Heading to the Keweenaw & Copper Harbor from the Porcupine Mountains, take Highway 64 east to Ontonagon. If you are in a hurry, take Highway 38 to Highway 26 which goes north to Houghton-Hancock.
BTW. An interesting side excursion is taking US highway 45 to Rockland, then take a county road SW (4 miles) to the historic community of Victoria. Old Victoria Restoration Site is a restored pioneer mining homestead that is an interesting tour. Nearby there is a waterfall at the Lake Victoria Dam (actually a powerplant spillway). The drive takes you down into the steep canyon formed by the Ontonagon River and then up again to the pioneer village. Figure about an hour plus for the drive and tour.
Continuing on Highway 26 you eventually arrive in historic Houghton-Hancock, Michigan - home of Michigan Tech University, the Seaman Mineral Museum, and gateway to the Keweenaw National Historical Park and the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Usually we're so looking forward to getting to Copper Harbor that, except for getting gas and ice, we whiz right through these twin cities. To the right is a view of Hancock across the Portage Waterway from Houghton. These are old towns and have some history worth appreciating if your interest lies in this direction. In recent years we've spent more time in this area to catalog interesting places to see and things to do.
Crossing the bridge into Hancock, you continue through the mining communities of Calumet and Larium, staying on Highway 26 & 41, until the town of Phoenix. Here you can take the lake shore scenic route (Hwy 26) through Eagle River & Eagle Harbor or the more direct route (Hwy 41) which is also scenic (especially during fall color) but does not go along the lakeshore.
Eagle River has a nice long public sand beach set up with picnic tables and fire rings. The last time we were there, we watched a wind surfer riding the waves in, with some spectacular leaps, and then tacking back out to do it all over again. Quite an athletic performance.
One of the outstanding attractions of Eagle River is Fitzgerald's Restaurant in the Eagle River Inn. They have a great menu ranging from quick sandwiches to gourmet cuisine, all prepared and served with TLC. And reasonable prices, too. Helping make this a favorite stop is an extensive craft beer menu. Top this off with a great view of Lake Superior and a comfortable ambience, and you can see why it is one of the top lakeside dining places around Superior.
Between Eagle River and Eagle Harbor on Highway 26 near Jacobs Falls is a necessary stop for anyone taking the scenic Keweenaw Peninsula Drive. Tthe Monks of the Holy Transfiguration Skete operate a bakery and jams/jellies preserves store - Monday - Saturday (closed Sundays) whose treats are second to none . . . and consuming them can't be a sin because they were made by Catholic Monks!
Jacobs Falls is a little guy, compared to what we seen elsewhere around Lake Superior but still enchanting. There's a few more waterfalls along the way, but in general the Keweenau waterfalls are long on cute . . . but short on impressive . . . which is why I have included few of them in our travel pages.
Big Sand Bay, just west of the village of Eagle Harbor, has an extensive public sand beach, great for swimming and for rock picking. There's a large parking area with bathrooms, picnic tables, and volleyball area on the beach.
Eagle Harbor's protected swimming beach is just about 100% sand (no rock picking) and should be warm enough for swimming or sunbathing throughout the summer.
Looking across the bay to Eagle Harbor's sand beach. At the extreme right of the photo, just out of view, is a point on which Eagle Harbor's Lighthouse sits. Still in use, the light itself is now automated. But the building has been restored and furnished in an historically accurate fashion by the Keweenaw Historical Society and is now open for tours from June to October.
Michigan Upper Peninsula Lake Superior Circle Drive
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