Sault St. Marie Area and The Soo Locks

Exploring the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is one of the most picturesque things you can do.  With miles of Lake Superior coastline with sandy beaches, to waterfalls, the UP has it all. For many years every July Megan and I would pack our bags for the week and join my parents outside of Escanaba, Michigan.  From that home base, we discovered many places to see in the UP.  We frequently took side day trips to destinations all over the area for things to do. It’s no wonder that Michigan’s UP is listed as Lonely Planet’s 2017 Best In Value destinations.

One of our favorite places was driving up to Sault St. Marie. Sault St. Marie is located on the US-Canadian border joined by the International Bridge. It is the oldest city in Michigan and one of the oldest in the US. There is a wealth of things to do around the area.  One of our favorite things to do is to watch the massive cargo ships come into the Soo Locks from the viewing platform.  Our if you really want to get into the experience take a Soo Lock Boat Tour. You can find out how the Locks work here. When you are finished doing all that visit the Tower of History for a birds eye view of the city, the bridge and all the surroundings.  This is where I took these pictures! The downtown area has some great  Museums and Historical sites.


After you have explored all that Sault St. Marie offers, take the trip to see one of the most beautiful waterfalls in the area, Tahquamenon Falls. This falls has a drop of 50 feet and is more than 200 feet across. there is a water flow of about 50.000 gallons per second! Now that’s a lot of water!  Not only does the falls make for a perfect Instagram photo op, there is plenty of opportunity to see all kinds of wildlife.  The park covers 13 miles and the falls is the second biggest east of the Mississippi.  Can you guess which one is first?  Four miles downstream you can find a series of 5 more waterfalls not as grand in scale, but together are equally as beautiful.  Although the falls is the biggest attraction, you can also hike, fish, bike, bird watch, and camp here.


Also located in the area, in fact, 20 miles west of Sault St. Marie is the historic Point Iroquois Lighthouse.  This lighthouse has helped keep travelers safe for centuries.  The museum tells the stories of the light keepers and their families.  Climb the 72 steps to the top of the tower for views of Lake Superior. Read about it’s history here.  Better yet go to see it for yourself!

The Sault St Marie area would make a perfect destination any time of year.  Of course my favorite time is in Summer when you can take advantage of those Lake Superior beaches, the green of the trees, and the warm sunshine.  The fall is an equally beautiful time when the colors are in all their glory. Make it a weekend getaway and go explore the Sault St. Marie area!

Have you explored the Sault St. Marie area yet?  The time is now!  What’s your favorite Upper Michigan destination?

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  1. lifewiselady | 4th Apr 17

    Sault St. Marie looks lovely. I love the picture of the waterfall. I have never been to Michigan, but you make it sound like a place to consider visiting.

    • Lori Helke | 4th Apr 17

      There are so many things to do all around the UP!! This is just one place. You really must go visit. Between my home state of Wisconsin and the UP you could probably spend a month exploring/ Thank you for the comment Jen.

  2. Bonnie K. Aldinger | 4th Apr 17

    Looks great! I have a lot of relatives in Michigan and I absolutely love visiting, especially in the summertime, so much water to play in and on! I think that’s actually where the seed that eventually grew into my adult obsession with paddling was planted – in Hawaii I just swam (and I do love swimming but NYC waters really lend themselves to boats) but my earliest recollections of paddling involve family canoes in Michigan. Did I see a statistic recently that Michigan leads the country in boats owned per capita?

    Never made it to the UP but looks like it would be a fun trip. Thanks!

    • Lori Helke | 4th Apr 17

      Oh I agree, I am born and raised in Wisconsin and all the lakes and rivers invite all kinds of water sports. As much as I love spending time in cities, I equally love all my vacations my whole life in Northern Wisconsin and Upper Michigan. I can bet you are right about that statistic.

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