Alrighty! Here’s a little recap of our trip to Escanaba… the places I’d recommend to drink, eat, and adventure to! If you know the area better than I do, and you have any more tips/recommendations, let me know in the comments! We loved our trip to Escanaba. Like I mentioned before, I planned this trip to the area because there were five lighthouses I hadn’t seen yet… and needed to check off my list. But I ended up loving this weird, desolate town. 😉 It’s full of character, and I loved the food, wine, vibes and things to do. It was definitely a slower weekend (as most weekends in the upper peninsula are), which I always appreciate. Sometimes it feels like I’m letting out a breath of air I’ve been holding in once I hit the U.P., it’s sort of strange to explain. I just love it up here; and Escanaba is definitely part of that reason now too!
Take a drive out to Gladstone + Rapid River.
I did a full blog post on this, but it’s an easy jaunt to the little Gladstone Lighthouse and Van Cleve Park/Gladstone Beach — about 15 minutes from Escanaba. You can visit the beach, have a picnic in the park, go fishing, and visit the lighthouse. We walked around for a bit, spotted some river otters playing, and enjoyed drinks from a vending machine. 😉 After that, we drove an extra 15 minutes to check out Rapid River Falls, which is just a small waterfall, but beautiful and worth checking out! Especially just to sit and enjoy the scenery for a bit.
Grab a beer at Upper Hand Brewery.
Upper Hand Brewery is one of the first places we visited when we got to Escanaba! I don’t love beer, but Eric does and this place is definitely a popular place to hang out. I tried one of their seasonal fruit beers… and I wanted to love it so much, but just couldn’t. It was so pretty, haha! But Eric had to finish off both beers by himself. 😂 We did have fun though sitting in their little taproom, playing a round of Guess Who. They have tons of board games available, and a cute outdoor patio. The location is interesting… it’s out by the airport, not downtown like everything else was, but definitely worth a visit if you’re in the area and you love craft beer!
Eat at Swedish Pantry.
I repeat, eat at Swedish Pantry. Hahaha. This was probably my favorite meal of the entire trip, to be honest. I was looking forward to this place. I also looooveee me a good crêpe. It's located right downtown Escanaba, so an awesome location to park, eat, and then walk around a bit. When you walk inside, you’re greeted by a Swedish bakery, and then you can sit in their eclectic little cafe with tons of unique, handmade clocks on the walls. Eric and I went for their most classic Swedish breakfasts — I had the swedish pancakes (crêpes), which were served with meatballs and lingonberries. SO GOOD. That little dish of melted butter though. 🤤 Eric had their potato pancakes served with applesauce and sour cream. I had several bites of those… so good. I loved this entire meal!
Grab a pizza and a drink from Mo's Pub.
So we didn’t really plan on visiting Mo’s Pub while we were in town, but we were looking for a later dinner, and stopped in… and it ended up being our favorite place for dinner on this trip! We actually went there twice — it was that good! We loved the vibe. We sat in the bar, in a booth, and apparently the owner loves Journey, so they had Journey radio playing, so it was just like… the best music, the best vibes, delicious drinks (thank you for having moscato!) and we ordered the cheeseburger pizza, which was just ugh… so tasty. We pretty much ate an entire large pizza by ourselves, along with some jalapeño poppers. We fancy like that. Of course, our favorite place for dinner is a pub. 😂
Go wine tasting at Leigh’s Garden Winery and Northern Sun Winery.
So there are two great places to go wine tasting (three actually, if you head to Menominee and go to Yooper Winery) but in the Escanaba area… I’d definitely recommend checking out Leigh’s Garden Winery and Northern Sun Winery. Our favorite was Leigh’s, but we just had a great experience. It’s located right downtown, so we went right after brunch, and were the only ones in there. We just loved the staff and had great conversation, and loved the wines. We left with several bottles. 😂🍷 And we were able to meet Leigh (the owner) — he was so kind and gave us two special anniversary wine glasses! So yeah, I loved that place. Northern Sun Winery was a bit better for outdoor vibes; it’s a beautiful location out on a vineyard. But I didn’t love the wines as much there (more of a sweet drinker here) but if you love dry wines, this place is for you!
Grab a pasty from Dobber’s Pasties.
So I’m not sure if Dobber’s Pasties is the best pasty in the area or not… but this is the only place we tried, so I’m recommending! I feel like whenever you’re in the U.P., you have to eat a pasty for at least one meal! It’s such a classic dish of the area! I went for the traditional beef pasty — they’re made with chopped beef, farm fresh potatoes, sweet rutabagas, onions and salt & pepper all wrapped and baked in their flaky, famous crust. Eric went for the veggie pasty! This is a great lunch spot if you’re looking for something after a little wine tasting… before you grab dinner later in the night! It had sort of a quick-eats vibe, but we sat inside, ate our pasties before venturing off to our next excursion!
Visit the Sand Point Lighthouse.
I also did a full blog post on the Sand Point Lighthouse if you’re interested, but this is definitely a “must see” when you’re in Escanaba. It’s only open to the public from Memorial Day through the month of September, so if you want to be able to tour this one, I’d recommend visiting in the summer months! For a small fee (which goes toward keeping up the lighthouse) , you can walk around the rooms that are restored as authentically as possible with 19th century furnishings and climb the tower to the top for a pretty view of the bay! I loved this lighthouse!
Grab breakfast at Rosy’s Diner, eat dinner at The Stonehouse and have a drink at Ernie’s Irish Pub.
A few other restaurant recommendations… for breakfast, we ended up checking out Rosy’s Diner. It was very much a mom + pop type diner with Rosy herself behind the counter serving up breakfast. It’s a small place, and they only take cash, so come prepared! I ordered the homemade corned beef hash which was good (but suuuch a giant portion, Eric and I could have split). Another one of our dinner spots was the popular Stonehouse Restaurant and Lounge. This place gets busy — so I might recommend making a reservation! We usually eat dinner late on vacation, so we strolled in around 8pm and were seated right away. Dinner was delicious though! Definitely on the higher-price end, but I loved the wine and steak/shrimp meal I ordered. And after dinner, grab a drink at the local Irish pub — Ernie’s Irish Pub! DJ Poke was playing music, so Eric and I had fun just sitting at the bar, listening to jams, drinking wine and beer, people-watching some of the locals. 😉
Drive out to Peninsula Point and climb the lighthouse tower.
And if you’re heading out of Escanaba back into the lower peninsula, or if you’re just looking for an adventure, I’d definitely recommend driving out to Peninsula Point. It’s about an hour drive from downtown Escanaba (most of the time spent driving down the peninsula). You can read my full blog post here too, but you can climb the historic lighthouse tower, see the monarch butterflies in fall, have a picnic, catch a glimpse of the Minneapolis Shoal Light out in the bay, and enjoy a gorgeous view of the water. I loved this spot — it was so special!
Take a drive around Sand Point.
So this is a quick thing to do, but one of my favorites and we did this several times during our weekend in Escanaba! But once you pass the lighthouse, there’s a little loop on Sand Point on Water Plant road. You can stop at the end, park, and walk around for a bit. You can spot the Escanaba (Crib) Light out in the water, watch the waves, and see the sunset. It’s so pretty around dusk! (Also for you Pokémon GO players, there’s a gym or something here? I don’t play, but Eric constantly wanted to visit this place. Hahaha. 😂)
I hope you guys enjoyed my little recap of our trip to Escanaba! If you’re from the area or know the area — are we missing anything to add to our list for a next time?! I’d love to be able to charter a boat to see the Minneapolis Shoal Light up close, so who knows, maybe we’ll be back someday. It’s definitely a fun town to check out though — lots of history, good food, good wine, things to see. It was definitely a slower weekend for us, which I loved. Lots of strolling the downtown, checking out weird stuff, small waterfalls, taking several drives down the loop by the bay. Such a great weekend though; I just love the upper peninsula! Escanaba, thanks for reaffirming that! 😘