Memorial Day

Cars are seen at McLain State Park near the end of the three-day Memorial Day weekend Monday (May 31).

The Memorial Day weekend was a busy one locally, as visitors filled up local hotels and campgrounds, according to The Daily Mining Gazette.

Conversations with local businesses indicated a good weekend, said Brad Barnett, executive director of the Keweenaw (Mich.) Convention & Visitors Bureau. Many motels, cabinets and hotels in the area were also at capacity. Tourism was also aided by the Experience the Keweenaw event, which reported a good turnout, Barnett said.

“With the good weather, it was a good start to the summer tourist season for the Keweenaw,” Barnett said.

The campground at McLain State Park was full for the weekend, though cooler weather led to less beach visitation, said Supervisor Louise Hunt. It was the first Memorial Day in two years for state parks, which were closed last year until June 22.

Weekdays are still around 50% booked, while weekends are already full, Hunt said.

“As soon as school gets out, about mid-June, we’re going to be full every day,” she said. “It seems like it’s going to be pretty similar to last year. As soon as parks opened, they filled up.”

While Barnett is staying “cautiously optimistic” about the summer, visits to the keweenawinfo.org website are rivaling and sometimes surpassing, those from 2019. Particularly in the late spring, people are looking for information on biking and hiking trails in the area, Barnett said. This year and last year have seen more first-time visitors who might have read about the area or heard about it from friends.

“They’re looking for those local favorites — ‘What are the best hiking spots?’ ‘Tell us a little bit about your favorite restaurants,’ ‘Where can I find a good pasty?’ ‘What’s open right now?’ things like that,” he said.

At the start of the pandemic last year, people were looking for outdoor recreational experiences in low-population areas. Many of those people then came back and told their friends, driving more visits, Barnett said.

“We believe a lot of that has to do with the fact that once you come to the Keweenaw, you’re going to tell your friends and family about it,” he said.

This year is also seeing more traffic from people who opted not to travel last year and still prefer not to be in more crowded urban areas, Barnett said.

“We expect to have a strong summer,” he said. “As long as the weather holds out and travelers have money in their pockets, we should expect to see them come up.”

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