The 30 Best Things to Do in Escanaba this Year
Why visit Escanaba, MI?
The top reason for coming to Escanaba and the Delta County area is to relax and have fun. But there’s another reason to make this your Upper Peninsula vacation destination. Escanaba is at the hub of being a day trip close to some of the most popular places in the U.P. Basing in Escanaba gives you access to the best of the Upper Peninsula, all within a couple-of-hours’ drive.
But there’s a third reason to make this your Upper Peninsula vacation destination. Escanaba is at the hub of being a day trip close to some of the most popular places in the U.P. Basing in Escanaba gives you access to the best of the Upper Peninsula all within a couple-of-hours’ drive.
To help create your best vacation yet, here are 30 of our favorite things to do:
Immerse in our history. It’s as ancient as our limestone bluffs. Throughout the year, enter the story walking through our Victorian-era downtown and neighborhoods and visiting three lighthouses, our fascinating history museums and Antique Village. Travel back in time
Bring home great finds from our shops. Historic Escanaba and the surrounding small towns make shopping fun. Whether you are looking for something you forgot to pack, need a gift or just want to browse for something to remind you of the U.P., you will find it here. Escanaba-area shopping guide
Discover delicious local flavors. Start your morning with traditional Swedish pancakes. For lunch or dinner, grab a U.P. favorite from Gram’s Pasties or Dobber’s Pasties! Be awed both by the view of the Bays and the fresh-caught fish, tender steaks or perfectly prepared vegetarian and vegan entrees on your plate. Sayklly’s chocolates are wonderful any time of day, any season. Escanaba-area dining guide
Play black-light mini-golf and arcade games with family or friends. UPutt Family Fun Center in Escanaba is fun for everyone! You’ll adventure through all four U.P. seasons with your glowing putters and golf balls, playing amid state-of-the-art black-light props and artwork. Arcade games and a snack bar will help you fill two or more hours.
Enrich your life at the Bonifas Arts Center. The Escanaba area is a regional center for the Upper Peninsula’s arts and culture. A must-stop is the Bonifas Arts Center’s two galleries showcasing regional artists. Check the Bonifas Arts Center calendar to catch a play or hear your favorite live music while you are visiting. For more places to experience regional creativity, see the Escanaba-area Arts & Culture Guide and our annual events calendar.
Watch the sun rise and set — keep your camera ready! The Big and Little Bays de Noc offer front-row seats for daily sunrises and sunsets. From hazy horizons to fiery colors splashing across the sky and water, it’s worth putting life on pause to watch the sun’s performance each dawn and evening.
Stargaze on clear nights. Our free sky shows don’t end with the sun’s final curtain call each evening. Catch a spellbinding view of the universe all year and if the atmosphere is just right, spectacular Northern Lights, too. Favorite stargazing spots
Wet your line for walleye. Escanaba is the “Walleye Capital of the U.P.”. Whether you catch to keep or release, there are big ones to reel in from the Bays de Noc starting in mid-May. You also can hook tasty perch, bass, trout, salmon, northern pike, panfish and more in our clear rivers, inland lakes and on Lake Michigan. Escanaba-area fishing guide
Swing into warm weather on some of the U.P.’s top golf courses. Whether you are a scratch golfer or just learning to play the links, bring your clubs from spring through mid-fall. Four of the courses rank in the U.P.’s top 15, and Sweetgrass Golf Club is among the top 20 in Michigan based on Golfweek’s and GOLF Magazine’s rigorous reviews. Choose your course
Rattle chains on some of the best U.P. disc golf courses. Challenge your skills by weaving your disc through a corridor of trees, landing a tricky approach shot feet from Lake Michigan or launching your disc as far as you can into an open field. For sure, play the Eric McCabe-designed course in Gladstone — it’s a premier course in the Midwest. Escanaba-area disc golf guide
Rev your ORV/ATV engines and let the mud fly. Once the snow melts, ORV/ATV/UTV season starts and runs until winter. With so many trail variations, there are no dull days in our backwoods. Favorite trails
Feast at the best Friday fish fries. Even if you don’t reel in your fish dinner, you can find plenty of mouthwatering fish and tasty sides here all year long. But Friday fish fries are a spring tradition and a great way to meet locals. Find a fish fry
Encounter nature up close. Spring is the time to hunt for delicious morels, see fawns and cubs cavorting in forest clearings, hear the playlists of returning songbirds and photograph wildflowers and blossoming trees. Enjoy nature
Splash all summer long. There is an incredible amount of fresh water to play in here. From lazying away a summer day on the Bays de Noc or inland beaches to going full-bore with your favorite watersports — adventure awaits.
Hike beautiful wooded and waterfront trails. Park your vehicle and get outside to walk trails that hug the shores of the Bays de Noc and rivers, take you deep into the woods and across wildflower-strewn meadows. Leashed dogs are welcome on most trails and several are ADA-accessible. Follow these favorite trails
Bike your style. You will love biking here whether leisurely cruising through towns and along picturesque waterfronts or mountain biking on white-knuckle trails. Where to bike
Stand up, sit down, while paddling miles of waterways. We can easily boast some of the best paddling places in the U.P. This is a paddler’s dream destination whether gliding by the towering white limestone bluffs in Snail Shell Harbor, kayaking from town-to-town along the Bays de Noc shoreline or watching wildlife from your craft on scenic rivers. Find a launching point
Experience adventure, long-ago stories — and maybe ghosts — at Fayette Historic State Park & Townsite. This gem on the Garden Peninsula is a year-round destination, but summer is when they offer free guided tours of this once-booming iron-smelting town gone bust. Things to do in this ghost town
Attend an outdoor music concert. Area parks and vineyards are natural homes for outdoor music performances and festivals. There’s a live music concert nearly every week. Where music is playing
Go to the U.P. State Fair. If thrilling rides, best-of-show horses, mouthwatering fair food and enthralling grandstand events are your ideas of a good time, then Escanaba is the place to be in mid-August. Meet UP at the fair
Take a day trip. When you base in the Escanaba area, you are only a day trip away from Kitch-iti-kipi, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Tahquamenon Falls, Mackinac Bridge, whitewater rafting and so much more. Find more adventures nearby
See fall colors. The Upper Peninsula repeatedly tops the list of best fall color regions in the United States. Our area is a top contributor to the leaf show. We have five favorite local routes, but just about anywhere you go between the end of September and mid-October will wow you. Fall color routes
Watch monarch butterflies arrive. One of the U.P.’s favorite fall color experiences is when thousands of monarch butterflies rest on the Stonington Peninsula. From late summer to early fall, this is a layover stop on their flight path to winter in Mexico. Monarch butterfly migration
Gather fresh produce and pumpkins. Nothing heightens all your senses like visiting our community farmers markets, pumpkin patches and corn mazes. Harvest-time ideas
Hunt for favorite craft wines and beers. Take a tasting tour to try the ambers, reds, purples, browns and oranges of our craft beverages at local wineries and breweries.
Check off birds on your bucket list. Fall is an excellent time to see many of the 311 colorful bird species that have been documented in Delta and neighboring Menominee Counties. Best birdwatching locations
Enjoy some of Michigan’s best ice fishing. Delta County has the longest freshwater shoreline of any county in the entire U.S.A. So, it’s no surprise that “villages” of ice fishing shanties spring up on both Little and Big Bays de Noc and nearby inland lakes. Ice fishing tips
Cross-country ski, snowshoe and fat tire bike on picturesque trails. No need to stay on the couch when you can enjoy the tranquility of our many trails. Winter wonderland trails
Experience the thrill of downhill skiing, snowboarding, tubing and more. Is your passion feeling the spray of snow as you twist and turn down hills, making perfect landings in the terrain park or laughing with friends bouncing down the tubing hill? Find thrills here
Snowmobile from town to town. The U.P. is renowned as a snowmobiling destination. Here you will find miles of trails to open your throttle and take in the incredible scenery. Where to bring your sled
In the Escanaba area, you are never far from lodgings with the location, amenities and rates you want. We pride ourselves in giving you a good night’s sleep, so you will be ready for more adventures or relaxation tomorrow. Book your room today.