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Yearning for Yooperland

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan, referred to as the UP, is home to who the rest of Michigan calls Yoopers.

Photo by Unsplash

This Michigan-bestowed nickname—Yoopers—extends to the UP, which became what is now known as “Yooperland.” Outside of Michigan, the UP is almost never talked about as a prospective destination vacation, despite all it has to offer. This seemingly underappreciated location is home to some breathtaking, fascinating, and mystifying attractions.

Pictured Rocks

Is this a tropical island on the ocean? Nope! The beautiful water extending toward the horizon is Lake Superior, and the breathtaking cliffs towering above are part of the Michigan shoreline. Located at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, this scenic location has so much to offer! You can visit sandy beaches, take scenic hikes, sign up for a guided boat tour, or rent kayaks.

This park is a perfect place to discover just how rich and beautiful the UP is. Beyond its natural splendor, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore also holds stories etched in its rocks—exploring the shores is like stepping back in time and tracing the geological history of the region while marveling at the present-day beauty it has created.


Kitch-iti-kipi, or the “Big Spring,” is the biggest freshwater spring in Michigan—measuring 40 feet deep and 200 feet across. Known for its crystal-clear water, you can take tours atop the water in a special pulley-raft with glass floors for viewing the water below. The clear water allows onlookers to easily see plants and fish all the way to the bottom of the spring.

The spring also has a rich Native American history. The spring was called Kitch-iti-kipi by the Ojibwe. The name has many possible meanings: “The Great Water,” “The Blue Sky I See,” and “Roaring and Bubbling Spring.” According to Ojibwe legend, this spring possesses restorative properties—if you use the water to wash or drink you might find healing.

Because this location is so significant to Native American history, it is important to be respectful when visiting. Kitch-iti-kipi offers not only a breathtaking natural spectacle but also a profound connection to Native American heritage and spirituality. Visitors are invited to immerse themselves in the wonder of this sacred site while honoring its rich cultural legacy.


What are Yooperlites? These mysterious glowing rocks were first discovered by Erik Rintamaki in 2017, who, during a four-a.m. stroll, was testing out his new UV light on Michigan’s shorelines. The rock, which is officially called syenite rock rich with fluorescent sodalite, is predominantly located along Lake Superior’s shorelines.

Get yourself a UV light and go hunting for these rare rocks at night or drop by the store to purchase the rocks for yourself! For the best rock hunting, check out the Keweenaw Peninsula for the best chances of discovering Yooperlites. Who knows, maybe while you’re scouring the shores for Yooperlites, you might just make Michigan’s next big discovery!

Root Beer Falls

Tahquamenon Falls, nicknamed “Root Beer Falls” for its dark waters, is Michigan’s largest waterfall. The brown colored water comes from the tannins that are sapped from surrounding cedar swamps. While beautiful blue water may be more commonly sought after, nothing can compare to the bubbling falls that look just like fizzy root beer soda.

You can hike to the lower falls and wade in the water before ascending to the upper falls to enjoy the view. Whether you’re captivated by the unique hue of the water or mesmerized by the sheer force of nature on display, Tahquamenon Falls leaves a lasting impression, solidifying its status as a must-see destination in Yooperland.

Your Yooperland

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan, affectionately known as Yooperland, is a hidden gem bursting with natural wonders and unique experiences. From the stunning cliffs of Pictured Rocks to the mystical depths of Kitch-iti-kipi, there’s an adventure waiting around every corner.

Whether you’re seeking scenic hikes, tranquil boat tours, or the thrill of discovery while hunting for Yooperlites, the UP promises an unforgettable journey. So, pack your bags and set forth on an exploration of Yooperland’s captivating beauty and rich history—it’s an experience you won’t soon forget.