Eat, Stay, Play at Nine Gorgeous Coastal Northern Michigan Destinations

Destination: Wilderness State Park

Photographer: Robert de Jonge

Petoskey locals simply call it “Wilderness,” and for good reason. This behemoth of a state park encompasses 10,000 acres of wetlands, meadows, forests and 26 miles of unspoiled Lake Michigan shoreline. The waterfront is particularly spectacular: sandy on the west end, stony toward the east, and stretching on seemingly forever, it’s a paradise for rock pickers and anyone who’s ever listed “long walks on the beach” among their defining interests. Our favorite way to enjoy Wilderness is to spend the day hiking and wildlife-watching along the park’s miles of meandering trails, then climbing over the low, scrubby dunes on the western edge to watch the sun set over Sturgeon Bay. EAT: Legs Inn is a legendary Polish outpost with a big outdoor deck and wonderful lakefront views (231.526.2281, legsinn.com). STAY: Let the waves send you into sleep by snagging a site at the park’s Lakeshore Campground, which puts you right on the water’s edge (231.436.5381, mdnrreservations.com).

Destination: Copper Harbor, Keweenaw Peninsula

Photographer: Aaron Peterson

One of the best views in the entire state is secreted away in Copper Harbor, Michigan’s northernmost town, at the peak of the Keweenaw Peninsula in the Upper Peninsula. There, rising more than 700 feet above Lake Superior, is Brockway Mountain: a spiny ridge from which, on a clear day, you can see all the way to Canada. Sure, you can get to the top of Brockway by car—but since Copper Harbor is a mountain biking mecca, adrenaline junkies should follow the lead of this honeymooning couple, caught in action while pushing up Edge Trail by photographer Aaron Peterson. Copper Harbor Trails (copperharbortrails.org) currently boasts 25 miles of scenic single-track; this year they break ground on a new route that takes riders out to the rocky, wild, undeveloped tip of the Keweenaw Peninsula for views that will undoubtedly rival the top of Brockway Mountain. EAT: Find hearty breakfasts, locally caught trout and authentic Northwoods charm at Tamarack Lodge (906.289.4522). STAY: Cozy up in one of the sweet little cabins at family-owned Pines Resort, home to an on-site restaurant (with homemade pie) and Zik’s Bar, a favorite watering hole for locals (906.289.4222, pinesresort.net).

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