GreatSandBay cullenreed Spend a Day in Eagle Harbor MI on the Keweenaw Peninsula
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Spend a Day in Eagle Harbor MI on the Keweenaw Peninsula

This Michigan bucket list item is brought to you by Keweenaw Convention & Visitors Bureau.

With a rugged coastline, the Keweenaw’s Eagle Harbor MI is an awesome place to explore. It’s positioned in the middle of the boating route from Duluth to Sault Ste. Marie on Lake Superior. So, it was once a popular port of call for sailors who would stop to get supplies for the second half of the trip. However, there’s more to this quaint community than just its harbor.

11 Places to Visit & Things to Do in Eagle Harbor Michigan

From beaches and hiking trails to museums and mine tours, you could spend several days learning about and enjoying the great things to do in Eagle Harbor Michigan on the Keweenaw Peninsula in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. We’ve selected several terrific options to help you plan a visit this summer.

 

1. Eagle Harbor Beach

The elongated beach on Eagle Harbor may be smaller than most, but it’s gorgeous and serene. The view is reason alone to go, and you can see the historic Eagle Harbor Lighthouse down the shoreline. The best part is that it doesn’t get a lot of waves because of how the land nearly closes around it. The only parking available is along the street, but there are public restrooms, a picnic area, and carry-in boat access.

EagleHarborLighthouse knudsenjm Spend a Day in Eagle Harbor MI on the Keweenaw Peninsula
photo courtesy of @knudsenjm

2. Eagle Harbor Light

Not far from the beach and on the northwest corner of the harbor, you can see Eagle Harbor Lighthouse standing tall, presenting a beautiful photo opportunity. The original wooden structure was built in 1951 to assist with ship navigation through the harbor during the copper mining boom. In 1971, it was replaced with the current brick tower.

The Keweenaw County Historical Society has maintained the light station complex since 1982. The facilities consist of the lighthouse, Maritime Museum, Keweenaw History Museum, Commercial Fishing Museum, and U.S. Coast Guard Station garage. The Maritime Museum has an observation deck from which you can see ships on the horizon. For 2021, the historical society expects to open the complex to the public on June 20 and remain open through the rest of the summer.

3. Mt. Baldy/Lookout Mountain

At 730 feet above Lake Superior, Mt. Baldy (also known as Lookout Mountain or Mount Lookout) near Lake Bailey offers an amazing panoramic view of the lakes and Keweenaw Peninsula. Located in the Helmut and Candis Stern Preserve, it’s the biggest and least disturbed of the few balds that remain in the area. The rare plant species and array of birds and other wildlife make this exposed bedrock unique. You can park in the designated gravel parking lot and follow the 3-mile trail to the summit. Because of the moderate to difficult terrain, the hike can take two hours.

4. Delaware Copper Mine Tours

If you want to look at what it was like to mine for copper, Delaware Copper Mine Tours lets you walk through a former copper mine. The mine is located in Delaware, which is a historic ghost town, and it only takes about 10 minutes to drive there. It’s the oldest attraction in the town, and you can read about it on informational signs in the tunnels. After the self-guided tour, head to the gift shop where the owners can tell you even more. The owner has a pet skunk in the gift shop too — an additional source of entertainment for all ages.

5. Scenic Drive Along M-26

You can take a scenic drive along the Lake Superior shoreline via M-26. The road runs between Eagle River (less than 15 minutes southwest of Eagle Harbor) and Copper Harbor (about 25 minutes northeast). Actually, it passes right through the heart of Eagle Harbor. There’s a host of beaches, parks, hiking trails, waterfalls, and more along the route, including the next five items on this list!

Jampot peterklein77 Spend a Day in Eagle Harbor MI on the Keweenaw Peninsula
photo courtesy of @peterklein77

6. The Jampot

Using a bourbon preservation method, the Jampot operated by the monks of Holy Transfiguration Skete is well known for its delicious wild berry preserves and other gourmet jellies and jams. Since selling its first jar in 1986, the shop has added handmade candies and chocolates, cookies, muffins, fruitcakes, and other baked goods to its shelves. You can even buy gift boxes.

The Jampot is located less than 10 minutes southwest of Eagle Harbor, and Jacob’s Falls is just 30 to 50 yards away. This 20-foot waterfall is visible from the roadside, and it’s not the only falls along Jacobs Creek. Eventually, the creek reaches Lake Superior.

Only a minute up M-26 is an unexpectedly impressive view — the Holy Transfiguration Skete Society of St. John. The building of the monastery has three exquisite copper domes that really stand out.

7. George Hite Dunes & Marshes Preserve

A hidden gem that’s beloved by locals, the George Hite Dunes & Marshes Preserve has a loose network of hiking trails through a wooded nature area. You can access the trail network via the Redwyn Dunes Nature Sanctuary right next to the preserve. Located just 2 minutes up M-26 from the Jampot, there’s a pull-off on the right side of the road where you can park — look for the Michigan Nature Area sign. If you reach Great Sand Bay, you’ve just missed the pull-off.

GreatSandBay cullenreed Spend a Day in Eagle Harbor MI on the Keweenaw Peninsula
photo courtesy of @cullenreed_

8. Great Sand Bay

Speaking of … Great Sand Bay offers more hiking trails. It’s located just 1 minute up M-26 from the sanctuary/preserve pull-off. The bay is a delightful place to look for agates and other rocks, and it’s home to wind-swept dunes. It has a great swimming beach. Also, there are enough waves to surf, so don’t forget your surfboard and wetsuit. You could even stay until sunset to catch a stunning view.

9. Eagle Harbor Lifesaving Station and Museum

A small detour off M-26 takes you to Eagle Harbor Lifesaving Station and Museum. After you pass through the heart of Eagle Harbor, it’s only about 5 minutes northwest. It’s located near the marina, and you may be able to see it across the bay from the beach.

The museum honors the brave people who put their lives at risk to save others from shipwrecks on Lake Superior. Inside is a glass-enclosed viewing area with a restored boathouse. A display provides information about the crew’s most famous rescue of 24 people and a dog from the L.C. Waldo steamboat wreck in 1913. Nine rescuers were awarded Gold Medals for their heroism, the highest honor for the Life Saving Service, which became the U.S. Coast Guard just two years later.

10. Silver River Falls

Less than 10 minutes along M-26 from the Lifesaving Station and Museum, Silver River Falls is a 15-foot wide waterfall near the west end of Brockway Mountain Drive (more below). The lower falls trail is easier to access than the longer hike to the upper falls, but the longer hike has a more rewarding view.

The falls start a short walk downstream at a series of rapids. The stream divides at the falls and drops about 7 feet into a small pool below. Just across the road is a small park with picnic grills and tables.

11. Scenic Ride Along Brockway Mountain Drive

While M-26 offers picturesque views along the way, Brockway Mountain Drive has the most scenic ride in the area. In fact, it’s consistently ranked one of the best scenic drives in the Upper Peninsula. Stretching just 9.5 miles, it’s an alternate route to Copper Harbor and the highest drive above sea level between the Rocky Mountains in the West and the Allegheny Mountains in West Virginia.

There are several places to stop along the way that offer incredible views of inland lakes and Lake Superior. One is a pull-off near a preserve sign that has an excellent view of Mt. Baldy. At Brockway Mountain Wildlife Sanctuary, you can walk a nearly 1-mile trail over exposed lava and conglomerate. Another ideal stop is James H. Klipfel Memorial Nature Sanctuary, which has a moderately difficult ¾-mile trail that loops around an outlook. Brockway Mountain Drive offers fantastic Northern Lights viewing as well.

Where to Eat as You Explore

While you drive around Eagle Harbor and Keweenaw Peninsula, there are several restaurants with good food. Eagle Harbor Inn has new owners who have raised the bar for dining. Some and popular menu items include calamari, barbecue ribs, lobster pizza, and pesto burgers. You can order fun cocktails too, such as the Chi Chi, frozen almond joyful, Moscow mule, and peach margarita.

In Eagle River, the Fitzgerald’s Hotel & Restaurant is known for its eclectic menu with barbecue and an outstanding selection of local beer. It also serves cocktails, whiskey, and wine.

In Copper Harbor, Keweenaw Mountain Lodge is on the state of Michigan and the national historical registers. The Lodge was designated a state historical location in 1976 and designated a national historical location in 1980. The Dining Room is widely known for prime rib but has a very creative menu. In addition, you can get craft gourmet coffee at the Little Cabin Cafe. Or grab beer, cocktails, and wine at The Bar.

Another Copper Harbor favorite is the Harbor Haus Restaurant, which serves Austrian-inspired cuisine. The vast menu includes steaks, seafood, and more. However, it’s best known for pork schnitzel. From the bar, you can get German beer, cocktails, and a variety of wines.

Best Lodging Options in Eagle Harbor

Eagle Harbor has a few great places to stay while you’re exploring the Keweenaw Peninsula, but two really stand out to us. Eagle Harbor Inn has comfortable lodging, and we’ve already mentioned the wonderful food. You can even bring your dog. Lake Breeze Resort is a historic lodge a short walk from Eagle Harbor Lighthouse. Since it’s right on the water, you get a panoramic view of Lake Superior.

Just off M-26 about 20 minutes from Eagle Harbor, check out Fresh Coast Cabins near Copper Harbor. The nine cabins are only steps away from the beach with 50-mile views in both directions. Cell and Wi-Fi service are poor, making it the perfect spot to get away from it all.

These are only a few of our favorites. You can take a look at more places to stay in and around Eagle Harbor here.

Photos of Eagle Harbor and the Keweenaw Peninsula

 

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3 Comments

  1. I have been coming to Eagle Harbor my entire life, and now have a cabin here. I also worked for several summers at the Keweenaw Mountain Lodge AND grew up visiting there with my family. It was built in the 1930’s by the WPA.

  2. Could you please correct the date listed when the original bark structure was built near the current lighthouse in Eagle Harbor? That would be 1851, not 1951. The date listed for the building of the current lighthouse structure is shown above one of the doors on the actual building…1871.
    Thanks.

  3. Please, everyone who reads this list of things to do and see around the Keweenaw Peninsula, please remember to “leave no trace”, and “pack it in/pack it out”. That includes proper disposal of litter, including cigarette butts (not on the beach!!), and picking up after the dogs! Thank you!

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