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FastPlans/Exploring the Keweenaw Peninsula

Copper Harbor Lighthouse can be reached only by water.

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.

What to do: Explore the beaches between Bete Grise and Gay. Kayak the Keweenaw Water Trail. Talk to the living-history interpreters at Fort Wilkins State Park. Go to a concert at the Calumet Theatre

Events to catch: July 26-28, Civil War Encampment at Fort Wilkins. Aug. 17, Pasty Fest in Calumet. 

Details: For more, see Digging the Keweenaw.

Finding agates in Moose Lake

Lake Superior agates.

Most people think the best place to look for Lake Superior agates, the Minnesota state gemstone, is a Lake Superior beach. Actually, you'll find more in the gravel pits around Moose Lake, 45 minutes south of Duluth.

What to do: Look for agates; you can print out your own permit. Visit the geological interpretive center at Moose Lake State Park. Swim in Moosehead Lake. Bicycle on the Munger State Trail. Visit the Fires of 1918 Museum.

Events to catch: July 13-14, Agate Days, with the Agate Stampede at 3 p.m. Saturday.

Details: For more, see Agate stampede.

Breezy in Bayfield

Bayfield's marina is filled with sailboats and yachts.

For more than a century, vacationers have been making their way to this hillside village on the Wisconsin shore of Lake Superior.

What to do: Cruise the Apostle Islands. Explore Madeline Island. Take a sailing class. Go to a concert or revue at Big Top Chautauqua. Pick berries in the orchards above town. Walk the three-mile Brownstone Trail along Chequamegon Bay. 

Events to catch: July 1-5, Race Week Regatta. July 4, Fourth of July. July 5-7, Red Cliff Powwow. July 20-21, Festival of Arts.

Details: For more, see Beloved Bayfield.

Music and theater in Winona

Inline skater on trail in Winona

In the corner of southeast Minnesota, Winona has an enviable spot on the loveliest stretch of the Mississippi River Valley.

Not only is it scenic, it's a college town, with lots of theater, concerts and coffeehouses.

Events to catch: June 25-Aug. 4, Great River Shakespeare Festival. June 30-July 21, Minnesota Beethoven Festival. July 13, Dixieland Jazz Festival.

What to do: Use canoes, kayaks and paddleboards at Lake Lodge Recreation Center on Lake Winona (pictured). Tour the Minnesota Marine Art Museum. Visit Garvin Heights Vineyards and see the view. Visit the nearby Pickwick Mill.

Details: See Afloat in Winona.

Staying cool in Grand Marais

People walking on the Grand Marais breakwall.

On Minnesota's North Shore of Lake Superior, this village of 1,400 is more cosmopolitan than many towns 20 times its size — it has a performing-arts center, a folk school, an art colony and galleries and restaurants that could hold their own in much bigger cities.

What to do: Walk to Artists' Point. Skip rocks. Take a class from North House Folk School. Hike at nearby Cascade River State Park. Hunt for agates at Cutface Creek Wayside.

Events to catch: June 21-23, Wooden Boat Show and Summer Solstice Festival. July 13-14, Arts Festival

Details: For more, see Four seasons of Grand Marais.