Big Bay

Virtual brochure and information for Big Bay, one of many online travel brochures for tourist information in Big Bay, MI. Provided by your source for Mackinaw Information and Mackinac Information.

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Big Bay Visitors Association
P.O. Box 358
Big Bay, MI 49808

Experience Big Bay
Big Bay... The best thing next to Independence

Big Bay is located in Marquette County, in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Experience for yourself the beauty of Mother Nature at her best.

A Bit of History
Early Days: An old Indian trail, located on the west end of Lake Independence, was used by early fur traders, missionaries and explorers traveling from Big Bay to L’Anse. Evidence of this 300-year-old trial still exists.

Logging was essential to the formation and development of Big Bay and still plays an important economic role today. In 1864, the steamer "Clement" took the first recorded shipment of white pine logs from this area.

The Huron Mountain Club was organized in 1889, and by 1927, the Club either owned or controlled 12,000 acres of land, and 37 private cabins had been built on the property.

Lumbermill Days: In 1901, Big Bay Lumber Company constructed a sawmill near Lake Independence. Toward the end of 1902, Big Bay experienced the first of several "bust" periods leaving the town all but deserted. 1903 brought a reorganization of Big Bay Lumber and, by the end of 1904, 130 men were cutting 40,000 board feet of hemlock and hardwood a day. In 1906, the sawmill closed and wasn’t re-opened again until 1908, when Brunswick-Balke-Collender Company purchased it, renaming it Lake Independence Lumber Company. Brunswick remained a strong presence in Big Bay until mid-1932 when the mill was shut down again. Between 1936 and 1938, Kerry and Hansen Flooring Company operated the mill.

In 1934, Dr. Goldie Corneliuson and Elba Morse converted the former home of Jay Brunswick Deutsch into Bay Cliff Health Camp. Bay Cliff continues to make dreams come true for physically and emotionally impaired children today.

Henry Ford bought the mill in 1943, remodeled it, and built a new engine room, boiler room and 190-foot smokestack. Mr. Ford died in 1947, but the mill operated until 1949, when Ford Motor Co. closed it for good, ending the lumber mill era in Big Bay.

Hollywood Comes to Big Bay: In 1951, the U.S. Army began training men in anti-aircraft artillery use. That year, Lumberjack Tavern owner Mike Chenowith is kicked by an Army Lieutenant in a dispute over the Lieutenant’s wife. The story was developed into a novel, Anatomy of a Murder, and portions of the movie were filmed at the Thunder Bay Inn (formerly the Big Bay Hotel) in 1959.

Much about Big Bay has remained the same since those early days. We take great pride in our beautiful scenery, sparkling waters and friendly people. There are countless entertainment options, so bring the family, bikes, fishing poles, canoes, kayaks, skis, snowmobiles…or just your own two feet…and experience all that Big Bay has to offer.

Big Bay/Area Events

- Big Bay Snowmobile Race
- Subaru Noquemanon Ski Marathon

- Women’s Ski Tour
- Ice Fishing Derby, Lake Independence
- UP-200 Sled Dog Race & Winterfest

- UP Builders’ Show

- Trout/Salmon Fishing Opener

- Walleye Fishing Opener
- Birding on the Bay, Munising
- Big Bay Relay

- Becoming an Outdoor Woman (BOW)
- Paddle Sport Demo, Lake Independence
- DNR Free Fishing Weekend & Derby

- July 4th Softball Tourney/Bay Cliff Parade
- Fire-On-The-Bay (First Sat. after July 4th)

- Summer on the Bay
- Cracked Court Tennis Classic

- Softball Tournament

- Big Bay 500 Snowmobile Club Pig Roast

- Hunters’ Supper (local Church-sponsored)

- Christmas Craft Sale/Bazaar

For specific dates, log on to
For info, log on to

Area Attractions

  • Big Bay Pathway: Cross-country skiing, hiking and bicycling. Part of the Noquemanon Trail Network. 906-345-0149
  • Big Bay Point Lighthouse: Guided tours available June 1 – Oct. 15. 906-345-9957
  • Burn’s Landing: Big Bay’s oldest surviving cabin, built in 1860; on the shores of Lake Superior
  • Hiawatha Water Trail: Access point along the 120 mile-long water trail, stretching from Big Bay to Grand Marais, Michigan
  • Rivers & Waterfalls: Numerous rivers and waterfalls to visit; contact local guide service.

Big Bay offers Churches, Lodging & Camping, Dining & Spirits, Boating Facilities, Building & Excavating, Real Estate Agents, Equipment Rentals/Guide Services, Retail/Shopping, Services/Information

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