Water Activities

With 83 miles of Lake Superior shoreline—plus 150 streams and nearly 300 other bodies of water—there are plenty of opportunities to get on, in, or under the water—or just dip your toes! From strolling the sandy coves tucked along its rocky shores to diving off the ancient cliffs that tower above it. Whatever your vacation speed or experience level, there’s a water adventure perfectly suited for you in Marquette County.

Stand up paddle boarding near rugged cliffs on the coast of Lake Superior in Marquette, MI

Kayaking & Paddle Boarding

Paddle your way around islands and along coves on the greatest lake of all or ramble down streams through a woodsy wonderland. If you’re looking for places to paddle, The Cove at Presque Isle Park is the perfect spot to launch a kayak, canoe, or stand-up paddleboard into Lake Superior

For a cozier paddling experience, head to one of the County's smaller lakes like HarlowDeer or Teal for a serene scene. You can even find some challenging whitewater on the area’s rivers. 

World-famous Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, with its stunning colorful rock formations, is less than an hour away. Or paddle your way along 120 miles of shoreline traveled by the Ojibwa and early European explorers on the Hiawatha Water Trail. Stretching from Grand Marais to Big Bay, the water trail offers some of the most scenic shorelines in the state.  

A couple splashing each other in the lake at McCarty's Cove in Marquette, MI

Beaches & Swimming

Whether you want to experience the adrenaline rush of jumping from 20-foot cliffs or the serenity of watching the sun paint the lake with her morning or evening colors, you will find miles of beaches for summer sunbathing, swimming, or strolling along the sandy shore searching for stones and Lake Superior Agate.   

From popular in-town spots like McCarty’s Cove, Black Rocks and South Beach, to the more secluded Little Presque Isle Beach and—further afield—Au Train Beach, you’ll discover the perfect spot to roll out your blanket, lay back, close your eyes and soak in the sun. But don’t forget to open them once in a while to take in the stunning views all around of dunes, hills, cliffs, and that endless expanse of Lake Superior blue.

A woman snorkeling in the clear, rocky waters of Lake Superior near Marquette, MI

Scuba & Free Diving

For experienced scuba divers, The Marquette Underwater Preserve offers up some hidden gems to explore. The Marquette Unit features 24 miles of shoreline around Marquette where you can discover the remains of wooden schooners, steamers, and commercial fishing vessels, along with some cool geological formations. 

The Huron Islands, 25 miles to the northwest, boast some of the most impressive coastlines in the U.P. Dive in and discover what’s under the surface!

A couple fishing in a bass boat at Greenwood Reservoir in Ishpeming, MI

Fishing on Lake Superior, inland lakes, rivers and streams

Fishing experiences abound in Marquette, from trolling for salmon, trout, whitefish, steelhead and splake in the deep waters of the world’s largest freshwater lake to casting for walleye, bass and perch from cozy, quiet, motor-free Teal Lake in Negaunee

Whether you are hoping to reel in something tasty for dinner, land a catch-and-release record-breaker, or looking to take the kids out to fish for bluegill, sunfish, perch and pike, there’s a body of water just waiting for you.

A surfer rider the waves on Lake Superior in Marquette, MI

Surfing on the Great Lakes

Surfing the cold, clear waters of Lake Superior used to be a niche sport left to a handful of hardy souls. But interest in it has gained traction in recent years, particularly with students from NMU. Experienced surfers know when the surf is U.P., it’s time to don their wetsuit and head to “The Zoo,” a sandy beach on the southwest end of Presque Isle. For those not ready to dive in, you can still catch a thrill watching the surfers ride out some icy ocean-sized whitecaps. 

Before you go

Beach Etiquette

Summer beach days are right around the corner and lucky for us, Marquette County is home to miles of beautiful sandy shorelines. To keep our... Read More

Water Safety

Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world by surface area. Its coastline is scaped by beautiful rock formations that are... Read More

Respect Marquette County

Follow these Leave No Trace principles when visiting to keep our forests, lakes, and natural spaces as special as when you found them.

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