On the shores of Lake Superior sits the charming town of Copper Harbor, Michigan. The Keweenaw Peninsula is one of the best places to base yourself with all the wonderful things to do in Copper Harbor.
With stunning waterfalls, scenic drives, and cozy places to eat, there is no shortage of attractions in Copper Harbor to fill a long weekend or even a week. Below is our list of the must-do activities in Copper Harbor and the Keweenaw.
Top Attractions in Copper Habor, Michigan
Depending on which season you visit, there are many more things to do in and around Copper Harbor, but these 15 stops should be on everyone’s list.
Fall is one of our favorite times to visit, Mid to Late September is the perfect time for a fall colors road trip in the Keweenaw. While winter brings even more opportunities for outdoor adventures like skiing, snowmobiling, and ice fishing.
Spring comes pretty late around here, and you might as well call summer from the time the snow melts in May until the leaves change. Summer brings mountain bikers, hikers, and fisherman to Copper Harbor and all the beautiful nature surrounding it.
1. Visit the Waterfalls near Copper Harbor
Copper Harbor is home to jaw-dropping landscapes and spectacular scenery in Michigan. That includes the cascading waterfalls, which are considered to be some of the most stunning natural attractions in the area. While there are over 20 different waterfalls around Copper Harbor, there are three prominent falls that you shouldn’t miss during your trip.
The Hungarian Falls (pictured above) is located near State Highway 26. This waterfall chain has three drops, with the largest cascading down over 50 feet directly into the flowing Dover Creek. The other two falls are roughly 20 feet, which is still an impressive sight to see during the rainy season.
During the summer, the three drops in Hungarian Falls are practically dry, which means you won’t see anything more than a light trickle along the cliffs of the rocky gorge.
The proximity of Jacob’s Falls to the M-26 highway makes it one of the most popular waterfalls to visit in Copper Harbor. You can easily pull over to the side of the road and enjoy a close-up view of this waterfall’s 20-foot drop.
If you have extra time, it’s worth hiking inland to see a series of two more waterfalls along Jacob’s Creek. The trail along the side of the gorge can be steep, although if you reach the top, you’ll be rewarded with picturesque views of the other smaller drops in the area.
If you’re heading to or from Copper Falls on the M-26 Highway, you can make a quick stopover at Eagle River Falls. This roadside waterfall can be easily accessed by a small footbridge suspended high above the Eagle River, which means you’ll have plenty of photo opportunities right in front of the waterfall itself.
At the top of the cliff is a dam that was used to power the Lake Superior Safety Fuse Factory. In the spring (when the river is at its highest), the stream from the cascading falls can actually go over the dam.
2. Brockway Mountain Drive
As one of the most scenic roads in Copper Harbor, the Brockway Mountain Drive is a must for any road tripper traveling through Michigan. This 9.5-mile drive is the highest road between the Rockies and the Alleghenies.
It starts on the M-26 highway and winds along the crest of the Brockway Mountains along the Keweenaw Fault. From here, you’ll ascend over 1,320 feet, where you’ll enjoy dramatic coastal views over Copper Harbor and Lake Superior. If you’re visiting on a clear, sunny day, you might also be able to catch a glimpse of Isle Royale from the mountain peaks.
Along the way, you’ll have several lookouts where you can get out of your car for a quick stretch or photo op. If you’re looking for a bigger adventure, there are smaller back roads that take you off the beaten track into the tree-lined forests.
While some of the roads are in better condition than others, it’s still an excellent experience for those who want to immerse themselves in nature. It’s important to remember that Brockway Mountain Drive is seasonal, which means it’s closed for winter due to snowfall.
3. Copper Harbor Lighthouse
Situated in the heart of the Fort Wilkins Historic State Park, the impressive Copper Harbor Lighthouse looms over the Keweenaw Peninsula. It was originally built in 1848, though it wasn’t operational until 1866. In 1933, the lighthouse was deactivated and replaced by a more modern skeleton tower with a higher focal plane and longer light range.
Nowadays, the Copper Harbor Lighthouse contains a maritime history museum about the lighthouse and Lake Superior, which is owned and operated by the Michigan Department of History, Arts, and Libraries.
4. Eagle Harbor Lighthouse
Guarding over the entrance to Eagle Harbor is the Eagle Harbor Lighthouse, which is easily one of the most beautiful lighthouses in the Copper Harbor area. The lighthouse was originally built in 1851, although it was replaced several years later by the iconic red-brick building that currently stands there today.
For almost a hundred years, the lighthouse was operated by lightkeepers until it became automated in 1980.It’s still a functioning lighthouse to this day and is operated by the US Coast Guard. During your visit, you can also stop by the maritime museum, commercial fishing museum, and Keweenaw history museum which are all located on the same property.
5. Five Mile Point Drive
The 5 Mile Point Drive is a tranquil, scenic drive that snakes along the breathtaking shores of Lake Superior. It starts on the eastern side of Eagle River and ends in the southern part of the Merganser Pond Natural Area.
Although the drive is relatively short, it boasts some of the best vantage points along Copper Harbor. One of the most prominent attractions along the way is the Sand Hills Lighthouse. The Lighthouse was decommissioned in 1954 and converted into a bed and breakfast hotel in the early 90s.
6. Go to Jampot Bakery
If you’re looking for delicious homemade treats like pastries, jams, and cakes, then look no further than Jampot Bakery. Started in 1986 by local monks, Jampot Bakery has grown to become one of the most famous bakeries in all of Michigan.
From the wild berry preserves and brandy-soaked fruit cakes to the chocolatey cashew brittles and fresh fruit pound cakes, everything on the menu is handmade with the finest local and organic ingredients.
They even have a monthly coffee subscription where you can receive freshly roasted beans directly to your doorstep back home. Best of all, the proceeds from the bakery support the local Byzantine Monastery Church.
7. M26 drive
The 96-mile M-26 Highway is one of the busiest roads in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan. However, it also happens to be one of the most scenic, especially when you reach the northern section near Copper Harbor.
The highway runs parallel between Lake Superior and the Keweenaw Peninsula, treating visitors to panoramic views of some of the most spectacular landscapes in Michigan. Along the way, you’ll drive past Eagle Harbor and cross the 152-foot Eagle River Timber Bridge.
From Eagle Harbor, you’ll have the chance to detour to the Brockway Mountain Drive, another scenic road that takes you to the tops of the magnificent Brockway Mountains. The M-26 highway ends at Copper Harbor near the Isle Royale Queen Ferry terminal.
8. Eat at the Harbor Haus
With dramatic water views and delectable gourmet dishes, the Harbor Haus is continuously rated as one of the best restaurants in Copper Harbor. We recommend grabbing a seat on the outdoor patio, where you can soak up the fresh air and have a front-row seat to the kayakers and boaters cruising along the lake.
The extensive menu is a modern spin on German and Austrian cuisine, with a heavy emphasis on fresh, locally caught seafood. Wood-grilled lake trout, butter-poached lobster tails, breaded schnitzel, and roasted duckling are just a few main entrées you’ll find on the menu.
9. Snap a Photo at the Starting Point of the US Hwy 41
Although it’s not as famous as the iconic Route 66, the US Highway 41 is still considered one of the more iconic highways in America. The route starts right here in Copper Harbor and travels over 2,000 miles south to Miami, Florida.
In Copper Harbor, you’ll find a wooden sign that denotes the start of the highway. There’s a short story on the sign that explains how the Michigan road system started as Native American footpaths for explorers and missionaries who traveled through the area.
You don’t have to make the long journey south to appreciate the importance of this iconic highway!
10. Quincy Mine Tour
The Keweenaw Peninsula has a long history as America’s first mining region. This history can be explored at the Quincy Mines, which operated from 1846 to 1945.
During your visit to the mines, you can tour the buildings and grounds, including the Number 2 Hoist House and the 7th-level underground mine. Visitors will take the Quincy and Torch Lake Cog Railway (the only rack railway tram in America) in order to reach the entrance of the mines.
11. Get a Pasty
Amy J’s is a household name for visitors and locals. This small bakery sells some of the best Pasties in the Keweenaw. These handheld pies contain a mixture of beef, potatoes, carrots, and turnips baked inside a hot, buttery, flakey crust.
They were originally made for miners to take with them in their pockets to work. In addition to the classic beef pasties, Amy J’s also serves vegetarian pasties, homemade bread, and other mouthwatering sweet treats. There are only two tables inside the bakery, so your best bet is to grab a few pasties that you can enjoy on the go on your way up to Copper Harbor.
Another option for a Pasty in Copper Harbor is at the Tamarack Inn. They have a full restaurant menu and make more than just pastys for lunch or dinner while visiting Copper Harbor.
12. Grab a Beer at Brickside Brewery
As the only microbrewery in Copper Harbor, the Brickside Brewery is a must-visit for any beer lover. Although it may not look like much from the outside, the Brickside Brewery is a fun, local joint that brews its own porter, stout, blondes, and pale ales right there on site.
The brewery feels more like a local dive bar, and you’ll find everyone hanging out outside, chatting and sampling whatever brews are on tap that day. If you’re driving through Copper Harbor, it’s worth stopping by the Brickside Brewery to mingle with the locals while enjoying a refreshing, ice-cold beverage!
13. Go Mountain Biking
The wild, scenic, and downright thrilling mountain biking trails in Copper Harbor are part of a designated IMBA Silver Level Ride Center. The entire trail system is comprised of over 37 miles of track, which snake through some of the most picturesque landscapes in Michigan.
You’ll bike through forests and mountains and along the rugged coast of Lake Superior’s shoreline. While most of the trails are designed for intermediate bikers, there are also several tracks for experienced riders (Paul’s Plunge and Flying Squirrel) and first-timers (Fort Wilkins Trail).
Don’t worry if you’re not big on cycling – other trails are also open to hikers, photographers, bird-watchers, and berry pickers.
14. Lac La Belle
Once the center of Michigan’s booming copper mining industry, Lac La Belle has now transformed to become one of the most popular resort towns in the state.
You’ll find the beautiful Lac La Belle Lake, which empties into Lake Superior. Tree-lined forests, rugged mountains, and charming cottages surround the lake’s perimeter, attracting visitors seeking an escape from the hustle and bustle of nearby cities.
At the heart of Lac La Belle is Mount Bohemia, a winter mecca for advanced skiers and snowboarders.
15. Mount Bohemia
Although many of the natural sights around Copper Harbor are best seen during the spring and summer months, Mount Bohemia is one of Copper Harbor’s most stunning winter attractions.
Mount Bohemia is a popular ski resort town with an average yearly snowfall of over 270 inches. The mountain is home to two chairlifts, 95 runs, and over 580 acres of skiing paradise.
Visit the Nordic Spa at Mount Bohemia
After a long day of driving and sightseeing, you might want to treat yourself to a little bit of peace and relaxation! The Nordic Spa is located on Mount Bohemia, which is a popular ski resort town and community 15 miles south of Copper Harbor.
Here, you’ll find steam rooms, Finnish saunas, outdoor hot tubs and pools, refreshing waterfalls, and plenty of indoor spaces and meditation rooms for relaxation.
For a truly authentic Nordic experience, it’s recommended to spend 15 minutes in a hot environment (sauna or hot tub) and 30 seconds in a cold climate (cold pool or waterfall) before taking a 15 minute period to rest. Many people swear that repeating the cycle three times will result in a more relaxed and rejuvenated mind, body, and soul!