Guide to Keweenaw Solo Travel

Posted on July 1st, 2020

“There was nowhere to go but everywhere, so just keep on rolling under the stars.” Jack Kerouac

Solo travelers can set their own pace and be as ambitious or as laid-back as they want.  If they’re walking by a hole-in-the-wall diner and feel like stopping in for breakfast, they can be deliciously self-indulgent and do it.

Whether you’re a history buff, an adventure enthusiast, or just someone who wants to travel on their own terms, the Keweenaw has a myriad of options.

Benefits of Solo Travel

Solo travel is becoming increasingly popular as its being recognized as an empowering experience. Solo travel allows you to dive into self-exploration and discovery while traveling at your pace. 

The Keweenaw’s rich cultural heritage, spectacular natural beauty, diverse terrain, and remote location (At 251 miles, the small town of Copper Harbor is the longest-distance away from an interstate in the lower 48 states) make it a perfect solo travel destination. Reconnect with nature, leave the hustle and bustle of life behind, and head to the Upper Peninsula of Michigan’s Keweenaw.

Local Slow Travel Recommendations

Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary

Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary protects Michigan’s largest remaining stand of old-growth white pines. The Michigan Nature Association maintains the sanctuary’s 510 acres of virgin cedars, maples, balsam firs.

There are two intersecting trails that wind around 125-foot Eastern White Pines, some of these towering giants being over 300 years old! There are wooden footbridges surrounded by a carpet of pine needles and various species of ferns, moss, and wildflowers. The 2.5 miles of trails are perfect for all ages and skill levels, offering visitors a unique opportunity to step back in time hundreds of years.

Estivant Pines Nature Sanctuary is an immersive sensory experience. A place to calm and slow down racing thoughts, provide your eyes a break from electronics, open your ears to the soothing sounds of a bubbling brook, water trickling down from the leaf canopy, chirping birds, buzzing insects, chipmunks foraging for acorns. Feel the tree bark and velvety moss. Breathe the air—fresh, sweet, and earthy.

How do you get here?

To get here follow US-41 to Copper Harbor and turn right on Second Street. Follow Second Street for 1.2 miles, head left onto Clark Mine Road. Travel 1.2 miles and turn right on Burma Road, travel another .65 miles where you will reach the trailhead with a designated parking area on the left.

A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum Woman views minerals at the A.E. Seaman Mineral Museum

With about 4,000 specimens on display and frequently changing exhibits, the A. E. Seaman Mineral Museum the world’s largest public display of minerals from the Great Lakes. Visitors tour the collection at their own pace, but mineral enthusiasts can easily spend hours exploring rare specimens from around the globe. The museum is the “official Mineralogical Museum of Michigan” and a Heritage Site of the Keweenaw National Historical Park.

How do you get here?

Located on Michigan Technological University’s campus in Houghton, visitors can access the museum’s parking lot off Sharon Drive next to the Sherman Football Field.

F.J. McLain State Park

F.J. McLain State Park is the place to see the Keweenaw Waterway Lighthouse along with the best panoramic views of Lake Superior. You might even get lucky and spot a Great Lakes freighter.

There are two sides to F.J. McLain State Park. On one side you will be able to walk along a breakwall, created from massive boulders, and separating the Keweenaw Waterway and Lake Superior. The other side of the park has acres of wide-open grassy areas perfect for picnics or playing volleyball.

You can get from one side of the park to the other by driving, riding a bike, or taking a walk through the well-maintained trails through the woods or along the two miles of shoreline.

How do you get here?

Take M-203 through Hancock and continue for about 10 miles. There will be a sign for McLain State Park on your left. There is a designated parking area on your right or you can drive in and pay the state park day pass fee.

Conglomerate Falls

Conglomerate Falls is on the slow-moving Gratiot River that cascades over a rough riverbed for approximately 500 yards. The river is approximately ¼ mile and is surrounded by 275 acres of dense forest and an incredible conglomerate rock cliff, with breathtaking views of the surrounding woods and riverbed.

How do you get here?

Proceed north on US-41 about four miles north of Calumet, turn left at the Ahmeek Streetcar Station (Hubbell Street). Go two blocks until you reach Bollman Road, turn onto Bollman (this eventually changes into Five Mile Point Road), Continue until you reach South Farmer’s Block Road (this eventually changes into Tanskanen Road). Continue on this road until you come to Conglomerate Falls Lane. Follow this and continue (don’t turn right or you’ll hit a dead end) until you see a parking area and a sign for the falls. Please drive slowly as this section of road is an easement on private property. For more info on cabin rental or Conglomerate Falls visit here.

White City

Solo paddler prepares to enter Lake Superior at White City Beach

During the 1900s White City was a popular resort that the crème de la crème of society enjoyed. Boats like Plow Boy were tasked with picking up the Copper Country’s finest from the docks in Houghton and bringing them to and from White City.

There was a saloon, five-star restaurant, dance pavilion and live music, and even a theme park with a rollercoaster.

When the copper mines closed, the trains stopped running, and people eventually stopped coming to White City. The once-thriving vacation destination became a ghost town.

Today, while White City is not a popular resort, it’s arguably something a lot better. White City is regarded as one of the Keweenaw’s “best-kept secrets”. It is a phenomenal beach with a long pier that leads out to the Keweenaw Waterway Lighthouse.

How do you get here?

Follow Highway M-26 to Lake Linden. Travel through Lake Linden until you reach the blinking yellow light. Turn right onto Bootjack Road and continue south from Lake Linden to Jacobsville Road, follow to White City Beach. It is approximately 16-miles from downtown Lake Linden to White City Beach.

Portage Lake Paddle Sports

Portage Paddle Sports offers cruiser bicycles, single kayaks, and stand-up paddleboards (SUP) that are perfect to take out on the boardwalk or Portage Canal. If you don’t want to head out onto the canal you could also rent a board or kayak and the can deliver directly to you.

In addition to renting bikes, kayaks, and SUPs, they regularly host SUP Yoga on the canal. Challenge your body, allow your brain to air out while connecting with nature in a whole new way. Many people that try SUP Yoga become hooked. Find an upcoming class by checking out their FB page here.

Keweenaw Coffee Works

Keweenaw Coffee Works is a great place to grab a specialty coffee drink, fresh fruit smoothie (try the Spinach Mango Refresher), pastries, or light lunch fare. They offer a variety of seating and plenty of space to breakout your laptop or relax with a good book.

How do you get here?

Located in historic downtown Calumet. Head north on US-41 until you reach Red Jacket Road. Turn right on Red Jacket Road (it turns into 5th Street), there is a parking lot directly on your right as you pass by the Calumet Visitors Center. Keweenaw Coffee Works will be on your left.

Roy’s Pasties & Bakery

Roy’s Pasties & Bakery is a great spot to grab some breakfast or lunch. Daily lunch specials always include two varieties of made-from-scratch soup. If you’ve never had a pasty (What’s a pasty?) here’s your chance to try one. Roy’s is spacious with plenty of indoor and outdoor seating options.

We can’t talk about Roy’s without mentioning the view—perfect view of the canal and the Portage Lake Lift Bridge. After you’re done eating, head across the street and walk along the waterfront trail.

How do you get here?

Take US-41 through downtown Houghton (it turns into Shelden Ave) and one block before you reach the bridge, turn right onto Quincy Street. Then, turn left onto Lakeshore Drive. Continue on Lakeshore Drive, you’ll go under the bridge, and Roy’s will be on your left.

Something is wrong.
Instagram token error.
Load More
Please read!

This site uses "Cookies" to store limited information required to provide you with a consistent user experience. Click "Show more" for additional information.

Show more Got it!