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Planning a trip to Marquette and no idea where to start?
If you’re planning a trip around Upper Michigan then you need to put Marquette on your list. This city has a lot to offer including hiking trails, boat tours, museums, and the beautiful Lake Superior. This complete guide tells you all you need to know before visiting Marquette including how to get there when the best time to visit is and some of its unique history. Add Marquette to your Upper Michigan bucket list and make your trip perfect.
The Best Complete Guide to Marquette, Upper Michigan
Marquette History and Facts
The city of Marquette gets its name from the French missionary Jacques Marquette who came to the area in 1660. In 1844 iron ore was discovered nearby which lead to the founding of Marquette as an important port city and the establishment of many mining and export companies. Initially, the city was named New Worcester, however, this was changed to Marquette in 1850 in honor of Jacques Marquette.
Due to its rail connections, Marquette soon became the leading port in Upper Michigan and a tourist attraction at the same time. Tourists from all around began to choose Upper Michigan as a summer getaway and Marquette became a prime destination for steamship cruises and holiday homes.
Today Marquette has a population of 21,355 people making it the most populated city of the upper peninsula. It’s favorable location on the shores of Lake Superior still makes it a significant port for exporting iron ore. It is a tourist favorite and a great place for a family vacation or a relaxing summer break.
Where is Marquette?
Marquette sits on the shore of Lake Superior on the Upper Michigan Peninsula. It is located a 50-minute drive away from the town of Munising and surrounded by smaller mining towns. Several small islands belong to the city such as Middle Island, Gull Island, Lover’s Island, Presque Isle Pt. Rocks, White Rocks, and Ripley Rock).
Why you need to visit Marquette
Marquette might not be very large but there is a lot to see and do. As Upper Michigan’s most populated city it’s a must-visit if you’re planning a trip to the peninsula. Because of its central location, Marquette is a great place to choose as a starting point for your trip. From there you can explore the surrounding area and plan day trips.
Marquette is surrounded by incredible nature and the stunning shoreline of Lake Superior. However, the city itself also has a lot to offer to tourists and travelers. You can visit one of Marquette’s four museums or explore the many lighthouses and historical sites. Presque Isle Park is a fantastic place to spend an afternoon if you’re looking to experience nature without venturing too far from the city.
Upper Michigan is known for its haunted places and ghost sightings. Marquette has some of the best haunted locations in the area including the famous Landmark Inn and Northern Michigan University which is a favorite among ghost hunters.
How to get to Marquette
The easiest way to reach Marquette is by car. The local Highway 41 passes through the city and offers a great opportunity for a scenic drive through the area. It takes just under 2 hours to reach Marquette from Wisconsin and a little over 3 from Lower Michigan.
You can also reach Marquette by bus. There are routes available from both Wisconsin as well as Lower Michigan. Check out the Amtrak and Greyhound Bus websites for more ticket information and timetables.
Sawyer International Airport sits just 20 minutes outside of Marquette. If you’re visiting the city from further away we highly recommend catching a flight and then renting a car on arrival in Marquette.
How to get around Marquette
If you’re visiting Marquette you’ll most likely be interested in seeing the surrounding area and exploring some of the national parks and hiking trails nearby. Most attractions around Marquette can only be reached by car so it is highly advisable to either rent one or drive to Marquette with your own car if possible.
During the summer months, a great way to explore the city is by bike. There are several bike rental shops around Marquette and you’ll find a great selection of bike paths along the lake.
Marquette has a public bus system, however, this is only useful for exploring the city itself. As was mentioned you will definitely need a car if you plan to venture out of the city and see some of the stunning attractions close by.
When is the best time to visit Marquette?
Winters in Upper Michigan are long and cold so the best time to visit Marquette is without a doubt in summer. Most tourists visit the city from June to September, with July and August being the most popular. During this time you’ll be most likely to have dry and sunny weather and warm temperatures with an average of around 73° Fahrenheit (23° Celcius)
The shoulder season (May and October) can also be a great time to visit and you’ll be able to enjoy the area with fewer tourists and cheaper accommodation prices. The weather during this time will be cooler and there is a higher probability of rain, however, you will still be able to enjoy some sunny days.
Marquette has been named the third snowiest place in the continuous United States so its winters can be harsh. Be aware that most attractions like parks, lighthouses, and visitor centers tend to close during the winter months and many areas are inaccessible to tourists during this time. You can still enjoy the beauty of the area and maybe even do some skiing but we’d recommend visiting in summer for a better experience.