15 Best Things to Do in Manistique, MI

Manistique, MI
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Lake Michigan is truly a sight to behold.

The long and winding shorelines of Lake Michigan brim with small cities and towns that thrive from its resources.

One of those communities is the charming lakefront city of Manistique, nestled in the Upper Peninsula of Lake Michigan.

For outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, Manistique is a great destination that not many have discovered.

It is known for its national forests and the vast array of outdoor recreational activities.

You will certainly enjoy the picturesque shores of Manistique, especially the peaceful ambiance it gives, making it a perfect retreat for people who yearn to de-stress.

Despite its quaint appeal, Manistique is one of the best destinations for outdoor attractions and outdoor activities.

Manistique has a lot to offer for history buffs, such as touring through the Seul Choix Point Lighthouse, the Manistique water tower, and the Fayette Town Site.

In addition, nature has blessed Manistique with its splendor.

Visit the Palms Book State Park and other natural attractions.

Manistique has dozens of exciting activities you can enjoy.

Here's a list of the 15 best things to do in Manistique, MI:

Be One with Nature at the Palms Book State Park

Name sign of Palms Book State Park
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Manistique is gifted with a great natural attraction, the Palms Book State Park.

It's where you can find the Kitch-Iti-kipi, Michigan's largest natural spring.

Every minute, more than ten thousand gallons of freshwater gush out of the fissures of limestone below the spring.

Visiting Palms Book State Park is a fulfilling experience, especially for those who yearn to experience the calmness of nature.

Scenic view of Palms Book State Park
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Palms Book State Park has an observation raft where visitors can enjoy an excellent view that overlooks the magnificent beauty of the Kitch-Iti-kipi spring.

In addition, the entire state park offers an enchanting experience.

You'll come across centuries-old tree trunks, towering trees, and various fish species swimming in crystal clear waters.

Lastly, don't forget to learn about the legend of this spring, which makes your experience visiting there more worthwhile.

Waters of Palms Book State Park
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Appreciate the Beauty of Manistique Boardwalk

Walking through the Manistique Boardwalk offers you a picturesque view of the vast Michigan lake.

This popular outdoor attraction in Manistique is known for its stunning backdrop, especially during sunsets where the sky shows different hues.

It's an excellent attraction to visit in starting your Manistique travel adventure.

The Manistique Boardwalk offers visitors many spots, including its fishing pier, breakwater light, and picnic grounds.

In addition, it's also excellent for wildlife photography and birdwatching because of the abundance of local wildlife.

Whether you're going there for a morning walk or an adventure, there's something exciting waiting for you at Manistique Boardwalk.

Step inside the Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse

Scenic sunset over Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse
Kenneth Keifer / Shutterstock.com

The Manistique Breakwater Lighthouse is a historical attraction in the city that you should not miss.

The National Register of Historic Places recognized this historic lighthouse in 2005, preserving its historical significance in the Upper Peninsula of Lake Michigan.

Historically, the lighthouse guided boats approaching Manistique to prevent them from hitting the breakwater.

Pathway leading to Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse
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Manistique enjoyed busy waters in the early 20th century.

The city was a central transport hub for pig iron and timber.

Today, the lighthouse is one of the Upper Peninsula's most popular attractions.

This lighthouse is an excellent start if you want to learn about Manistique's rich history and heritage.

Far view of Manistique East Breakwater Lighthouse
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Learn Fascinating Things about Fish at the Thompson State Fish Hatchery

Not all fishing spots have a natural abundance of fish.

Many of these ponds or lakes receive regular stocks of native fish species that thrive with the help of science.

One of the best places in Manistique to learn about the importance of fish hatchery is the Thompson State Fish Hatchery along S. State Highway.

This hatchery is a fascinating place you need to check out, especially if you're interested in learning more about fish.

While visiting the Thompson State Fish Hatchery, you'll encounter numerous interpretive signages.

At the same time, visitors can engage in self-guided tours of the facility.

The facility also screens an informative video that explains the mission of the hatchery.

Outside, you can observe the fish species being bred there.

The Thompson State Fish Hatchery produces hundreds of thousands of Chinook Salmon, Steelhead Trout, and Walleye fingerlings.

When they reach full maturity, the hatchery releases them into the wild to create a self-sustaining population.

Take Photos at the Manistique Water Tower

Daytime view of the Manistique Water Tower
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The Roman Revival-style Manistique Watertower can hold up to 200,000 gallons of water.

It has served Manistique since 1922.

In the 1980s, the National Register of Historic Places listed the tower in its records.

Aerial view of Manistique Water Tower
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Today, the Schoolcraft County Historical Society preserves this building and two other historical sites in the area.

Visiting this iconic building along Deer Street will teach you about Manistique's rich history.

In addition, the building is still in great condition, making it an excellent backdrop for a souvenir photo during your Manistique trip.

The entrance of Manistique Water Tower
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Pose beside the Paul Bunyan Statue

You can find Paul Bunyan statues throughout the United States, but people still love to take photos of this icon.

Thus, when you're in Manistique, stop by the Paul Bunyan Statue along W. Lakeshore Drive and pose beside the statue as your souvenir.

According to numerous lumber towns in the region, Manistique has claimed to be Bunyan's home.

In addition, the Paul Bunyan Statue in Manistique is also one of the tallest, according to tourists who stopped by and took photos of it.

The statue stands more than 15-feet high.

Explore the Vast Indian Lake State Park

Welcome sign of Indian Lake State Park
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The Indian Lake State Park on Indian Lake covers more than 8,400 acres.

It is Upperland Peninsula's fourth-biggest inland lake.

This state park stretches six miles in length and three miles wide.

It was once known as the Manistique Lake.

Rowboats on Indian Lake State Park's shore
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Still, its name changed to Indian Lake State Park due to the cultural and historical importance of the Native Americans in the area.

The Indian Lake State Park is a famous outdoor recreation destination in Schoolcraft County.

It offers top-notch camping grounds for those who want to spend more time at the park for hiking, canoeing, fishing, hunting, swimming, snowmobiling, and skiing.

So, if you're up for more outdoor activities, get to the Indian Lake State Park and bring out your spirit of adventure.

Colorful sunset over Indian Lake State Park
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Discover the Rainey Wildlife Area

The Rainey Wildlife Area at Dawson Road is another outdoor attraction in Manistique worth visiting.

It is best known for its hiking trails, observation platform, boardwalks, and natural areas teeming with wildlife.

Rainey Wildlife Area is also a birdwatcher's haven because of the abundance of songbirds thriving in the area.

Warblers usually migrate to the area during spring and fall.

At the same time, local wildlife such as bald eagles, ospreys, and small mammals are regularly seen in the area.

Spend the Night at the Manistique Lakeshore Campground

The Manistique Lakeshore Campground at Traders Point Drive offers visitors a great camping experience.

It's one of the ideal camping grounds because of its flexibility in amenities.

It has a pull-through site for those driving an RV, while it has rustic camping for those who want to get closer to nature.

In addition, the Manistique Lakeshore Campground is close to the famous attractions in the city, such as the Palms Book State Park, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Manistique Boardwalk, etc.

For a perfect family vacation in Manistique, consider staying at this campground and enjoy its clean air and tranquil atmosphere.

Wander through the Magical Hiawatha National Forest

A bridge at Hiawatha National Forest
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The Hiawatha National Forest is in the Upper Peninsula's vast, untamed wilderness spanning across 894,836-acres.

Its one-of-a-kind beauty offers visitors, especially those from Manistique, a magical experience.

Many people from Upper Peninsula love to visit and spend their day at the Hiawatha National Forest, exploring its dense wooded area teeming with local wildlife.

A waterfall at Hiawatha National Forest
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Meanwhile, other visitors love to come back and appreciate the natural beauty of its shorelines, islands, and lighthouses, making it a perfect destination for photographers.

Hiawatha National Forest also has some of the best trails for hiking.

Other outdoor activities you can enjoy there are swimming, biking, horse camping, wildlife viewing, watersports, camping, and picnicking.

Scenic view of Hiawatha National Forest
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Visit the Carl D. Bradley Lakeview Memorial Park

The Carl D. Bradley Lakeview Memorial Park is a historical park that commemorates the famous Carl D. Bradley shipwreck in Lake Michigan.

The Carl D. Bradley was a colossal self-unloading Great Lakes freight ship that sank in Lake Michigan in 1958, where 33 people perished.

To commemorate the tragedy, the City of Manistique renamed one of its parks after the freight ship.

A plaque detailing the events in 1958 is found in front of the memorial park fronting Lake Michigan.

Visiting this place offers you a tranquil atmosphere, an excellent place to relax and breathe fresh air.

At the same time, its tranquil atmosphere is perfect for remembering and offering prayers to those who perished in the tragedy.

Tee Up at the Indian Lake Golf Course

Besides natural attractions, Manistique is also home to a top-notch golf course, the Indian Lake Golf Course, along Birch Street.

If you're longing to play golf while vacationing in Manistique, this is the perfect place.

The Indian Lake Golf Course features a scenic 18-hole, par 72 course that resembles the natural beauty of Michigan's Upper Peninsula.

It has meticulously-maintained green tees, bent grass tees, and fairways.

After you're done swinging and finishing the 18-hole course, you can head to the clubhouse for some refreshments or perhaps visit its pro shop.

Who knows?

You might want to buy brand-new gear for your next golf session.

Try Your Luck at the Kewadin Casino

Exterior of Kewadin Casino
Royalbroil, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Kewadin Casino has numerous locations across Michigan, with one in Manistique.

The Kewadin casino is the perfect place for those who seek top-notch entertainment through its Vegas-style gaming.

Stepping inside this casino offers you an exciting atmosphere that you won't expect in the sleepy city of Manistique.

In addition, other entertainments and leisure are available in the casino.

After rolling the dice or flipping your cards, grab a meal at the Mariner's Cove Restaurant or perhaps have a drink at the Team Spirits Bar.

Spend your night or an entire day at the Kewadin Casino if you're not in the mood to go outdoors.

Browse the Mustard Seed Shop

If you're looking for a lovely souvenir from your Manistique trip, head to the Mustard Seed Shop along S. Cedar Street, where you'll find an eclectic collection of items.

These items range from artworks, decorations, books, furniture, and handicrafts to cards, mostly collected from locals around the Upper Peninsula region of Lake Michigan.

In addition, the Mustard Seed also serves freshly-brewed coffee every day.

It has a cozy seating area to hang out with loved ones or locals.

The Mustard Seed is more than just your average local store; it's a great place to learn more about Manistique's unique stories while meeting friendly locals.

Rub Elbows with Locals at the Manistique Farmer's Market

The Manistique Farmer's Market, which started in 2010, initially had six farmers who displayed their local produce and products to cater to hundreds of locals.

As the years passed, the farmer's market grew bigger and bigger until it became one of the most sought-after seasonal activities in Manistique.

This farmer's market is best known for its fresh local produce from Manistique and Upper Peninsula farmers.

It also features artisanal food, baked goodies, and other irresistible local products.

Final Thoughts

Manistique is for people who love to explore the outdoors and those who are keen on learning fascinating history.

Manistique may not be popular as other tourist destinations in the United States.

Still, it offers everyone a unique travel experience they won't find anywhere else.

For sure, many hidden gems await you in Manistique, but this post will give you a great start to your travel adventure there.

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