more than one brewing company, making it a fun spot to explore on a day trip.

Surrounded by Lake Superior on one side and thick forest on the others, Marquette has long been a destination for outdoors lovers all year long. It’s the perfect blend of outdoor adventure and natural beauty.

U.P. Vacation Destination

With so much to do and see in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, multiple trips are necessary to see it all. in fact, if you plan your trip at the right time, you might even catch a glimpse of the northern lights over Lake Superior.

How to Get To Marquette, MI

If you plan to travel by air, Sawyer International Airport, just outside of the city Marquette is just 17 miles south.

If you plan to travel by car, no matter your travel direction, you’re going to see some fabulous scenery. Use our guide to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula to help you navigate the sights. Marquette is 6 hours by car from Grand Rapids; 6.5 hours from Detroit and five hours from Traverse City.

downtown marquette Michigan

Downtown Marquette MI

To get a sense of downtown Marquette’s atmosphere, you must consider its proximity to Lake Superior.

The city itself overlooks the lake and is in the shadow of the surrounding forests and mountains.

You understand rather quickly how much of a part the outdoors is to the city.

The old architecture paired with the vibrant youth really gives Marquette a unique charm you will not easily find anywhere else.

You quickly recognize the love of nature by residents here. It permeates into almost every aspect of the city, even in its well-known shopping district on Washington street, where you see many gift shops specializing in Michigan-made products and items that exemplify admiration for the outdoors.

Downtown Marquette Shops to Visit

Gathered Earth Gift Store

Gathered Earth Gift Store is a very cozy and adorable store located in downtown Marquette that focuses on the story of its items. Most items featured are handmade by local artists, and almost everything else is made in the US.

Boomerang Retro & Relics

A shop specializing in retro and vintage knick-knacks and clothing, here you can find one-of-a-kind items that will serve as a symbol for your one-of-a-kind trip to Marquette.

Chickadees

Chickadees is a great shop to buy a souvenir to remember your trip. At Chickadees, they sell Michigan-made and Michigan-themed products. Here is where you can get a gift for those back home. Chickadees is also THE spot in Marquette to pick up a pair of novelty/wacky socks.

marquette brewery

Where to Eat in Marquette MI

Aubree’s Pizzeria and Grill

This pizzeria has a very laid-back atmosphere that offers traditional pizza and various pizza with unique and inventive toppings. Aubree’s Pizzeria and Grill also serves burgers and many local beers.

Lagniappe Cajun Creole Eatery

If you want to experience traditional cajun food in Marquette, your only option is Lagniappe Cajun Creole Eatery. If you are feeling adventurous enough, this is your place.

Rotations Deli

Rotations Deli has some of the best sandwiches in Marquette. This takeout sandwich shop is the perfect food to grab on your way to the beach or a hike.

presque isIe lighthouse

Explore Marquette Outdoors

Do you love the outdoors as much as we do? If so, the city of Marquette is the perfect vacation spot for you.

It has everything you could want: public beaches on the shore of Lake Superior, Michigan’s largest lake, mountains for climbing and skiing, and hundreds of hiking trails.

It is this amazing amount of opportunity for outdoor fun that makes Marquette a haven for those who genuinely love adventure and the outdoors.

Marquette is truly a remarkable city, and what makes it so unique is its proximity and coexistence with the nature that surrounds it.

Visit these spots in Marquette to experience the true beauty of this area.

Sugarloaf Mountain

We believe the best place to start is hiking Sugarloaf Mountain, the one spot in Marquette that is REQUIRED to explore. If you are not a seasoned climber, don’t be intimidated.

The trek to Sugarloaf’s peak is a moderate one, with stairs to help guide you over the more difficult areas. For the more experienced climbers, while the hike is not the most challenging, the top view is worth it.

At the top is a viewing deck that gives you a spectacular 360-degree view of the surrounding area. You get what may be the most breathtaking view of Lake Superior. You see why they named it Lake Superior.

The view of the lake is endless and indescribable. On the other side, you get a sight of the Hogback Mountain and the surrounding forest.

Don’t be overwhelmed by it all; take your time and soak in every last bit.

View of Lake Superior in Marquette

Noquemanon Trail Network

If you are still in the mood for hiking after your trip up Sugarloaf, Marquette is home to the The Noquemanon Trail Network is an ongoing mission to promote the preservation of non-motorized hiking trails.

Acceptable methods of navigating the Noquemanon Trails are hiking, mountain biking, cross country skiing, and snowshoeing.

There are a lot of trails to cover, but don’t be intimidated; just think of the endless possibilities and adventures that await you.

marquette

Marquette Mountain

Marquette Mountain Ski and Bike Area is a year-round spot for bikers and skiers offering spectacular views of Lake Superior.

More than 1200 feet above sea level, this mountain offers night skiing with gorgeous views of Marquette.

surfing on Lake Superior
photo by Ryan McChesney

Presque Isle State Park

At an impressive 323 acres, Presque Isle Park has what seems like an unlimited supply of attractions/activities.

It is so packed full of things to do that it’s easy to spend a whole day here; in fact, it’s not unheard of to spend two days. Presque Isle Park is suitable for year-round activities, so whenever you decide to visit, you’ll have something to do.

The most accessible attraction here is the park loop. The loop is an easy 2.2-mile trail easy enough for all skill levels.

Presque Isle Park is home to much more, including the illusive Presque Isle Cove. This near-secret location is like an oasis amid a desert of trees.

The cove’s rocky shores are one of the wildest yet accessible areas you can find here.

You get the whole beach experience with a mysterious twist. If you feel like a daredevil or trying to impress that special someone, try the infamous Black Rocks.

Iron ore dock in marquette Mi

The Ellwood A. Mattson Lower Harbor

The Ellwood A. Mattson Lower Harbor Park is another wonderful park on the shores of Lake Superior.

Just north of the famous Iron Ore Dock, this spot is a great space to relax on the beach and spend time with the family.

The adjacent lawn provides a great space for picnics.

The view of the Iron Ore Dock is what sets this beach apart from the others. The Ore Dock is a piece of Marquette’s history and was built in 1912; its size is truly unbelievable.

Tourist Park in Marquette

Tourist Park is an excellent place to start for first-timers. Here, you can find everything you need with little frills, including campgrounds, hiking, and a lovely beach.

Beach in Marquette Mi

Beaches in Marquette MI

Marquette, as we’ve said, is right on the shore of Lake Superior.

This is good news. With Lake Superior being so large, it allows for many beaches; here are a few local and regional beaches in Marquette we think are worth a visit.

Please note that Clark Lambros Beach Park offers excellent ADA accessibility to the beach and kayaks for users of wheelchairs and other mobility devices.

Clark lambros beach in Marquette

Clark Lambros Beach Park

Swimming, Beach, Picnic Tables, Grills, Restroom, ADA Accessible Mats to Beach, Accessible Kayak Launch

Hidden beach in Marquette

Hidden Beach

Beach, Swimming, Cliffs

McCarty’s Cove Beach

Swimming, Beach Volleyball Courts, Picnic Tables, Picnic Benches, Restrooms, Playgrounds, Rock Island, Lighthouse; ADA Accessible, Dog-friendly

little presque isle beach in marquette mi

Little Presque Isle Beach

Sandy Beach, Swimming, Restrooms, Playground in Park

Marquette lighthouse and Museum

More to See in Marquette MI

Marquette has, if you want it, more to offer than natural wonders. Marquette has many music festivals each year. One of the best is the Marquette Area Blues Fest. Although, with ongoing COVID restrictions, it may not happen.

Marquette Maritime Museum & Lighthouse

For those seeking a bit of history, the Marquette Maritime Museum & Lighthouse should be on your list.

The museum itself is full of all the information you could imagine on Marquette’s maritime history, including the origins and purpose of the Iron Ore Dock, which was used for transporting iron during the civil war.

However, if you remember the view of the lighthouse from McCarty’s Cove and were dying to see it up close, here is where you can make that happen.

Make your way up the iconic red railed ramp to the equally iconic red Marquette Harbor Lighthouse. The museum has preserved the lighthouse, which was built in 1853.

Peter White Library

For those craving even more history, the Peter White Library is a place filled with history. This is one of the oldest buildings, which was built in 1904.

Superior Dome

Billed as “the world’s largest wooden dome” throughout Marquette county and beyond, this domed stadium is located on the campus of Northern Michigan University.

Upper Peninsula Children’s Museum

This unique hands-on museum offers interactive exhibits on natural science, culture & history, geared to kids aged 3 to 13.

DeVos Art Museum

The DeVos Art Museum on the campus of Northern Michigan University is houses both regional and contemporary art. The permanent features a unique collection of early 20th-century illustrations.

Where to Stay in Marquette MI

Marquette’s options for lodging are seemingly endless. With so many campgrounds, cabins, and yurts, you have a lot from which to choose.

However, if you are an indoor adventurer or just prefer the good night’s sleep only a bed in a Marquette hotel can provide, here are several hotels at which you can stay.

Marquette Hotels

The Landmark Inn
The Landmark Inn was built in 1930 and is one of the oldest hotels in Marquette. You can truly appreciate the history of its architecture from its large windows and ornate chandeliers.

The Landmark Inn is famous for its rustic antique furniture and is rumored to be haunted.

Holiday Inn of Marquette
The Holiday Inn of Marquette is a choice you can’t go wrong. Marquette’s Holiday Inn is close to the wilderness surrounding it, so don’t worry about feeling removed from the famous Marquette outdoor experience.

You can leave your hotel and be anywhere in a matter of minutes. The hotel itself is all that you could want in a hotel too. It provides you with warm beds and fully functioning showers to wash off the sweat of a hard day’s hike.

Hampton Inn Marquette/Waterfront
The Hampton Inn of Marquette can truly, without question, boast that it has the best view of any hotel in the area. The Hampton Inn of Marquette is right on the waterfront of Lake Superior.

Ramada Inn Marquette
For the perfect downtown experience, we recommend staying at the Ramada, which is on Washington Street in the heart of Marquette’s shopping district.

Staybridge Suites Marquette
This upscale extended stay hotel is located near both Northern Michigan University and the Heritage Trail.


ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Patrick Crowley is a Content Manager with My Michigan Beach. A graduate of Oakland University with a degree in Cinema Studies, he is currently finishing a second in creative writing. Two of his greatest passions are film and the outdoors. When he is not watching movies, you can find him exploring the outdoors. He is delighted to be writing about the great state of Michigan and its many natural wonders.

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