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8 Reasons to Put Marquette, Michigan on Your Bucket List

Explore Marquette County, a hidden gem tucked in the central part of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

By: The Outbound Collective + Save to a List

For a small and steady growing population of 21,000, this quaint county has boundless opportunity for adventure, leisure, and pleasure. Here's why you should start planning your trip now:

1. World class mountain biking, hiking, and paddling

With over 100 miles of connected singletrack and 12,000 ft of elevation, Marquette County boasts some of the best MTB terrain in the nation. Most recently (and notably), these trails hosted Bike Mag’s annual Bible of Bike Tests (2018) and were previously referred to by Tinker Juarez as “the absolute best maintained trails [I’ve] ever ridden.” Beyond biking, there’s 9,300 acres of forest and 83 miles of Superior shoreline ready to explore by foot or oar.

2. The Northern Lights

There’s only about a handful of places to experience the Aurora Borealis in the lower 48, and Marquette County happens to be one of the lucky few. With little to no light pollution less than 15 miles north of town you’ve got a good chance of catching them if you trek out on a cold winter’s night or around the autumn and spring equinoxes.

3. Food and Brews

Downtown offers a small town feel with big city taste. Featuring over two dozen dining options, 6 microbreweries, 5 coffee roasters (and counting), we’re living the foodie dream. First grab a bite from one of the food trucks or farm-to-table restaurants then sip on some Superior-sourced craft beers paired with patio seating, live performances, or if you’re really lucky—both.

4. Cliff Jumping

When it comes to swim spots Marquette’s got Superior coverage. There’s the popular McCarty’s Cove which is striking distance from downtown and looks out to the historic Harbor Light or off of Co Rd 550 you’ll find more remote locales where the locals dwell. But if you really want the proper summer experience, you’ll hit Black Rocks for some acclaimed cliff jumping. And once you’ve tested the waters, feel out Dead River Falls, Rum Runners or Little Presque Isle for additional adrenaline thrills. 

5. Waterfalls

Don’t forget to pack your camera, cause almost every aspect of Marquette is picturesque. And the waterfalls are no exception. With 77 named falls to choose from (more than any other county in Michigan), Marquette County makes for the perfect multi-day destination. 

6. Fall Colors

The best part of living in the Midwest is arguably the seasons. Each change brings something scenic and exciting to the landscape, but between the crisp Autumn air and vigorous colors, fall may be the ultimate season. Check out the Fall Color Tour and see for yourself.

7. Fat Bike Mecca of the US 

Something unique about Marquette's trail systems is that it’s open for operation all four seasons. And with an average of 200-300 inches of annual snowfall and wintry weather 6 months out of the year, you can bet we take advantage of it. The single track system has acquired national-acclaim from multiple publications, including Bike Magazine, Silent Sports magazine, and more. 

“A fat-biker’s dream town.” — Outside Magazine, 2018

8. Festivals

It’s no secret most travelers come to Marquette for the outdoors, but if that alone isn’t enough to sell you, you should check out their festivals. With events like Marquette Craft Beer Week, Fresh Coast Film Festival, Marji Gesick 100, and Art on the Rocks there’s a little bit of something for everyone.

Book your next trip to Marquette County, MI.

We want to acknowledge and thank the past, present, and future generations of all Native Nations and Indigenous Peoples whose ancestral lands we travel, explore, and play on. Always practice Leave No Trace ethics on your adventures and follow local regulations. Please explore responsibly!

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