Located on the Menominee River along northern Lake Michigan, border seaports Menominee, and Marinette, Wisconsin, are beautiful twin cities with an abundance of recreational opportunities and community events, perfect for a weekend getaway.
"Whether you are a resident, potential resident or a visitor, we have many areas of interest to explore," Menominee Mayor Jean Stegman said on the city website. "We have an expansive park system throughout the city, including a full-service campground adjacent to the Menominee River, a first-rate marina and a charming historic district."
Marinette boasts similar attractions, according to Mayor Denise Ruleau, citing the Lake Michigan shoreline and the mouth of the historic Menominee River.
a view of downtown Menominee from the marina. The marinas in Menominee and Marinette remain at very high occupancy in the summer, according to the Menominee Marinette Area Chamber of Commerce. (Photo courtesy of Myra Christophersen)
"These wonderful natural resources provide our residents and visiting tourists opportunities for some of the finest fishing and boating experiences in the Great Lakes region," Ruleau said.
"Marinette is working hard to be Wisconsin's favorite small city in which to live, work and enjoy the natural wonders that bless our shores."
Only an hour north of Green Bay, the two towns are connected by the Menominee River Bridge along U.S. 41, which has bike lanes and sidewalks. In terms of population, Marinette is larger with 10,943 residents, compared the Menominee's 8,500, in the latest census.
Destination: Menominee and
Mileage: Marquette to Menominee,
120 miles; Marquette to Marinette,
Wisconsin, 121 miles.
Reason to go: Twin border towns
with lots to offer
Trip Activities: Fishing, boating,
shopping and music
Historical Fact: First inabitants of the
Menominee River Basin were a small
Algonquin tribe called "the wild rice
For more information: www.cityofmenominee.com or www.marinette.wi.us
In an area steeped in the logging and timbering tradition, the fifth annual Marinette Logging and Heritage Festival, Saturday and Sunday, is a prominent community celebration, taking place on picturesque Stephenson Island. It includes a benefit run, music, a food pavillion, craft vendors, lumberjack shows, children's area, fireworks and more.
The 32nd annual Menominee Waterfront Festival starts on the first Thursday of every August, taking place Aug. 7 to 10 this year, one of the community's oldest and most beloved events featuring a parade, fireworks and more.
Menominee has also begun a very successful bike share program, in which yellow bikes are stationed around the town and can be rented free of charge.
"(Menonminee) is definitely an undiscovered gem in the U.P.," said Holly Meyer, programs and membership coordinator for the Marinette Menominee Area Chamber of Commerce. "There are a ton of things going on and it's probably one of the most beautiful marinas in the state."
The 66th annual Bay Jammer Weekend will also take place in Menominee July 18 to 20. It is a sea scout and mariner scout competition, which brings Boy Scouts from all over the country for an alcohol-free event including music and a parade.
Fishing derbies and tournaments are held in the marina throughout the summer as well.
Menominee parks are situated in town or located nearby offering great places to picnic or camp. Two examples include the roughly 6-acre Great Lakes Memorial Park in the city's Historic Waterfront District - with 1,100 feet of waterfront, picnic tables, a boat landing and playground - and J.W. Wells State Park, situated about a 20 minute drive north of Menominee.
The state park has is an expansive wilderness area along Lake Michigan with swimming beaches, nature trails, and 150 trailer and tent camping sites.
Of course, there is plenty of shopping, restaurants and lodging.
There are historical attractions, too. The Menominee County Heritage Museum has exhibits showcasing early settlers to the area. The North Pier Light, a historic lighthouse, is located near Menominee's downtown area.
Menominee and Marinette are known also for their architecture. The downtown areas have historic buildings, gift shops, antique shops, bookstores and a range of small retail outlets. Both communities hold farmers markets.
There is also music at the Menominee bandshell, sunset concerts on Stephenson Island in Marinette and Theatre on the Bay. Stephenson Island also has an outdoor movie series.
Marinette County is called the waterfalls capital of Wisconsin, with several waterfalls nearby and plenty of camping available.
There is also an annual hook race, taking place this year July 20 to 21 which starts in Racine, Wisconsin, and takes sailors to Marinette and back to Racine.
The DeYoung Family Zoo is located near Marinette. Marinette has several parks, too, including City Park where overnight camping is available; Red Arrow Park with its nature trails and sandy beach; and Fred Carney Park, with its enclosed pavilion and outdoor basketball court.
"Camping, biking, snowmobiling, ice skating, and ice boating enthusiasts find Marinette an excellent rendezvous for summer and winter sports and recreation," Ruleau said.
Both Marinette and Menominee have golf courses, numerous places to take photographs, sit on park benches and enjoy the scenery, and walk and view the lights along the harbor at night.
Mary Wardell can be reached at 906-228-2500, ext. 248.