Our Neighborhood Tour Large Bay: Greatest recreation spots


BIG BAY, Mich. (WJMN) – About 30 miles northwest of Marquette is the community of Big Bay. Despite being a small town on the Upper Peninsula, its outdoor adventures are anything but small.

“I think Big Bay offers this really strong character. When you’re here, there’s a sense of place that’s just really special,” said Sven Gonstead, Chair of the Big Bay Stewardship Council. “I know it runs through the whole UP, but I don’t know, I’m a bit biased. But Big Bay just has this magic and it’s that feeling of being north of Yellow Dog [River] you can just leave everything behind.”

Big Bay offers plenty of water access with Lake Independence and Lake Superior. From Burns Landing, the Big Bay Harbor of Refuge, to Perkins Park Campground. You can kayak, swim or just have a picnic by the water. There are also some camping options.

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“A unique accommodation at Perkins Park Campground is that we have a couple of yurts and it’s a really great experience. Or we have a so-called Rent-A-Tent with some freestanding glamping sites. They are really cute and funny. We feel they are reasonably priced and if someone wants to come and doesn’t have a camper van or similar there are some great places to stay. A great thing about the campsite is that you can rent these yurts and if you are a cyclist or hiker you are very close to hiking trails or very close to town. You can go to the Thunder Bay Inn or the Lumberjack. It’s a really central location,” Gonstead said.

One of the must-see places is the Thomas Rock Scenic Overlook.

“It’s a great ADA accessible vantage point that is very, very comparable to Sugar Loaf Mountain with a wonderful view of Lake Superior. It’s supposed to allow people of all ages to reach it, so it’s pretty neat.”

Something new in Big Bay is the Powell Township Recreation Area.

“It’s a 400-acre property. We have some wonderful hiking and mountain biking trails. That’s really the pride of Powell Township,” Gonstead said.

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Because the area is so remote, the Big Bay Stewardship Council strives to make Big Bay a year-round destination.

“We have many places to stop by and one thing the Big Bay Stewardship Council is working on is helping people find those places with signage and mapping and we are working on kiosks throughout the area . It will be a wonderful asset once this program is complete. At its core, we hope to make Big Bay a better place for residents, and part of that outcome would lead to a more effective tourism economy up here.”

To learn more about what Big Bay has to offer, visit bigbaystewardship.org.