12 Best Places to Live in Upper Michigan for the Highest Quality of Life

by Jem
Best Places to Live in Upper Michigan Featured Image
This post may have affiliate links, where I receive a commission if you purchase through them. Here's our Disclosure and Privacy Policy for more info.

Upper Michigan is more than just a region; it’s a way of life. From its rugged forests to its serene lake shores and quaint small towns, the Upper Peninsula offers a diverse array of lifestyles and landscapes. Yet, with its expansive area, finding the perfect place to settle can seem overwhelming. To assist in your search, I’ve crafted this guide on the best places to live in Upper Michigan.

Having extensively explored Upper Michigan, I can vouch for its stunning natural beauty and cultural richness. From the breathtaking views of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to the historic charm of towns like Marquette and Hancock, Upper Michigan’s diversity is truly captivating. Whether you’re enamored by the tranquility of lakeside living, the allure of close-knit community towns, or the adventure of the great outdoors, there’s a spot in Upper Michigan that feels tailor-made for you.

But where to begin? The ideal location varies for everyone. Some may prioritize proximity to nature, others seek a strong sense of community, and for many, affordability is key.

Join me as I delve into the best cities and towns to live in, based on what matters most to you. As someone who has experienced Michigan’s many facets, I’m here to guide you through the best places to live in Upper Michigan. I’ve combed through research, analyzed data, and engaged with locals to compile a list that suits various lifestyles and budgets. Let’s embark on this journey!

The top places to live in Upper Michigan right now

The Best Places to Live in Upper Michigan

Eager to explore the most picturesque places in Upper Michigan? Nestled in the northern region of the Midwest, Upper Michigan offers a diverse array of living options. Continue reading to uncover the top living destinations in Upper Michigan.

Searching for your ideal spot in Upper Michigan? Whether it’s a serene lakeside town or a vibrant community you seek, Upper Michigan has a place that meets your desires.

  • Best for island living: Drummond Island
  • Best for outdoor adventures: Copper Harbor
  • Best for small-town charm: Hessel
  • Best for natural beauty: Newberry
  • Best for lakeside living: Munising
  • Best for community spirit: Crystal Falls
  • Best for cultural richness: Hancock
  • Best for historic charm: Ishpeming
  • Best for waterfront tranquility: St. Ignace
  • Best for serene retreats: Paradise
  • Best for scenic landscapes: Eagle Harbor
  • Best for urban conveniences: Marquette

Here are all the prime locations in Upper Michigan you need to know about:

1. Drummond Island

Discover an island escape that’s one of the best places to live in Upper Michigan. Drummond Island boasts a unique charm, blending serene natural beauty with a close-knit community vibe. Here, the days unfold with the tranquil pace of island life. The crystal-clear waters invite kayaking and fishing enthusiasts, while dense forests offer a haven for hikers and nature lovers.

In the heart of this island, the small-town atmosphere is palpable. Friendly faces and local businesses create a sense of belonging that’s rare in today’s fast-paced world. Seasonal festivals bring the community together, celebrating everything from local heritage to the splendor of the great outdoors.

But Drummond Island isn’t just about serene landscapes; it’s a hub for adventure too. From off-road trails to snowmobiling in winter, there’s always something exciting to do. The island’s unique geological features make it a fascinating spot for explorers and geologists alike.

Living here means embracing the island lifestyle. As the best city to live in Upper Michigan, Drummond Island offers a blend of tranquility, community, and adventure. It’s a place where you can find your niche, whether it’s in the midst of nature, among friendly locals, or out on the water. Drummond Island isn’t just a place to live; it’s a lifestyle to love.

Drummond Island, one of the greatest places to reside in Upper Michigan, has a distinct charm.
Drummond Island, one of the greatest places to reside in Upper Michigan, has a distinct charm.

2. Copper Harbor

Tucked away in the northernmost tip of Upper Michigan, Copper Harbor is a gem that shines among the coolest places to live in Upper Michigan. This quaint village is more than a scenic destination; it’s a lifestyle embraced by those who cherish a quieter, nature-filled life. The stunning Lake Superior shoreline frames the town, offering breathtaking views and endless outdoor activities.

Copper Harbor’s charm lies in its small size and the intimate community that comes with it. Here, everyone knows your name, and the pace of life allows you to savor each moment. The town’s main street is lined with unique shops and eateries, each with its own story to tell.

Adventure seekers find solace in Copper Harbor’s rugged landscapes. Mountain biking trails are renowned worldwide, and the hiking paths lead to hidden waterfalls and secluded coves. Winter transforms the town into a snowy wonderland, perfect for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.

As Michigan’s best cities to live, Copper Harbor is more than a place; it’s an experience. It’s where the stars light up the night sky, unobstructed by city lights, and where the waves of Lake Superior sing a lulling melody. It’s a place where nature’s beauty is your daily backdrop, and a close-knit community becomes your extended family.

Among the most desirable neighborhoods in Upper Michigan is Copper Harbor, a true jewel.
Among the most desirable neighborhoods in Upper Michigan is Copper Harbor, a true jewel.

3. Hessel

Imagine a place where tranquility and beauty merge, creating an idyllic living experience. Hessel, a charming village in Upper Michigan, offers just that. Its picturesque marina, opening into the vast Lake Huron, invites residents to enjoy peaceful waterfront living. This serene setting is one of the best places in Upper Michigan to live in, where every sunrise promises a new adventure.

The heart of Hessel lies in its vibrant community spirit. Local events, from art shows to fishing tournaments, foster a sense of togetherness. The village streets are a blend of historical allure and modern convenience, offering everything from quaint shops to cozy dining spots.

Nature lovers thrive in Hessel. The surrounding areas are a haven for outdoor activities. Kayaking, boating, and fishing are just a few ways to connect with the natural splendor of the Great Lakes. The changing seasons bring new landscapes, from lush green summers to snowy winter wonderlands.

As a nice city to live in Upper Michigan’s picturesque landscape, Hessel combines the simplicity of village life with the beauty of the natural world. It’s a place where community warmth and the call of the wild exist in perfect harmony, making it an ideal spot for those seeking a peaceful, yet vibrant, lifestyle.

Hessel is among the best places to live in Upper Michigan, with fresh adventures waiting around every corner.
Hessel is among the best places to live in Upper Michigan, with fresh adventures waiting around every corner.

4. Newberry

Nestled in the heart of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Newberry is a hidden treasure. This quaint town, surrounded by lush forests and pristine lakes, is more than just picturesque; it’s a vibrant community, making it one of the best places to live in the Midwest. The sense of belonging here is immediate, with friendly locals and a warm, welcoming atmosphere.

Downtown Newberry is a delightful mix of historic charm and modern amenities. The local cafes and shops brim with character, each telling a story of the town’s rich heritage. Community events, from local markets to seasonal festivals, are the heartbeat of this close-knit town, offering both fun and a sense of togetherness.

Outdoor enthusiasts find a paradise in Newberry. The surrounding wilderness provides endless opportunities for exploration, from hiking and biking in the summer to snowmobiling and skiing in the winter. The nearby Tahquamenon Falls State Park is a natural marvel, showcasing spectacular waterfalls and scenic trails.

As the best place to live in Upper Michigan, Newberry embodies the perfect balance of peaceful living and outdoor adventure. It’s a community where nature’s beauty is your everyday backdrop and where life’s simpler pleasures are celebrated. In Newberry, every day is an opportunity to connect with nature and community in equal measure.

Newberry is one of the best places to live in Upper Michigan, as it offers more than just beautiful scenery.
Newberry is one of the best places to live in Upper Michigan, as it offers more than just beautiful scenery.

5. Munising

Greeted by the majestic views of Lake Superior, Munising stands as a picturesque masterpiece in Upper Michigan. This lakeside haven is not just a scenic delight but also one of the good places to live in Upper Michigan. Here, the lake’s azure waters and the sky’s endless expanse merge in a breathtaking panorama.

The town’s charm is amplified by its vibrant community. Streets lined with cozy cafes and unique shops reflect Munising’s warm and welcoming spirit. Local artisans and businesses thrive, supported by a community that values connection and camaraderie.

Outdoor adventures are a staple in Munising. The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, a stone’s throw away, offers a stunning display of natural artistry with its colorful sandstone cliffs. Kayaking, hiking, and boat tours provide immersive ways to explore this natural wonder, changing with the seasons to reveal new facets of beauty.

Living in Munising means embracing nature’s grandeur. As one of the best Upper Michigan cities, it blends a peaceful lifestyle with a spirit of adventure. It’s a place where each day brings a new opportunity to explore the wild, untamed beauty of the Upper Peninsula, all while being part of a close-knit, supportive community.

Munising, surrounded by breathtaking views of Lake Superior, is a magnificent masterpiece.
Munising, surrounded by breathtaking views of Lake Superior, is a magnificent masterpiece.

6. Crystal Falls

Crystal Falls, where nature’s splendor meets small-town charm, is a hidden gem in Upper Michigan. This town, with its lush landscapes and friendly community, stands out as one of the best areas to live in Upper Michigan. The rolling hills and sparkling waterways paint a picture of nature at its finest.

Life here is a harmonious blend of tranquility and community spirit. The historic downtown, with its beautifully preserved buildings, tells stories of a rich past. Local festivals and events are a testament to the town’s vibrant community life, where neighbors become friends.

For outdoor enthusiasts, Crystal Falls is a dream come true. The area is a playground for hiking, fishing, and kayaking, offering a peaceful retreat into nature. In winter, the snow-covered scenery transforms into a haven for snowmobiling and skiing.

Crystal Falls embodies a lifestyle where nature and community coexist beautifully. As one of the nice parts of Upper Michigan, it offers a serene escape from the hustle and bustle of city life, yet keeps you connected with a strong sense of community. Here, life moves at a gentler pace, allowing you to savor every moment amidst nature’s grandeur.

Crystal Falls is one of the best places to live in Upper Michigan due to its beautiful scenery and warm community.
Crystal Falls is one of the best places to live in Upper Michigan due to its beautiful scenery and warm community.

7. Hancock

Perched on the scenic Keweenaw Peninsula, Hancock offers a unique blend of natural beauty and cultural richness, making it a great place to live in Upper Michigan. This charming town, with its historic architecture and stunning waterfront, exudes a sense of warmth and welcoming community spirit.

Hancock’s vibrant heritage is visible in its well-preserved buildings and local museums. The town celebrates its Finnish roots with traditional festivals, infusing a sense of history and culture into everyday life. This cultural tapestry adds depth to the town’s character, making it more than just a scenic spot.

The natural surroundings are a playground for adventure. Hiking trails meander through lush forests, leading to breathtaking views of the peninsula. Winter transforms the town into a snowy paradise, ideal for skiing and snowshoeing, showcasing the beauty of Michigan’s seasons.

As one of where is the best places to live in Upper Michigan, Hancock merges the serenity of a small town with the vibrancy of a close-knit community. It’s a place where history and nature coalesce, offering a tranquil yet culturally rich lifestyle. Here, you can immerse yourself in the beauty of the Upper Peninsula, all while being part of a community that feels like family.

Hancock is an ideal part of Upper Michigan to live as it boasts a unique mix of scenic beauty and cultural diversity.
Hancock is an ideal part of Upper Michigan to live as it boasts a unique mix of scenic beauty and cultural diversity.

8. Ishpeming

In the heart of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, Ishpeming emerges as a destination that artfully combines history with natural beauty. Known for its mining heritage, this town offers a unique living experience, standing proudly as one of the most livable cities in Upper Michigan. Its rich past is woven into the fabric of everyday life, giving it a distinct character.

Ishpeming’s downtown area is a picturesque blend of historic buildings and modern amenities. Here, community events and local businesses thrive, creating a lively and welcoming atmosphere. The town’s commitment to preserving its heritage while embracing the present adds to its charm.

Nature’s playground surrounds Ishpeming, making it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. The rolling hills and dense forests provide perfect settings for hiking, biking, and exploration. Winter brings a wonderland of snow, ideal for skiing and snowshoeing, showcasing the region’s natural beauty in a different light.

Living in Ishpeming means being part of a community that values its history and natural surroundings. As one of Upper Michigan’s best places to live, it offers a balance between a rich cultural heritage and an active outdoor lifestyle. Ishpeming is more than just a place to reside; it’s a community where every day is an opportunity to connect with both history and nature.

It becomes clear that Ishpeming is a place that masterfully blends history and scenic beauty.
It becomes clear that Ishpeming is a place that masterfully blends history and scenic beauty.

9. St. Ignace

Overlooking the stunning Straits of Mackinac, St. Ignace stands as a beacon of natural beauty and historical richness. This charming town is more than just a gateway to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula; it’s a community where the past and present blend seamlessly, creating one of the best cities to live in Upper Michigan. The allure of St. Ignace is evident in its scenic landscapes and vibrant cultural tapestry.

Walking through St. Ignace, you’re greeted with a mix of quaint shops and eateries, each offering a glimpse into the town’s friendly spirit. The waterfront promenade is a perfect spot to enjoy the serene views of the straits, a favorite pastime for locals and visitors alike.

Adventure is never far in St. Ignace. From boating and fishing in the summer to snowmobiling in the winter, the town offers year-round outdoor activities. The proximity to Mackinac Island adds another layer of exploration, with its car-free streets and Midwestern charm.

As one of what are the best places to live in Upper Michigan, St. Ignace offers a lifestyle where natural beauty, history, and a sense of community converge. It’s a place where every day brings a new opportunity to experience the tranquility of waterfront living and the warmth of a close-knit community.

With its breathtaking view of the Straits of Mackinac, St. Ignace is a symbol of both heritage and unspoiled beauty.
With its breathtaking view of the Straits of Mackinac, St. Ignace is a symbol of both heritage and unspoiled beauty.

10. Paradise

Paradise, true to its name, is a slice of heaven in Upper Michigan. This serene town, nestled along the shores of Lake Superior, offers a tranquil retreat from the hustle of daily life. It’s a place where nature’s beauty is on full display, making it one of the best Upper Michigan towns to live. The serene ambiance and stunning landscapes create a perfect backdrop for a peaceful lifestyle.

The community in Paradise is as inviting as the landscapes are breathtaking. Residents enjoy a close-knit, supportive environment where friendships flourish. The town’s local businesses, from charming inns to cozy cafes, add to its small-town charm.

Outdoor activities abound in Paradise. Its proximity to the Tahquamenon Falls State Park provides easy access to one of the most magnificent natural wonders in Michigan. Whether it’s hiking through the lush forests or kayaking along the river, the town is a haven for nature enthusiasts.

Living in Paradise is about embracing the quieter side of life, surrounded by natural splendor. As one of the places to move in Upper Michigan, it offers a unique blend of serenity and community, making it an ideal place for those seeking a respite from the busy world, all while being enveloped in the beauty of the Upper Peninsula.

Abiding by the calmer side of life while surrounded by breathtaking scenery is what it means to live in Paradise.
Abiding by the calmer side of life while surrounded by breathtaking scenery is what it means to live in Paradise.

11. Eagle Harbor

Eagle Harbor is a haven where the charm of a small town meets the grandeur of Lake Superior. This picturesque community, with its stunning waterfront and friendly residents, is celebrated as one of the best towns to live in Upper Michigan. Its tranquil setting is perfect for those seeking a peaceful lifestyle in harmony with nature.

The town’s simplicity is its greatest allure. The streets of Eagle Harbor are lined with historic buildings and local businesses, each with its own unique story and character. Community events and gatherings add a sense of warmth and belonging, creating a tight-knit atmosphere.

Outdoor activities are abundant in Eagle Harbor. The lake offers a playground for boating, fishing, and swimming, while nearby trails invite nature enthusiasts for hiking and biking. Winter unveils a snowy landscape, ideal for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Eagle Harbor offers a lifestyle where the rush of modern life gives way to the soothing rhythms of nature. As one of the best Upper Michigan cities, it’s a place where you can unwind, connect with nature, and enjoy a community that feels like family. It’s not just a destination; it’s a way of life that cherishes the simple joys and natural beauty of the Upper Peninsula.

Eagle Harbor is a sanctuary where the majesty of Lake Superior meets the charm of a tiny village.
Eagle Harbor is a sanctuary where the majesty of Lake Superior meets the charm of a tiny village.

12. Marquette

On the shores of Lake Superior lies Marquette, a vibrant jewel that perfectly blends natural beauty with urban convenience. This bustling city, known for its lively atmosphere and stunning landscapes, ranks as one of the top cities in Upper Michigan to live. It’s where the energy of city life meets the tranquility of nature.

The city’s downtown is a hub of activity, with an array of shops, restaurants, and cultural venues. Marquette’s love for arts and community events adds a colorful vibrancy, making it more than just a place to live, but a place to thrive. The friendly locals and diverse community make everyone feel welcome.

Outdoor adventures are endless in Marquette. From serene beaches to extensive trail systems, the city is a paradise for those who love to explore. The changing seasons bring new activities, from kayaking in the summer to skiing in the winter, ensuring there’s always something exciting to do.

Living in Marquette means experiencing the best of both worlds. As one of the best Upper Michigan cities, it offers the charm of a small town with the amenities of a larger city. It’s a place where every day can be an adventure, surrounded by a community that’s as vibrant and diverse as the landscape itself.

Marquette is a dynamic treasure that ideally combines urban conveniences with scenic splendor on the banks of Lake Superior.
Marquette is a dynamic treasure that ideally combines urban conveniences with scenic splendor on the banks of Lake Superior.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About the Best Places to Live in Upper Michigan

Interested in learning more about the top living destinations in Upper Michigan? Let’s explore some frequently asked questions about the best places to call home in this scenic region of the Midwest.

What is the prettiest town in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan?

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is home to many picturesque towns, each with its unique charm. However, many consider Munising as one of the prettiest. This town, nestled along Lake Superior’s shoreline, is renowned for its breathtaking natural beauty. Munising’s proximity to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore adds to its allure, with stunning sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, and crystal-clear waters. The harmonious blend of natural wonders and a quaint, welcoming community makes Munising a standout, often regarded as one of the best places to live in Upper Michigan.

Is Upper Michigan a good place to live?

Upper Michigan is an excellent place to live for those who appreciate natural beauty, a sense of community, and a slower pace of life. It’s known for its breathtaking landscapes, including dense forests, pristine lakes, and the stunning shores of the Great Lakes. Towns like Marquette combine small-town charm with the conveniences of a larger city.

The region is also celebrated for its outdoor recreational activities, such as hiking, fishing, and skiing. Moreover, the communities in Upper Michigan are known for being welcoming and close-knit. With its blend of natural beauty and a strong sense of community, Upper Michigan is often regarded as one of the nicest parts of Upper Michigan to call home.

Where is the nicest place to live in Michigan?

Determining the nicest place to live in Michigan largely depends on individual preferences. For those who love nature and a quieter lifestyle, the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) offers stunning choices. Marquette, for instance, stands out with its beautiful Lake Superior shoreline, vibrant community, and a perfect mix of urban and natural amenities. It’s often cited as one of Upper Michigan’s best cities to live for its balance of outdoor activities, cultural events, and educational opportunities.

On the other hand, for those preferring a more urban environment, cities like Ann Arbor or Grand Rapids offer a bustling city life combined with cultural richness and excellent amenities. Ultimately, the “nicest” place varies based on what one values most in their community and surroundings.

There are many different types of lifestyles in Upper Michigan to suit various preferences.
There are many types of lifestyles in Upper Michigan to suit various preferences.

Is it cheaper to live in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan?

Living in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan is generally more affordable compared to many other regions in the United States. The cost of living in the U.P. is typically lower, especially when it comes to housing prices, which are considerably less than the national average. This affordability is one of the reasons why the U.P. is considered one of the best places to live in Upper Michigan.

Additionally, the cost of utilities and groceries tends to be reasonable, although some remote areas might have slightly higher prices due to transportation costs. The U.P.’s smaller towns and rural nature contribute to a lower overall cost of living, making it an attractive option for those seeking a more economical lifestyle in a beautiful, natural setting.

Why do people move to the Upper Peninsula?

People are drawn to the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) of Michigan for various compelling reasons:

  • Natural Beauty: The U.P. is renowned for its stunning landscapes, including vast forests, pristine lakes, and the breathtaking shores of the Great Lakes. This scenic beauty is a major draw for nature enthusiasts.
  • Outdoor Activities: The region is a paradise for outdoor activities. With opportunities for hiking, fishing, boating, skiing, and snowmobiling, it’s perfect for those who love an active outdoor lifestyle.
  • Peaceful Living: The U.P. offers a quieter, more relaxed pace of life compared to urban areas. This tranquility is appealing for those looking to escape the hustle and bustle of city living.
  • Community Spirit: The towns and villages in the U.P. are known for their close-knit communities and friendly residents. This sense of belonging and community is a strong attraction.
  • Affordability: The cost of living in the U.P. is generally lower than many other parts of the country, particularly in terms of housing costs.
  • Unique Culture: The U.P. has a rich cultural heritage, including strong Native American and Nordic influences, which adds to its unique charm.

These factors contribute to the U.P. ‘s reputation as one of the nicest parts of Upper Michigan to live, attracting people who seek a combination of natural beauty, community, and a more laid-back lifestyle.

How much money do you need to live comfortably in Michigan?

The amount needed to live comfortably in Michigan varies based on the specific region and lifestyle preferences. However, here’s a general breakdown:

  • Housing: Housing costs in Michigan can vary significantly. In more rural areas, such as many parts of the Upper Peninsula, housing is more affordable. In urban areas like Detroit or Grand Rapids, costs are higher.
  • Utilities and Essentials: Utilities, groceries, and other essentials are generally in line with the national average. Budgeting for these expenses depends on the size of your household and consumption habits.
  • Transportation: If living in a city with public transportation, costs can be lower. However, in more rural areas, owning a vehicle is often necessary, which adds to expenses.
  • Healthcare and Insurance: Costs for healthcare and insurance are variables to consider, especially if not covered by an employer.
  • Lifestyle Choices: Entertainment, dining out, and personal hobbies also factor into the cost of living.

As a rough estimate, a single person might need around $25,000 to $30,000 per year to live comfortably in less expensive areas like the Upper Peninsula, which is often counted among the best places to live in Upper Michigan. In larger cities, this figure could be higher, depending on the exact location and lifestyle.

Final Thoughts on the Best Places to Live in Upper Michigan 

Upper Michigan is a treasure trove of natural beauty and community warmth, offering a diverse array of lifestyles that cater to a variety of preferences. From the serene shores of Eagle Harbor to the vibrant streets of Marquette, the Upper Peninsula (U.P.) presents a unique blend of tranquility and vitality. Whether you’re drawn to the best places to live in Upper Michigan for their stunning landscapes or close-knit communities, the U.P. has something special for everyone.

For those seeking affordability and a peaceful lifestyle, towns like Crystal Falls and Newberry provide a cost-effective living solution without compromising on the charm and amenities. These areas demonstrate that living in Upper Michigan can be both affordable and fulfilling. On the other hand, if you’re looking for a more active and culturally rich environment, cities like Hancock and Ishpeming offer ample opportunities for cultural experiences and outdoor adventures.

And when it comes to quality of life, places like Munising and St. Ignace stand out as some of the nicest parts of Upper Michigan, boasting a perfect balance of natural splendor and community engagement.

So, what are the best Upper Michigan cities to move to? The answer varies based on individual needs and preferences. Whether it’s for the breathtaking scenery, the sense of community, or the laid-back lifestyle, Upper Michigan is not just a place to reside – it’s a way of life that resonates with those who call it home.

The top places to live in Upper Michigan right now
Enjoyed reading about the top places to live in Upper Michigan? Pin it!

You may also like

Leave a Comment