Summer is an awesome time to visit the Upper Peninsula, and there’s so much to do in Marquette.
You would think that 15.5 to 16 hours of daylight is plenty of time to experience everything, but time flies faster than you think. You might need to plan carefully in order to fit everything that you want to do into your itinerary.
To aid your planning, we’ve put together a list of the best summer things to do in Marquette Michigan.
Swimming & Water Sports During Summer in Marquette MI
A favorite among locals alike, McCarty’s Cove is like a scene out of a movie with the Marquette Harbor Lighthouse within view.
This magnificent beach is small, but the sandy shoreline is a great place to get some fresh air and take a dip in the water, which is slightly warmer than other Lake Superior beaches because of the cove.
A lifeguard is on duty during the summer, and you can swim out to the rock islands and lagoon. Also, the cove features benches, a playground, volleyball nets, and a picnic area.
Clark Lambros Beach Park
The newest beach in Marquette, Clark Lambros Beach Park is a sandy shoreline along Presque Isle Harbor. It’s accessible for wheelchairs, giving everyone a chance to enjoy the water, and there’s an accessible kayak launch on the Dead River.
During the summer, a lifeguard is on duty. On top of that, the beach has boardwalks, barbecues, picnic tables, foot wash stations, and restroom facilities.
Presque Isle Park
On the peninsula to the northeast of downtown Marquette, Presque Isle Park has a few pebble beaches. When the waters are calm, swimming and paddleboating are the most refreshing summer things to do in Marquette Michigan.
You can easily launch a canoe, kayak, or stand-up paddleboard into Lake Superior on the east side.
On the north side of Presque Isle, you can go cliff jumping from Black Rocks. This ancient rock formation is about 1.7 billion years old and stands 20-30 feet above the water’s surface.
Little Presque Isle
About 7 miles northwest of downtown Marquette, Little Presque Isle is worth the short drive. Frequently called the crown jewel of Lake Superior, the peninsula has sandy beaches, heavily timbered forests, and rugged cliffs.
You can go swimming, hiking, and wildlife viewing all in one place. At night, you have the chance to see the Northern Lights.
Hiking Trails in Marquette, MI
Presque Isle Park
For low-impact hiking, walk the 2-mile Peter White Dr. loop that circles Presque Isle Park. It’s open to foot traffic and closed to vehicles at certain times of the day.
The paved road is open to bikes as well. Additionally, you can hike the John B. Anderton Trail System that winds through the 323 acres of forested area, or explore the Bog Walk and Nature Trail while learning about plants and wildlife on the interpretive signs.
Another activity at the park is climbing The Pinnacle, which is a rock formation located just past the observation deck.
At Sugarloaf Mountain, you can hike the main 1.2-mile trail loop to the three summit viewing platforms, each of which gives you a different view of the city and surrounding area. The trail is marked well and of moderate difficulty.
If you want a challenge, a more difficult trail is available. In fact, the entire area has 3,200 feet of paths and trails. Also at the top is a stone obelisk that commemorates the life of Bartlett King, a Boy Scout scoutmaster who died in WWI.
Dead River Falls
Although flatter than Sugarloaf Mountain, the hike to Dead River Falls is still a moderate challenge. The waterfall is less than a 15-minute drive from downtown, and the hike is only about 1 mile.
The falls cascade over a rocky gorge, outcroppings, and dramatic rock cuts, dropping more than 90 feet total. As a result, you get one of the best waterfall adventures in the UP.
For a real hiking challenge, take on Hogback Mountain, one of the most adventurous summer things to do in Marquette Michigan. The 5-mile trail is strenuous, especially the last half-mile, and takes about 90 minutes. However, the journey is fun and rewarding at the end.
Once you reach the summit, you get a panoramic view of the rugged forests below and the blue waters of Lake Superior in the distance. Plus, summer is the best time to go.
Marquette, MI Biking Trails
Marquette Multi-Use Path
Stretching for more than 17 miles, the multi-use path in Marquette is ideal for cyclists. The paved network runs next to the Lake Superior shoreline from the wooded paths in the city’s south end to the Ore Dock and then to Presque Isle in the north end.
Along the way, the path passes through some of the most historic and scenic parts of Marquette. At one end, the path connects to the South Trails Trailhead of the Noquemanon Trail Network. There are several points of access — Presque Isle Park, Mattson Park, Shiras Park, South Beach Park, and Founders Landing Park.
Iron Ore Heritage Trail
For mountain bikers and hikers, the Iron Ore Heritage Trail is about 47 miles and stretches from Ishpeming, through Marquette, to Harvey.
This multi-use, interpretive trail crosses the Marquette Iron Range, and the urban sections of the path are paved. Other parts of the trail are made of crushed aggregate, dirt, and sand.
Marquette Mountain Resort
For mountain biking, hiking, and rock climbing in one place, Marquette Mountain Resort is one of the most diverse summer things to do in Marquette Michigan. You can push your limits on the various biking trails, and challenge your hiking skills on the rocky, rugged terrain.
Climbing the 70-foot quartzite rock face of Cliffs Ridge, where a trail leads to a set of top ropes, is another activity at the resort.
Noquemanon Trail Network North Trails
Including more than 30 miles of nonmotorized single-track, the North Trails of the NTN is perfect if you like biking in the dirt.
The trails follow Dead River from Marquette Tourist Park to Forestville Trailhead and Campground. The trails are scenic, flowy, and fun for all skill levels.
More Outdoor Sports in Marquette, MI
Rather than bike in the wild, natural areas of Marquette, take your biking skills to Marquette BMX. The American Bicycle Association has rated the bike park one of the Top 10 in the East Region.
In particular, kids love racing and taking the jumps. Children and adults of all ages will have fun biking here.
Powder Mill Disc Golf
If you like disc golf, head to the Powder Mill course at the Kaufman Sports Complex. This disc golf course is the first professionally designed course.
It has 18 holes and is located on the Dead River and amid forested ridges and rock outcroppings. The holes (baskets) range from 120 to 525 feet from the tees.
Gentz’s Homestead Golf Course
For traditional golf, Gentz’s Homestead Golf Course is only about 10 minutes southeast of downtown Marquette. Opened in 1998, the 18-hole course was professionally designed by Don Childs and features a driving range.
Golfing here is one of the most relaxing summer things to do in Marquette Michigan, and renting clubs, balls, and carts are affordable.
Downtown Marquette & Leisure Outdoor Attractions
Featuring a slew of small businesses, it’s fun to peruse downtown Marquette’s shopping scene. The shops have a little bit of everything, so you’ll enjoy the shopping trip no matter your interests.
Some favorites include Boomerang Retro & Relics, Scandinavian Gifts, Getz’s, The Gathered Earth Gift Store, and Revival.
Downtown Marquette Farmers Market
You’ll find vendors with goods of all kinds at the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market. The market is hosted at the Marquette Commons every Wednesday and Saturday through the summer.
The vendors set up in tents and sell an array of fresh produce, eggs and dairy, meat, flowers and plants, baked goods, handmade jewelry, and artisan goods.
Lakenenland Sculpture Park
For some free, entertaining fun in Marquette for the whole family, visit the unique Lakenenland Sculpture Park. You can even take your dog. The artist, Tom Lakenen, has built more than 100 sculptures using scrap iron over the last five years.
The park has a Sculpture Trail that winds through the woods and passes all of the colorful, whimsical sculptures. The 37 acres features a bog walk, huge pavilion, picnic area, playground, and two stages for live entertainment too.
Picnicking Around Marquette
With a lot of public green space, picnicking is one of the most accessible summer things to do in Marquette Michigan. You have endless options for amenities and scenery — such as the beach at McCarty’s Cove or the top of Sugarloaf Mountain.
You can either make your own food or grab takeout from one of the many restaurants in Marquette Michigan.
Events & Festivals
Throughout the summer, Marquette hosts a number of events and festivals. July is particularly busy with Food Fest, the Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival, Art on the Mountain, and the Blueberry Festival. In August, you could attend HarborFest, a 2-day music festival that’s totally free.
Frequently Asked Questions About Summer Things to Do in Marquette Michigan
What are some things to do in downtown Marquette, MI?
Aside from shopping at boutiques in downtown Marquette, you can shop at the Downtown Marquette Farmers Market.
Are there any hidden gems in Marquette, MI?
Although not hidden, McCarty’s Cove and Presque Isle Park are two of Marquette’s prized gems. Lakenenland Sculpture Park is another place that we consider a gem.
What are some romantic things to do in Marquette, MI?
Taking a picnic can certainly be a romantic activity in Marquette, as can watching the sunset from a beach at Presque Isle Park or Little Presque Isle.
Are there free things to do in Marquette, MI?
Marquette has several free activities in the summer. Some of these include spending time on a beach, hiking or mountain biking a trail with your own gear, having a picnic, going to Lakenenland Sculpture Park, or attending a festival.
Are there summer things to do in Marquette at night?
In the evening, it’s fun to spend time on the beach in Marquette. Little Presque Isle is especially nice because you can see the Northern Lights if you go late enough.