Northwest of Marquette City, you will find a haven of lakes, forests, waterfalls, hiking trails, and hidden spots for outdoor adventure in Big Bay. Before Big Bay became one of the Upper Peninsula's best-kept secrets for outdoor enthusiasts, this quaint town was first established for the timber industry in the 1800s. In 1944 it was the site of a Ford Motor Company automotive plant and a retreat for Henry Ford and top company execs. Later Big Bay lit up the silver screen in James Stewart’s award-winning 1959 film “Anatomy of a Murder,” and was the site of the actual murder that inspired the film.
Today, Big Bay draws a quiet and loyal following for its unspoiled nature and access to the Big Bay of Lake Superior. From Marquette, follow County Road 550 along the shoreline of Lake Superior for about 25 miles until you get to Big Bay, where the road literally ends. Once you arrive, you will notice that Big Bay is almost like stepping back in time with its historic wooden structures and brick buildings in the small downtown. You won’t find Starbucks, fancy steakhouses, or consistent cell phone service here, but what Big Bay lacks in modern amenities, it makes up for in off-the-beaten-path adventure.
Chart your own course for days spent soaking in the area’s natural setting and feeling miles away from the hurried pace of normal life. Summer brings warm weather for swimming, boating, biking, hiking, and camping along Lake Independence at Perkins Park Campground—without the crowds. In the fall, Big Bay transforms into a colorful playground of changing leaves for you to explore on hiking trails, scenic outlooks, and country roads where you may feel like you have Mother Nature all to yourself. Snow blankets Big Bay in the winter, attracting snowmobilers and backcountry skiers, snowshoers, and hearty hikers to the area’s pristine and uncrowded trails. Hunters and fishermen come up to Big Bay in season to pursue their favorite game.
Whatever the season, Big Bay offers the outdoors unplugged. See the articles below for more on what to do in Big Bay.