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Tahquamenon Falls - Michigan's Corner of Paradise
Tahquamenon Falls State Park - A Must-See Michigan Destination
When poet Henry Wadsworth Longfellow mentioned Tahquamenon in his epic poem The Song of Hiawatha, he only touched upon the admiration travelers would experience for generations of this beloved landmark.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park is home to the two branches of the falls, the Upper and Lower, in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan.
In this article, I share some information about the park and surrounding area including tourist hot spots and lodging. There are also some photos my husband and I took while on a vacation in Paradise, Michigan.
Possible Origins of the Word
One theory as to the origin of the word Tahquamenon is that it possibly comes from a Native American reference to the amber color of the water which is sometimes mistaken for mud. This color is actually tannin leached from swamps feeding the Tahquamenon River giving the water a copper glow.
Another theory is that it stems from a word found on a 1671 Jesuit map, Outakouaminan, which refers to a shortcut across Whitefish Bay in the Upper Peninsula.
Upper and Lower Falls
The Upper Falls is the larger of the two and east of the Mississippi River is second only in size to the great Niagara Falls. The Lower Falls, while not as large, are still beautiful to behold. They are a series of five smaller falls surrounding an island. You can reach this island via a rented rowboat. If you prefer to keep your feet on the ground, simply admire the beauty of the falls on the river bank. There are also safe spots specifically set up for visitors who want to get a close view.
Below are a few pictures of the upper and lower falls. Enjoy.
Upper Falls 2
"If you're looking for heaven, it's north of the bridge." - Albert Soady from the film Escanaba in da Moonlight
Lower Falls 2
Where do you like to go in the UP? There are so many beautiful sites to see in the UP. Below are just a few to choose from.
Where is your favorite place to visit in the UP?
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
The state park is the second largest in Michigan and is nestled between the towns of Newberry and Paradise. It boasts nearly 50,000 acres of land. Most of this is undeveloped woodlands enjoyed by outdoor enthusiasts year round. Activities to take part in include hiking, camping, hunting, fishing, skiing, canoeing and of course sightseeing the beautiful falls and surrounding land.
The park hosts interpretive programs such as guided hikes throughout the summer. The programs are free but there is a fee for park entrance. There are also year-round nature programs and workshops including everything from how to make snowshoes to canoe races.
As you can imagine, tourism in the surrounding towns centers on the falls. There is plenty of lodging of varying prices to fit even the tightest budget.
Visitors often round out their trip by trekking to other area sites such as the Whitefish Point Lighthouse and Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.
Restaurants and gift shops are not hard to find either, and travelers are sure to enjoy their stay in Michigan's little piece of paradise.
More Info About Tahquamenon and the Upper Peninsula
- Food and Lodging in the Upper Peninsula and Northern Lower Peninsula
Find listings of places to stay and eat on your trip.
- Tahquamenon Falls State Park
The state park page on the Michigan DNR website with park info including camping, events, and activities.
- Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
The website of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum at Whitefish Point.
- Point Iroquois Lighthouse
Visit this lighthouse located where Lake Superior meets St. Mary's River.
- UP Travel
All about travel in the Upper Peninsula.
- Museum Ship Valley Camp
A maritime museum located in a retired ship. Included in the 100 exhibits are relics from the famed Edmund Fitzgerald shipwreck.
Camp 33 Gifts
Visit the Camp 33 gift shop in the area for arts, crafts and more.
Camp 33 takes its name from an old logging lodge. There is a fine brewery and restaurant there now.
A View from Paradise
My husband and I stayed in a cottage at Harmon's Birchwood Lodges. We met the very friendly resident cat who seemed to be living an easy life. This picture was taken while it was enjoying the beautiful view of Lake Superior on a perfect Michigan summer day.
Winter at Tahquamenon and the UP
The pictures of my trip were taken in the summer, but Tahquamenon and the UP are just as beautiful in the winter as these videos show.
Sources and credits
Photo credits: James and Trish Deneen.
Origins of the Name. Michigan.gov Department of Natural Resources. January 2009.
Wood, Vivian. Tahquamenon Falls State Park and Campground, Upper Peninsula of Michigan. Exploring the North. 1997. January 2009.
© 2008 PatriciaJoy