The arrival of spring in Marquette brings warmer days and crisp cool nights, perfect for stargazing and — if the conditions are right — a chance at seeing the Northern Lights

Situated on the southern shore of the world’s largest freshwater lake in surface area, Marquette is prime territory for star-viewing and aurora chasing due to its naturally dark skies.  

With 83 miles of Lake Superior shoreline in Marquette County alone, there are plenty of coves and beaches where you can get a front-row seat to one of nature’s incredible phenomenons. 

The dark nightsky illuminated by shimmering stars and the milkway

Celestial Sights

Whether you are an amateur astronomer or a backyard stargazer, you’ll find an awe-inspiring view in the skies above Marquette. Looking over Lake Superior, you can take in an unobstructed 180-degree view of the night sky. 

On a clear night, you can see planets, constellations, meteor showers, and, when the conditions are right, the famed Aurora Borealis. 

The nightscapes above Marquette will always give you something to discover. 

The vibrant northern lights shining over a dark tree line with stars visible in Marquette, MI

Northern Lights 

Solar activity in the earth’s atmosphere causes the colorful curtains of lights in the night sky known as the Aurora Borealis. While the best times for this spectacle tend to be in the spring and fall, around the equinox, Marquette’s proximity to the North Pole and extraordinarily dark skies make it possible to catch a glimpse of them year-round. 

You’ll want to plan your outing for a clear night. Check the weather forecast and avoid full moon nights, as that will make the sky too bright for viewing them. 

Follow our tips. Get out of the city, or at least away from the city lights. Dress warmly, and be patient. 

There’s something magical about being surrounded by the inky darkness of night and gazing up at a starry sea. Taking in the celestial sights is a memorable experience and the perfect nightcap for all ages. Plan a night to take in this natural wonder in a place like no other. 

Nightsky

Recommended places for stargazing and aurora chasing

Looking for the best secluded dark skies or easily convenient locations to look UP? Here’s your guide to the top spots for stargazing and aurora chasing in Marquette County.

Presque Isle Park 

Presque Isle Park 323-acre peninsula extends into Lake Superior and offers prime star-gazing close to town. With the lake surrounding it on three sides, the park is protected from the city lights. Stroll along the shoreline and look to the heavens and enjoy a star-studded evening — no red carpet involved.

McCarty’s Cove

Traveling with children and want a chance at seeing the Northern Lights as a family? McCarty’s Cove is another convenient location. The most popular beach within Marquette city limits, it offers easy access, especially with little ones.

Sugarloaf Mountain 

At an elevation of 470 feet, the top of Sugarloaf Mountain is an excellent place to stargaze. High above the city lights, take in the views of the night sky from one of three viewing platforms.

Wetmore Landing 

Want a more remote spot to take in the sights? Head out on County 550, to Wetmore Landing. Part of the North Country Hiking Trail, this secluded cove is far from the city lights. A short hike will take you down to the beach where you can take in the splendor.

 

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