Nature and history beckon in this charming, pristine corner of Michigan.
At the furthest reaches of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (also known as the U.P.) between Lake Huron and Lake Superior, the picturesque town of Sault Ste. Marie weaves together history and culture with the region’s glorious natural scenery. For anyone who loves the outdoors – from photographers to families to intrepid trekkers – Sault (pronounced “Soo”) Ste. Marie offers loads of water activities and beautiful parks to explore. Throw in a dash of centuries-old history, and you’ll see why Sault Ste. Marie is one of Michigan’s hidden gems.
Soo Locks Tours
Sault Ste. Marie is known for the Soo Locks, specialized devices that raise and lower boats to safely navigate varying water levels. The Soo Locks is the largest system of its kind on the planet, and a boat tour is an absolute must when you visit. Watch colossal freighters drift by juxtaposed against the serene views of the St. Marys River; it’s a jaw-dropping scene where the beauty of nature meets the marvels of human engineering. Walk the nature trails of the surrounding Soo Locks Park and stop by the circa-1899 Weather Bureau Building for a bit of history. Before or after your tour, try a made-to-order crepe and some of the best coffee in town at Oh Crêpe, located near the Soo Locks Visitor Center.
Taking in the views from a Soo Locks boat tour
Point Iroquois Lighthouse
Listed on the National Register of Historic Places, Point Iroquois Lighthouse has stood as the sentinel of Lake Superior since the mid-1800s. Check out the small history museum at the base, then climb the spiral staircase to the top of the 20-meter lighthouse to take photos of Whitefish Bay, the lake and Canada across the water. After your climb, stroll the boardwalk trails that lead to the sandy beach. With the wind whipping through your hair, you’ll feel a million miles away from it all.
Exploring the grounds of the Point Iroquois Lighthouse
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Lace up your hiking shoes and bring a sense of adventure to Tahquamenon (pronounced: Te-Qua-Min-On) Falls State Park, an hour and a half west of Sault Ste. Marie. Upper Tahquamenon Falls features a 15-meter waterfall, 60 meters wide with tannin-colored water. The lower falls boast a lush treeline that is especially showstopping when the leaves turn color in autumn. This area is great for fishing and playing in the water in the summertime. Rent a rowboat from the park concession stand and paddle out to a small island for unparalleled access to the surrounding cascades. In winter, Tahquamenon becomes a snow-covered wonderland ideal for snowmobiling and cross-country skiing. Insider tip: Drive just a few minutes downriver to the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery & Pub for a cold craft beer and a bite to eat.