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Fayette Historic State Park in the winter

An Escanaba itinerary for traveling partners who don’t enjoy outdoor sports

There’s an adage that opposites attract. But this can be a challenge when two traveling companions have different ideas of fun. If you love outdoor sports and your favorite traveling partner does not — or the other way around — the temptation is to take separate vacations. That’s not necessary when you come to Escanaba.

Escanaba is a four-season paradise for outdoor sports enthusiasts

It’s tough to surpass the outdoor recreation choices in Escanaba. Hiking, off-roading, golfing, fishing, boating, paddling, snowmobiling, downhill and cross-country skiing, tubing, ice racing … the list goes on and on.

It’s also perfect for travelers who dislike outdoor sports

If your idea of fun isn’t sitting on the ice for hours waiting for fish to bite, chasing a white ball across gorgeous fairways, or wiping mud off your helmet face mask so you can see the next curve on rugged ATV trails — come have a good time in Escanaba. Encourage your sports-loving partner to go have fun while you do your favorite things instead. Then set a time to get back together to swap stories about the best parts of your day.

This three-day itinerary is a start for creating your non-sports vacation.

Day One

Van Cleve Beach in the summer.

Hang out by the water

In the Escanaba area, you are only minutes from some of the most beautiful beaches, rivers and streams in the Upper Peninsula. It’s easy to claim your spot along the 200 miles of Delta County’s Lake Michigan shoreline.

Take a leisurely walk along the water’s edge. Read; write stories or poetry; paint or photograph the spectacular scenery; play your guitar; enjoy a picnic; watch a gorgeous sunrise or sunset on the bays; and stargaze. Also, catch a U.P. nap, it is very refreshing.

Scenic fall drive.

Take a scenic drive

You don’t have to hike, bike or ORV to be awed by the seasonal scenery. Here are three favorite drives to enjoy from the comfort of your vehicle:

  • Garden Peninsula Tour: From US 2, follow M-128 south past orchards, Fayette Historic State Park and Townsite and some of our most secluded beaches.
  • Stonington Peninsula Tour: From US 2, take County Road 513 T south to the historic Peninsula Point Lighthouse. If you are here from late August to mid-September, park your vehicle to see hundreds of migrating monarch butterflies.
  • Escanaba River Tour: Start upstream from Dam 3 on County Road 420. A nearby access area provides a view of the impounded water. Then follow County Road 426 through farming country to Cornell. Watch for whitetail deer in the fields and bald eagles soaring over the river. After passing through Cornell, County Road 519 again crosses the flat limestone bed of the Escanaba River. Turn right onto St. Nicholas 31st Road and go through Perkins and into Gladstone to look out from the bluff at the sparkling waters of Little Bay de Noc.

Day Two

Visit a museum or historic neighborhood with intriguing stories

The story of Escanaba is as old as the ancient limestone bluffs that tower above the Bays de Noc. It is as enduring as our first Ojibway families who named their village Escanaba. Or as inspiring as the gutsy men and women who built this area. Take part in our ongoing story at three museums and numerous historic sites.

Delta County Historical Society’s Dr. John and Mary Jane Beaumier Museum | Memorial Day to Labor Day | Escanaba

Learn more about the Native Americans who first called this area home, the European explorers and the surveyors who opened the way for more settlers, our logging, shipping and railroad history, fishing and other local business histories.

Self-Guided Walking Tour of Historic Downtown Escanaba & the Ogden Avenue Neighborhood | Open Year-Round

When you visit Escanaba, wear your walking shoes. Tour over a mile of well-preserved buildings throughout downtown or walk or drive along Ogden Avenue to see the handsome homes built by timber barons between 1860 and 1900.

Fayette Historic State Park and Townsite | Garden

One of the nation’s premier historic company townsites is on the Garden Peninsula in Fayette Historic State Park. Plan to spend a minimum of two hours (you can easily fill a day) exploring the townsite’s visitor center and 20 buildings to learn how this little iron smelting town helped transform America between 1867 and 1891. If history isn’t your motivation to stop, then walk or snowshoe the trails overlooking Snail Shell Harbor. The limestone cliffs rival the beauty of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore with fewer people to share the view.

Webster Marble: Inventing the Outdoors Museum | Escanaba

Learn why ​​many say Webster Marble put the Upper Peninsula on the map. He became one of the early 20th century’s greatest entrepreneurs, inventors and marketing geniuses for millions of outdoor enthusiasts.

U.P. Military Museum | Escanaba

This is the only space dedicated to recounting the stories of veterans from across the entire Upper Peninsula. The displays will open your eyes with memorabilia, letters home and diaries, heartwrenching tales of courageous military dogs, the Fly Girls test pilots during WWII, amazing rescues and more.

An art festival.

Explore Escanaba’s art

Welcome to the the region’s vibrant world of art including murals, sculptures and the fine arts housed in The Bonifas Arts Center. Do an art hunt, and also in downtown Escanaba, Walk the Planets, a sculpture/learning experience few places offer outdoors.

Day Three

A mother and child at an outdoor market.

Shop in historic towns and farm markets

Eager to go shopping? Historic Escanaba and the surrounding small towns are just the places to find a gift, anything you forgot to pack or something to remind you of the U.P. Locally made candies, fishing lures, knives, and tasty Swedish baked goods are some great buys. And for the freshest fruits and vegetables, flowers and handmade crafts, stop by our seasonal farmers markets.

Take a self-guided craft beverage-tasting tour

A favorite activity around Escanaba is trying the liquid artistry of our local wine, beer and cocktail crafters. You can taste your way through these six stops in one day, but we recommend visiting only two or three per day.

When planning your trip

Join us at festivals and cultural events

If you and your traveling partner are weighing when to come, check Visit Escanaba’s events calendar before you set the date. A week doesn’t go by that we don’t get together for festivals, live music concerts, fairs, theater productions, fine art or craft shows, guest lectures and specialty expos. Other places to check calendars are The Bonifas Art CenterNorthern Sun Winery and Bay College.

Each day — be together

After your separate adventures, spend time together. You will have lots to share about your day and cherish who each other is.

Enjoy scrumptious meals

Whether you start your day at the best breakfast places or meet for lunch or dinner, you will find mouthwatering choices in our regional, American or international cuisines. Pick from our waterfront, fine-dining, diner and tavern restaurants.

Stay for more fun tomorrow

Since there are so many ways to play, explore and unwind when you visit Escanaba, plan to stay a night or more. Our lodgings offer the amenities and rates that fit you and your traveling companion’s needs. To get your first pick, book your room now. You both are going to have one of the best vacations ever.

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