Attractions and Events
The wonders of Lake Superior and the Two Hearted River speak to the region’s beauty. Crisp Point Lighthouse, Oswald’s Bear Ranch, Wildridge Riding Stables, Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Toonerville Trolley, and the Shipwreck Museum offer experiences the whole family can enjoy. A blend of natural scenery, rich history, and unique opportunities are waiting to greet you at these Paradise, Michigan local attractions and events!
This Upper Michigan lighthouse was named after Christopher Crisp, keeper of Life Saving Station 10 from 1878 to 1890, which once stood guard to protect vessels traveling along Lake Superior’s Shipwreck Coast. The unforgiving storms and geographic location of the region led Crisp Point to become a popular site for ships to crash ashore en route to Whitefish Point. Recognizing these dangers, congress approved the construction of the Crisp Point Lighthouse, completed on June 10th, 1904. The advent of enhanced navigation technology led to the station’s deactivation in 1947. Left to fend for itself against the elements, the lighthouse structures began to deteriorate. Crisp Point Lighthouse was fully decommissioned in 1994. Continued years of erosion led to the collapse of the service room in 1996, leaving the lighthouse tower standing alone on the shoreline.
In 1997, the property was put to auction in the hopes of finding a buyer willing and able to preserve the tower. Ohio natives Don and Nellie Ross collaborated with local residents to form the Crisp Point Lighthouse Preservation Society, vowing to oversee the restoration and long-term survival of the lighthouse. The society has since ordered stone reinforcement for protection around the tower base, planted trees and built walkways to prevent erosion of the surrounding dunes, and cleaned and painted the tower to restore its historic beauty.
The journey to Crisp Point from Paradise makes an excellent, but adventurous day trip. You’ll find nature’s scenery is beautiful along the way and the sights of Crisp Point are absolutely breathtaking! Lighthouse enthusiasts, don’t miss your opportunity to see one of the more hidden and unique Michigan lighthouses! CAUTION! Do not follow your GPS to the lighthouse!
Visit www.crisppointlighthouse.org for detailed driving directions and additional travel suggestions. Snowmobilers can also find directions at this link from Paradise to Crisp Point along scenic Michigan snowmobile trails.
Lake Superior Beaches
Plan your adventure along the shores of Paradise and discover beautiful Lake Superior beaches! At the tip of Whitefish Point, gaze out into the ever changing waters of Lake Superior’s Shipwreck Coast 17 miles from the final resting place of the Edmond Fitzgerald. Vermillion Point offers a remote view with miles of pristine shoreline with many, many stones for the Rock Enthusiast to explore. Crisp Point Lighthouse offers incredible shorelines.
Walk the beaches of the Tahquamenon Rivermouth, where you can view freighter ships traveling to and from the Soo Locks, their lights sometimes seen hovering over the surface of the water after nightfall. Drive along the Lake Superior Trail to the Point Iroquois Lighthouse, Crisp Point Lighthouse, and Two Hearted Rivermouth. Whether you prefer to observe from the shoreline or jump right in and see for yourself, Paradise invites you to discover these Lake Superior beaches today!
Oswald’s Bear Ranch
The largest bear only ranch in the United States! Located just 20 minutes from Tahquamenon Falls, Oswald’s Bear Ranch is a great addition to your trip itinerary. 30 rescued American Black Bears can be safely viewed in 4 large natural habitats ranging from ¼ to ½ miles in perimeter, each equipped with a photo taking platform. A trolley service is offered to large groups and carts are also available to assist those with disabilities. Be sure to bring your camera and get your picture taken with the adorable bear cubs! Open Memorial Day through the end of September, Oswald’s Bear Ranch features a unique wildlife viewing experience in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula!
Visit www.oswaldsbearranch.com for additional information.
Ranked as one of the top ten maritime museums in the world, the Shipwreck Museum is a must stop to discover the mysteries of a region known as the Shipwreck Coast. Learn about the U.S. Life-Saving Service, the U.S. Lighthouse Service, the U.S.C.G. Life-Boat Stations and the numerous shipwrecks on our Great Lakes. The complex includes an Edmund Fitzgerald Exhibit, the restored Whitefish Point Light Station (established in 1849), a United States Coast Guard Lifeboat Station, and the Shipwreck Museum housing artifacts and exhibits telling the stories of sailors, ships, and divers as they reveal the mysteries of Lake Superior’s ultimate story. The Shipwreck Museum is open May 1 through October 31, 10 AM to 6 PM at Whitefish Point, nine miles North of Paradise, Michigan. Additional details may be found on their website: www.ShipwreckMuseum.com.
Two Hearted River
Enter a wilderness that became the subject on an Ernest Hemingway classic. Sporting a healthy population of brook trout throughout its main branches, tributaries, creeks, and beaver ponds, the Two Hearted River invites visitors to come and cast their lines. In addition to fishing, the Two Hearted River features several canoeing locations of various difficulties. Canoeists seeking a challenge should consider paddling the South Branch, East Branch, and the mainstream above Reed and Green Bridge. The mainstream below Reed and Green Bridge offers a more casual and relaxing journey perfect for the less experienced paddler.
Wildlife enthusiasts may have the chance to spot bear, fox, moose, and other species native to the Upper Peninsula. In the open fields south of the East Branch there have been sightings of Michigan’s largest and most majestic bird, the Sandhill Crane. Hunters enjoy tracking bear and large deer in the area. Snowshoe Hare, Grouse, and Woodcock are also hunted here.
Tahquamenon Falls State Park
Joining the Michigan State Park system in 1947, the Tahquamenon Falls State Park covers 50,000 acres, most of which is wilderness. Through the midst of the park is the Tahquamenon River with two sets of falls, the Upper and the Lower. The Upper Falls is majestic, the second largest falls east of the Mississippi, it spans 200 feet across with a 50 foot drop. Visitors to the Upper Falls are enthralled by the copper tones in the water from the tannins leached from the cedar swamps from which the river drains. The Lower Falls is actually a series of smaller falls formed around the Tahquamenon Island. Canoes are available to paddle to the island and experience the Lower Falls up close and personal. Bragging rites to hike between the Upper and Lower Falls is encouraged by a shuttle service return trip to your origin at the Lower Falls. Additional details may be found on the park’s website.
Since 1927, the Toonerville Trolley has brought visitors together with the beauty of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula through their nature tours. Two unique tour options are offered, each presenting a very special opportunity to discover the tranquility of an undisturbed wilderness.
Train and Riverboat Tour
Travel an authentic narrow gauge railroad 5 ½ miles into the wilderness of an ancient forest, and use the handout guide provided at the beginning of the trip to spot Birch, Maple, Pine, Spruce, and Tamarack trees. Keep your eyes peeled for deer, bear, moose, and gray wolf roaming about their natural habitats. When the line ends at the Tahquamenon River, a spacious double-decker boat awaits to take you on a 21 mile narrated cruise down the river, arriving safely at the rapids a half mile from the Upper Tahquamenon Falls. Food, beverages, and restrooms are available on board to provide a comfortable experience! The tour pauses at the falls for a little over an hour, where guests are led on a short hike along Upper Michigan hiking trails to a private viewing location of the Upper Tahquamenon Falls. The tour lasts about 6 ½ hours round trip.
The same full 5 ½ miles of rail line are traveled through the beautiful Upper Peninsula Wilderness. A short stopover is made at the Riverside Park, where restrooms and a snack bar are available to customers. The tour lasts about 1 ¾ hours round trip.
Both tours depart from the Soo Junction, Michigan, located just 50 minutes from Paradise and 1 hour from the Mackinac Bridge! These are the perfect excursions for birding enthusiasts, as more than 300 different species of birds have been documented migrating through this area!
Visit www.trainandboattours.com for pricing, tour schedules, and additional information, or call 1-888-77TRAIN to make your reservations today! Be sure to bring warm clothing and comfortable hiking shoes along with you for the journey!
The unique features of Paradise are well-showcased in our signature events. From Whitefish Point to Tahquamenon Falls, visitors have the opportunity to discover what is special about Paradise during each of these annual occasions!
Annual Spring Fling | Whitefish Point Bird Observatory: April 29 – 30, 2017
WPBO’s Celebration of Bird Migration, when members and their guests “migrate” to Paradise, Michigan and the Whitefish Point area to visit with old friends, both human and avian. Many activities are being planned for another refreshing weekend of birding experiences. Get details on the Whitefish Point Bird Observatory website, www.WPBO.org
Whitefish Point Marathon: June 10, 2017
Starting at the Whitefish Township Emergency Services building, runners traverse north to Whitefish Point and back to the Whitefish Township Community Center. The relatively flat and serene route is an ideal marathon, certified by the USA Track & Field organization and approved by the Michigan’s Governor’s Council on Fitness. This year’s race is Saturday, June 10, 2017. For race details and registration options go to their website: www.WhitefishPointMarathon.org.
Music On The Bay |Tuesday Nights in July and August
FREE Summer Concert Series for community and visitors. The music starts at 7:00 PM, bay-side of the Whitefish Township Community Center, Paradise, Michigan. Weather permitting the concert will be outside. Inclement weather will move the concert inside. Concessions available. For concert schedule and headliners www.ParadiseMusicOnTheBay.org
Annual Crisp Point Lighthouse Conference: July 15, 2017
Starting the day at the Whitefish Township Community Center on M-123 in Paradise, Crisp Point Light Historical Society members and Crisp Point Lighthouse enthusiasts will gather to organize and celebrate Crisp Point’s history and longevity. Join the group for coffee, juice, and baked goods, provided for breakfast. The groups leaders will be giving everyone an update on the happenings and future happenings at Crisp Point. Later, you can pack a lunch to eat at the school or at the light. Dinner will be at the lighthouse, with hot dogs and all the fixings. For more information, visit: www.CrispPointLighthouse.org
Tahquamenon Trail Run: August 8, 2017
Race through the Eastern Upper Peninsula’s wilderness along the North Country Trail from the Tahquamenon River mouth to the Upper Tahquamenon Falls. Part of the Great Lakes Endurance Series, the Tahqua Trail Run continues to grow in popularity, with last year’s competition featuring over 200 runners. Bussing is available to the race start from the Upper Tahquamenon Falls parking lot and Whitefish Township School. With a 25k, 10k, and 2k kid’s race, the Taqhua Trail Run offers fun for the whole family! Occurs annually in August. For more information or to volunteer, contact Jeff Crumbaugh at (715) 460-0426. Register here for next year’s race. Event hosted by Tahquamenon Falls State Park and sponsored by Great Lakes Endurance.
Wild Blueberry Festival: August 18 – 20, 2017
Each year during the third weekend in August, friends and families of Paradise, Michigan celebrate a part of the local heritage, wild blueberries. A hand-crafted arts and craft fair, strolling entertainment, stage entertainment, and an evening music jamborees as well as an abundance of wild blueberry delicacies are just part of the festivities.
For more information, visit www.WildBlueberryFestival.org
Tahquamenon Wilderness Canoe Race: September 16, 2017
This 17 mile, two-person professional canoe race challenges you to brave the waters of the Tahquamenon River from the Lower Tahquamenon Falls to Lake Superior. A shorter one-person race and fun run for amateur paddlers are also offered.
For more information, visit TahqumenonWildernessCanoeRace.org or call Dave and Jane Grondin at (906) 492-3444. Event sponsored By the Paradise Area Chamber of Commerce and the Michigan Canoe Racing Association.
Hike Between Da Falls: September 23, 2017
Join us in June to explore the scenic trails connecting the Upper and Lower Tahquamenon Falls! Follow the River Trail to the lower falls through a secluded forest of American beech, sugar maple, eastern hemlock and yellow birch. This delightful 4 mile adventure along the nationally, designated wild and scenic Tahquamenon River is anchored by two of Michigan’s most majestic waterfalls. A convenient shuttle service is provided from the Lower Tahquamenon Falls, bussing hikers directly to the Upper Tahquamenon Falls. For more information, call 906-492-3415.
Haunted Trail: October 6 – 7, 2017
Kick off your family Halloween events right! Hike the Haunted Trail as ghouls, goblins, and gremlins dance among the pumpkins, pines, and pitchforks. Held at Sawmill Creek Township Park just north of Paradise on Whitefish Point Road. The trail is open from 7:30 -10:00 pm. Admission is $7.00 for adults and $5.00 for children ages 12 and under. This hike is not recommended for children 10 and under. Souvenirs, snacks, and beverages are available on sight for additional costs. Have a spookin’ good time! Watch for pictures on our spooky website! www.EUPHauntedTrail.org
The 7th Annual Whitefish Point Run for the Light: October 14, 2017
This race/walk features 5K and 10K distances as a fundraiser for historic Light Tower restoration. For additional details go to the event sponsor’s website: www.ShipwreckMuseum.com
Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Service: November 10
The Edmund Fitzgerald was lost with her entire crew of 29 men on Lake Superior November 10, 1975, 17 miles north-northwest of Whitefish Point, Michigan. Each year, the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum hosts a memorial service for surviving family members and the community. It is at this time that the community reflects on the lives lost in Lake Superior. To read more about the Edmund Fitzgerald visit the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum website. 7:00 pm Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, Whitefish Point
Great Lakes Endurance Tahquamenon Snowshoe Hike: February 17, 2018
This race includes 5K, 10K, 20K, Kid’s 800m at the Upper Tahquamenon Falls. SnowShoe Race Information
Tahquamenon Falls State Park Winter Fest: February
If you like visiting waterfalls in the summer you should see them in the winter! Breathtaking! Join us in the heart of this Paradise for Winter Fest! Take a guided evening lantern-lit cross country ski or snowshoe tour to view the beauty of a frozen U.P. waterfall in February, the Upper Tahquamenon Falls. A bonfire with refreshments is provided to help visitors warm the chills of a U.P. winter. Free snowshoe rentals will be available. Please bring a headlamp/flashlight along with you for the journey! For more information, call (906) 492-3415.