Spring is here! Five reasons to get outside and play now!

Our warm lake breezes, roaring waterfalls, forest floor of wildflowers time of year is here. Admittedly, spring is one of our quick-as-an-owl-blink seasons. However, if you haven’t been here in May and early June, this is the year to discover why it may become your favorite season to be in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Below are five reasons to pick this season to get outside and play in the U.P. now:

1. Peak waterfalling

March and April snowmelt and rain all give our more than 300 waterfalls a voice — many of them a thunderous roar — in May. Put together a bucket list of falls you want to see then start checking them off over two to three days. Here are eight must-see falls to get started. With hundreds more to choose from, you can return 37 more springs and still not see them all!

Tahquamenon Falls by Ashwin Bhat

Northern Saw-whet Owl by @flatheadpete

2. See more birds

Centuries before vacationers flocked to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, birds began following migratory flight paths across this wilderness region. Nearly 400 distinct bird species have been spotted throughout the U.P., including such rare finds as Kirtland’s Warblers, Western Kingbirds, Brants, Purple Sandpipers and Boreal Owls. This month is a key time to birdwatch. So pack binoculars and a bird field guide, and welcome our feathered friends to the U.P.

Tahquamenon Falls by Ashwin Bhat

Cedars on Fayette Cliffs by freshwateroceanphotos

3. Breathe in the fragrances

The air is so fresh, so alive with nature’s scents in our acres of wilderness. Slow your pace and look around you as you follow trails or low-traffic roads through our awakening forests, fields, bogs and shorelines. Bottlebrush, Canada wildrye, big bluestem grasses, white meadowsweet, blue-eyed grass; smooth oxeye, northern blue flag iris, ringed and common fox sedge and the rare seep monkeyflower are just some of the wildflowers you will spy on your wildflower walks. Download a Michigan wildflower app or connect to this Michigan wildflower database to help you identify your finds.

There are two other flower experiences you won’t want to miss. Mackinac Island’s 73rd Annual Lilac Festival will be June 4-13. There will be guided and self-guided walking tours and special activities celebrating these fragrant blooms. Another must-see is when the Prairie Smoke blossoms on Drummond Island’s Maxton Plains Alvar between mid-May and mid-June. The Alvar is a great place to go birding, too.

Tahquamenon Falls by Ashwin Bhat

Sea Kayaking

4. Paddle great and small lakes, swift and slow waters

When it comes to silent sports, few can compare with the sound of your paddle dipping into the cool waters of the U.P. No matter what your experience level, you can find exhilarating adventures on wildly rapid rivers and three Great Lakes that are so expansive you cannot see any land on the horizon. Or find soothing calmness gliding across a mirror-smooth lake listening to the loons.

We challenge you this spring to try something extraordinary in the U.P. Do yoga on a stand-up paddleboard by the ancient shores of Mackinac Island. Glide over three visible shipwrecks off Drummond Island. Kayak past a giant, ocean-bound freighter as you paddle around Voyageur Island Park in Sault Ste. Marie. Join family or friends for a short ride out to Lake Superior on the Two-Hearted River. Or plan a long adventure on the Lake Superior Hiawatha Water Trail from Munising to Marquette to Big Bay in your sea kayak.

Tahquamenon Falls by Ashwin Bhat

Photo credit: @islandviewresortmi

5. Cast your troubles away

Whether you’re seeking quiet or catch-up time with friends, you can find both while fishing in our waterways this spring. Surrounded by three Great Lakes (Lake Michigan, Lake Superior and Lake Huron), the Upper Peninsula’s freshwater greatness doesn’t stop there. We have 4,300 inland lakes, over 1,700 miles of Great Lakes shoreline and 12,000 miles of rivers and streams for you to wet a line in, too!

We offer a variety of options for fishing enthusiasts. Fly-fish in our rivers and streams for trout and salmon or troll for walleye on our bays or inland lakes. Take your children out bait fishing for bluegill, sunfish or crappies. Or if you just want to sit down to a mess of fresh-caught fish, U.P. restaurants are famous for their Friday night fish fries. The competition to boast being the local favorite is fierce.

Playing outdoors in the U.P. this spring is one of the best things you can do for yourself, your family and friends. It’s refreshing. It’s invigorating. It’s freeing.


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