The Great Northern Route

East of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, about 40 miles west of Sault Ste. Marie, you come to a real gem: Hwy-123, a must-do loop road (particularly during autumnal color sweeps) that heads north from Hwy-28 past the outstanding—and popular—Tahquamenon Falls State Park. The 50-foot-high, 200-foot-wide Upper Falls here were mentioned in Longfellow’s Song of Hiawatha. Hwy-123 also passes through the lakefront vacation village of Paradise, where Whitefish Point Road runs 11 miles north up to some of the best and most isolated beaches in the UP as well as the oldest lighthouse (circa 1849) on the Great Lakes.

From Longfellow to Lightfoot: In Whitefish Point, north of Paradise, visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum (888/492-3747, daily May-Oct., $13) to learn about the wreck of the 725-foot lake freighter Edmund Fitzgerald, subject of Canadian balladeer Gordon Lightfoot’s 1970s pop song. The ship suddenly went down 20 miles offshore—without a distress call, but with all 29 crew members on board—in November 1975.