In summer, Michigan's Keweenaw Peninsula is beautiful and cool, yet quiet even at the peak of tourist season.
It doesn't have many "attractions,'' yet there's so much to see soft pink-sandstone beaches, old mining towns, 10 lighthouses. In late July, blueberries ripen along roads and bear sightings are likely.
Details: For more, see Digging the Keweenaw.
Past fast plans: Natural beauty in Thunder Bay, Breezy in Bayfield, Music and theater in Winona, Staying cool in Grand Marais, Riverfront fun in Minneapolis
Festa Italiana in Milwaukee. At the lakefront Henry Maier Festival Park, there's cannoli-eating and pizza-making contests, celebrity chefs, a bocce ball tournament, parades at 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, nightly fireworks and music and dance on five stages and an opera tent. July 2022.
Lumberjack Days in Stillwater, Minn. This music festival along the St. Croix River also features lumberjack shows and such attractions as a downhill derby, hammerschlagen, helicopter rides and a parade at 1 p.m. Sunday. July 2022.
Lumberjack World Championships in Hayward, Wis. You can't see this kind of thing just anywhere: cut-throat log rolling, boom running, springboard chopping and speed climbing. July 1921.
Air and Water Show in Milwaukee. This show, between Bradford and McKinley beaches on the lakefront, features many aerobatics and features the U.S. Air Force Thunderbirds. July 2122.
For more, see our Events Calendar.
If you dont know much about Minnesotas North Shore, trip-planning can be confusing.
For one thing, its really the west shore of Lake Superior. People in Ontario dont get confused because they live on the real north shore. Chicagoans do because they call their northern suburbs the North Shore.
When heat wraps itself around your shoulders like an electric blanket with static cling, theres only one thing to do: Look for cold water.
You'll find it tubing on a spring-fed river, such as the South Branch of the Root River, which takes a short cut through Mystery Caverns and heads toward Lanesboro chilled to 48 degrees.
On Minnesota's North Shore, plop yourself into one of the Baptism Rivers potholes and let the cool waters swirl around you. Or go whitewater rafting a fast cool-down is guaranteed.
If it's really scorching, try a dip in Lake Superior. Sheltered coves can be tolerable, especially off Michigan's Upper Peninsula, but otherwise it's perfectly chilly.
You can't get more local and sustainable than a wood-fired pizza served just yards from where its ingredients were raised and grown.
Farms that moonlight as pizzerias one or two nights a week are multiplying, but not just because the pizzas are so good.
The visitors who eat them also get to spend an evening soaking up the bucolic country atmosphere, savoring a lifestyle that's now far removed from most lives.
Its almost magic, the power of wind and water on a hot day. It's enough to give you goosebumps.
Tubing Minnesota's Rum River on an oppressively hot afternoon, I was amazed to see goose flesh rise on my legs when a breeze sprang up and a cloud crossed the sun. Wed entered a microclimate that seemed to exist only along the rivers surface.