The far reaches of the Upper Peninsula can often feel like the North Pole. Even though Michigan is not Santa’s home, there is a town that is named after Saint Nick’s favorite holiday. Christmas Michigan is a delightful town with a charming atmosphere and a commitment to celebrating all things merry and bright the entire year.
Where Is Christmas Michigan?
Christmas is a small town in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula that is home to just 400 residents. It is situated on the shores of the Bay Furnace in the northwest corner of the peninsula.
Most people will tell you that you can find this town between Munising and Au Train, which are two larger, more well-known communities in the Upper Peninsula.
However, it’s impossible to miss this town when you are driving by — you are greeted by a larger-than-life roadside Santa Claus statue, so you’ll instantly know you have found the right place.
The History of Christmas Michigan
Today, the town of Christmas is a welcoming community with an intimate atmosphere. Its residents know that the history of the town is rooted in all things Christmas, which is why they are willing to continue the tradition of honoring the December 25th holiday all year.
Christmas Michigan was founded in 1938 after a local man established a factory in which the workers made Christmas gifts and decorations.
At the time, the town was known as Onota, but some other locals decided to rename it after the Christmas factory in hopes of positioning it as a winter vacation destination in Michigan. The factory that started it all is no longer standing, but the town is still anchored by its post office.
The post office is one of the busiest in Michigan during the holiday season because so many people send their packages through there to get that coveted “Christmas” stamp on their envelopes and boxes. It’s the perfect touch to add to holiday gifts that are shipped to family members and friends.
Things to Do in Christmas Michigan
Christmas Michigan is a sleepy town on the shores of Lake Superior, but there are still plenty of things for the entire family to enjoy in this small Upper Peninsula town. These are the best attractions in Christmas Michigan.
Visit Bay Furnace Park on Lake Superior
Bay Furnace Park is an incredible attraction in Christmas that appeals to those who are passionate about history, as well as those who love to surround themselves with the beauty of nature. This is a National Forest and Campground area, making it a unique place to stay and explore in the Upper Peninsula.
The park itself is centered around a massive stone blast furnace that was used throughout the 19th century as an iron smelting kiln. At the time that it was built, the town was called Onota, and nearly everyone in the town worked in the iron and shipping industry. Sadly, a massive fire destroyed the town in 1877, leaving only the furnace behind.
While you can learn more about the ruins of this incredible furnace, you can also walk the trails and absorb the sweeping views of the mighty Lake Superior. This remote park offers peace, privacy, and panoramic vistas that cannot be found anywhere else in the Upper Peninsula.
Go to the Lighthouse at the End of the Road
Santa may be the first iconic attraction that you spot in Christmas Michigan, but this Lake Superior town also boasts its own Upper Peninsula lighthouse.
Known locally as the Lighthouse at the End of the Road, this light is officially named the Grand Island West Channel Rear Range Light. You may also hear it referred to as the Bay Furnace Rear Range Light.
No matter what you call it, this majestic lighthouse is the perfect photo opportunity in Christmas. While it was built in 1914, it still stands guard over the rocky waters of Lake Superior today.
One of the best ways to view this operational lighthouse is to go after dark when you can see its bright light cascading over the dark waves of the lake.
Send a Letter From the Christmas Post Office
No trip to Christmas Michigan would be complete without sending a letter home to get that famous “Christmas” postmark on your envelope.
The Christmas post office is bustling with activity during the holiday season when people from throughout the state and around the country ship their letters and packages through this post office to add an extra touch of festive cheer to their mail.
However, even if you visit during the spring, summer, or fall, you will still enjoy having a letter or package stamped at this post office. It’s the best souvenir to bring home from your stay in Christmas Michigan.
Try Your Luck at the Kewadin Casino
The Kewadin Christmas Casino is a favorite place among adults who are hoping to hit the jackpot in this tiny Michigan town. While there is no hotel inside this casino, there are several nearby options.
Activities & Attractions Near Christmas Michigan
While celebrating the merriest day of the year never gets old, you may want to make time in your itinerary to explore the beautiful area that surrounds Christmas Michigan. Munising is just a short drive away, and you will find some of the most spectacular natural wonders that Michigan has to offer.
Visit the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore might be the most famous natural attraction in the Upper Peninsula and certainly in the Munising Area.
One of the best ways to view these colorful, regal rock formations is to take a Pictured Rocks Cruise, which will take you along the shores of Lake Superior to a vantage point where you can truly take in the rocks.
Also, there are opportunities to kayak near Pictured Rocks, but it’s best to go with a guided tour. Even an experienced paddler may have a difficult time navigating the rocky, unpredictable waters of Lake Superior.
Take a Waterfall Tour
It seems there are waterfalls around every bend in this region, which is why it’s one of the best places to take a Pictured Rocks waterfall tour. Some beautiful waterfalls nearby include:
- Miners Falls
- Munising Falls
- Wagner Falls
- Au Train Falls
Dining Near Christmas Michigan
You’ll likely work up an appetite as large as Santa’s while you are staying in Christmas. These are the best locally-owned restaurants in the community.
For more than 40 years, Foggy’s Steakhouse has been the best place to gather in Christmas and enjoy a hearty meal. This American steakhouse is known for its delicious food, including its fresh fish basket, homemade meatloaf, and fresh walleye dinner.
No matter what you are in the mood for, you will find a meal that you love and a friendly face that is ready to welcome you to Christmas Michigan.
The Duck Pond Eatery & Beer Garden
The Duck Pond Eatery & Beer Garden is located on Uncle Ducky’s property, making it a favorite among campers and paddlers who arrive in Christmas for the summer season.
It is only open seasonally, but it’s still considered one of the best restaurants in town. You will always find craft beer on tap, including many brews that are handcrafted in Michigan. Its menu consists of plenty of seafood, Upper Peninsula treats, and dishes that feature duck.
Where to Stay in Christmas Michigan
The people of Christmas are committed to making this town a vacation destination, so there is no shortage of places to stay. While the iconic Christmas Motel has closed, there are a few lodging options that are still available in Christmas Michigan.
The aptly named Yule Log Resort is one of the most beloved lodging options in Christmas. Consisting of several camping cabins, this resort offers some of the best views of Lake Superior, as well as one of the most magnificent swimming beaches on the shores.
Each cabin at the resort is unique and offers different amenities. Some are situated right on the lakeshore, while others offer larger floor plans, front porches, gas fireplaces, campfires, and more.
The White Pine Lodge is a cozy hotel that is located next door to the Kewadin Christmas Casino, making it one of the most convenient places to stay if you want to access all that Christmas has to offer.
All guests can enjoy the on-site hot tub, and they can start their day with the breakfast that is included in the price of their room. This hotel is popular among all types of travelers in Christmas.
Plan Your Visit to Christmas Michigan
If you are one of those people who would keep your Christmas tree up all year if you could, Christmas is the perfect Michigan holiday town for you to visit any time of the year. Here, there’s always a reason to take a photo with Santa Claus and buy your favorite holiday season treats.