Looking for things to do in Munising and Marquette, Michigan? Read our review of our three-day weekend in the U.P. for ideas!
We found a number of things to do in Munising and Marquette Michigan’s Upper Peninsula this past weekend. We took a three-day weekend to get out of town and enjoy the fall colors! Our trip was originally booked for the summer, but we ended up rescheduling due to Covid-19. We went with the Uncle Ducky’s Paddling Michigan Chippewa vacation package, which included a three night stay in a safari tent, a lunch cruise/tour of the Pictured Rocks, a kayak trip by the Pictured Rocks, and a self-guided canoe trip down the Au Train river.
This spring, Uncle Ducky’s offered a discount on several vacation packages, including the one we booked. Our bill was $701, including taxes. The packages also included lunch with the cruise, dinner at the Duck Pond Eatery, and breakfast and a sack lunch the day of your kayak trip. Our vouchers were good for any time during the 2020 and 2021 seasons.
I think our review of Uncle Ducky’s Paddling Michigan would be more glowing if it hadn’t been so freaking cold! It was not ideal weather for a boat tour and kayaking. Luckily, we were able to find more things to do in the Munising and Marquette area.
There are a number of vacation packages available at Uncle Ducky’s, each with a different type of “glamping” accommodation. The first option is to stay at the Au Train Beach Campground in either a tent or yurt. NOTE: Au Train Beach does NOT have electricity wired into the tents. Because of this, we opted for the Paddler’s Village site.
We spent our first night, Thursday, in a safari tent. We brought a space heater, but with the temperatures outside hovering around 40 degrees, it couldn’t keep up. Fortunately, we were able to salvage our weekend by upgrading to a yurt with an infrared heater for our following two nights. It was an extra $100, but was well worth it. We were lucky to get a heater as they are not guaranteed and are more of a “first come, first serve” thing. The bathrooms were not the newest, but they were pretty clean for campground bathrooms. They were only a short walk from our yurt.
Out of curiosity, we drove around the area and checked out the other lodging options. The Munising Tourist Park campground is right down the road from Uncle Ducky’s and also on the beach. They offer tent and RV sites that run from $25 to $41 a night. The Munising/Pictured Rocks KOA offers a woodsy environment, pool, and rustic camping cabins. The RV sites average $35 a night, and the camping cabins are about $80 a night. If we were to do this trip again, we would probably stay there. For comparison, the yurt we stayed in runs around $169-$269 a night (gulp). Hotels in the area run around $109 and up.
Things to Do in Munising and Marquette
We stayed busy on our trip and found a number of things to do in the Munising and Marquette area. On Friday, we took our lunch to go from the Duck Pond Eatery. We ate our lunch on the boat tour, which was basically a large pontoon boat with an overhead and a bathroom. The tour took around three hours, in which it took us out by the Pictured Rocks and various other stops around Grand Island. The tour was narrated and provided some interesting history of the island and the Munising area. It was extremely cold on the boat. We would highly recommend taking this trip June through August, rather than September! This trip costs $64 for adults and $54 for children when not purchased as part of a package. As mentioned, lunch was included.
Following our boat tour, we checked out the Upper Peninsula Inspired wine bar. The owners of this wine bar travel to all of the wineries in the U.P. and choose the wines they would like to sell in their store. For $6, you can purchase your choice of tasting glasses, which is yours to take home. The wine tasting is then free and includes a *minimum* of three tastings. We received six generous pours per person. Some of our favorites were the Stone Silo, the Happy Apple, and the Strawberry Rhubarb. They open at 8:00 a.m., should you feel the need to drink at that early hour.
On Saturday, we were scheduled to go kayaking. It was around 50 degrees and very windy, so we decided to go to Marquette that day instead. We stopped at the Paddling Michigan main office in Munising to pick up our breakfast and lunch that were included for that day. We informed the staff of our plans to not kayak that day. To our surprise, they said we could reschedule our trip to anytime during the 2021 season. I received an email shortly after saying our kayak trip had been cancelled (by us), and provided a number to call to reschedule. Uncle Ducky’s gets some major brownie points for having a flexible rescheduling policy. We still have our voucher for the canoe trip as well, which we are planning on using next summer. For reference, the three hour kayak trip runs $169 per person when purchased separately from a package.
Munising–Lakenenland Sculpture Park
If you are looking for free things to do in Munising and Marquette, then don’t miss this little gem. It is a privately owned sculpture park located right off of highway M-28, about 15 miles east of Marquette. It includes a small park and a half mile walking tour of the sculptures, which are pretty unique. Donations are “accepted, but not expected”, according to the sign at the exit.
Rather than kayaking, we headed to Marquette for the day. We started our Saturday by exploring the Marquette Maritime Museum. The museum was $7 a person for the museum tour, or $12 a person for the museum and lighthouse tour. It took us two to three hours to tour the museum. It had a lot of great history about the iron ore industry and ships, as well as shipwrecks. There was a very interesting exhibit about the Edmund Fitzgerald shipwreck–they even have one of the original life preservers from the boat. They have a posted schedule of when the ships come in to be loaded up with iron ore. We missed it, but try to catch one if you can!
Following the museum, we went for a beer at Blackrock Brewery. This is what we would describe as a “hipster” bar. Skis line the fence of the brewery, which seems to cater to the outdoorsy crowd. All of the seating was outdoors and six feet apart. We sat on a ski lift chair which was pretty fun. We split a 16 oz. beer for $3.50. While we didn’t eat there, they had a couple of food trucks. One had craft burgers, and the other had wood-fired pizza, which looked and smelled awesome.
Marquette–Presque Isle Park
Presque Isle Park is a 323-acre park that is open to the public. It is worth checking out, as it has some beautiful rock formations you can walk on to get some great pictures of Lake Superior. Some younger girls informed us that there is one spot consisting of higher rocks that you can jump off of into the lake. Apparently, it is a pretty popular thing to do. If this is on your list of things to do in Marquette, keep in mind that the average temperature of Lake Superior is 40 degrees Fahrenheit!
We ate at some interesting places on our trip. I tried pasty for the first time, which is a big deal in the U.P.! We stopped at Dobber’s Pasties in Escanaba, MI on the way up. They have six kinds of pasty–I had a pizza one and Jason went with ham and cheese. It was pretty good! Kind of like a combination of a Hot Pocket, a calzone, and a pot pie. They offer shipping to all 50 states, so if you are a big fan of their pasties, you can send them to all of your friends and family.
Included with our package was lunch and dinner at the Duck Pond Eatery, which was right by Paddler’s Village. The food here was really good. Over the course of our stay we tried the bbq pork sandwiches, fish tacos, and jalapeno burger. They were all really tasty and provided huge portions of sweet potato tots. Keep in mind that they seemed to run a little slow, so be sure to get there plenty early if you are hoping to catch your tour boat.
On the way home, we stopped at Mickey-Lu-Bar-B-Q in Marinette, WI. This is a cute, old-school diner that would be right at home along historic Route 66. Jason had a double cheeseburger and a chocolate malt and I had a cheeseburger and a butterscotch shake. Our meal cost about $15 and was delicious. Note that the burgers are a little small, so be sure to get a double if you have a big appetite. They do not take credit cards, but do have an ATM on site.
Did we leave out any amazing things to do in Munising and Marquette? Feel free to share them below!
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Need a rental car for your trip? Check out Fox, Dollar, and Thrifty car rental as they usually have the best deals.