Michigan's Upper Peninsula

Ft. Wilkins State Park
  |  Gorp.com

Ft. Wilkins, formerly a US army post, possesses a fascinating history. Built in 1844 — amid Michigan's "Copper Rush" — to protect new copper mines from indian raids, it was abandoned in 1870 when the copper market began to decline.

Today its 19 buildings have been turned into a living history complex with re-enactors who depict life in the 1860s. When we visited, an "officer's wife" invited us into her parlor and taught my kids how to write with a real fountain pen.

A fun 15-minute boat ride away, you can also visit the Copper Harbor Lighthouse, which dates back to 1866. Inside, the lighthouse has been restored to reflect the way it would have looked when it was inhabited by the lighthouse keeper and his family in the early 20th century.

Copper Harbor Lighthouse is part of the Ft. Wilkins historic complex. Guided boat tours to the lighthouse are available seven days a week and leave from the Copper Harbor Marina, about two miles from Ft. Wilkins. Fares are $11 for adults and $6 for children under 12.

Ft. Wilkins is located one mile east of Copper Harbor on U.S. 41. For more information, you can contact Fort Wilkins State Park at: PO Box 71 US-41 East, Copper Harbor, MI 49918, or call 906-289-4215.

Published: 28 Apr 2002 | Last Updated: 13 May 2011
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


Sign up to Away's Travel Insider

Preview newsletter »