Northern Lights in Michigan – Where and How to see them

Michigan Northern Lights viewing: Where and When to See the Northern Lights In Michigan

Want to see the mysterious Michigan Northern lights?

Continue reading if so.

There’s nothing more thrilling for dedicated night sky-watchers (and everyone else), than the chance to see the mysterious Northern Lights in Michigan. The forecast for the northern lights is out, and you should see the Aurora Borealis in Michigan skies this week.

It’s time for you to learn how and where you can see the amazing celestial phenomenon. An unforgettable outdoor adventure that you won’t want is to see the Michigan sky lit up with yellows blues greens and violets.

Continue reading to find the best spots to view the Northern Lights. You can also use our map (at bottom of the page) to plan your Aurora Borealis viewing.

When and where to see the Michigan Northern Lights

The Northern Lights of Michigan are a wonderful sight to see in August and April.

Michigan has miles of undeveloped Great Lakes shoreline, and acres of pine and hardwood forest, making it one of the most beautiful spots in the northern hemisphere for catching a glimpse at the Aurora Borealis (also known as the Northern Lights).

Michigan is home to six state-designated dark sky preserves (including one internationally-designated preserve) and many other places that give you the opportunity to see the Northern Lights clearly and free of artificial light. There are many amazing spots to see the Aurora Borealis in Michigan, including the South Shore of Lake Superior, Drummond Island in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula and the Michigan Thumb region.

Michigan has endless open space, which is free of artificial light. It’s one of the best places to see the northern lights.

The Michigan Northern Lights

You might have always associated the northern or southern lights with Canada or Norway, but you can see the spectacular displays right here in Michigan.

Legendary is the magical beauty of the lights dancing across space. It is simply breathtaking to see the lights dancing across the sky above Michigan soil and water each year.

These astral projections, which have been a cultural phenomenon since ancient times, were accompanied by many unanswered questions. The Northern Lights Center says that auroral projections were considered to be harbingers or signs of war or famine in medieval times. Menominee Indians from Wisconsin believed that the lights were a sign of Manabai’wok (giants), which were spirits of great fishermen and hunters.

Michigan has some of the most beautiful views of the northern light, and it is possible to see them over one of our Great Lakes.

The aurora is most common in this area, but it can also be seen from other locations, like Michigan, when there are stronger solar storms.

What is the Northern Lights?

Understanding the Northern Lights

The Northern Lights are also known as the Aurora Borealis. They are caused by the collision of electrically charged particles from sun entering earth’s atmosphere.

These are caused by the sun’s solar flares and the solar wind, which sweep through the vast expanse of space. This is known as the Aurora Australis in the southern hemisphere. We see the colorful waves above us as if there is an ocean of color. But what really happens is the collision between electrons and atoms within the earth’s magnetic field.

The light that we see is created by electrons, called aurorae. Although they are unpredictable, you can often predict their appearance.

This allows you to plan roughly when you’ll be able to see the lights, usually within two days, and find the best places for it.

Where to see the Northern Lights in Michigan

The peak months to see the Northern Lights are October, November, April, and April. However, they come alive continuously between August and April.

Download an aurora activity app to pinpoint the best time and day to view the northern lights. Pay attention to the National Weather Service forecasts: Clear nights equal better visibility.

What is the best time of day to see the Northern Lights in Michigan

The strength and location the geomagnetic storm is bringing the Northern Lights (or Aurora Borealis), will determine the best time to see them.

Some claim times are between 9 p.m. and around midnight, while others claim times at 12 a.m. It is best to consult the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), Northern Lights Aurora Borealis Forecaster tool.

This tool will allow you to plan when the northern lights are most visible.

Michigan is the perfect spot to see the Northern Lights

According to, the best spot to see the northern light is anywhere in the “auroral area,” which is an area that lies within a radius of approximately 1,550 miles from the North Pole.

Tips to See the Northern Lights in Michigan

You will need to plan your space-viewing adventures. You can also search for “where to see Northern Lights near me” using our map at bottom of the page. Below are our top viewing spots for aurora borealis. We also have tips for extended viewing trips.

  • Start by searching for low-light areas that are as far north and northeast as possible to find the best viewing spots.
  • Due to light pollution, it will be difficult to see the natural phenomena you are chasing if you live in big cities.
  • It’s possible to go on a day trip, or even a night trip, but a longer trip is better.

Where to see the Northern Lights in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula

The Upper Peninsula of Michigan is one of the best spots in the state for seeing the northern lights. These are some places you should consider when hunting for northern lights.

The Keweenaw Peninsula, Copper Harbor and Eagle Harbor

Copper Harbor is home to several locations where Aurora Borealis sightings have been reported. This area of the Upper Peninsula is remote and offers a clear view of the sky from the shoreline. Brockway Mountain Drive, Esrey Park and Esrey Park make great places to start. You’ll find Great Sand Bay between Eagle Harbor and Eagle River. This is a large open area with no artificial light.

Porcupine Mountains

The 6000-acre mountain range is located on the shores Lake Superior. It’s a great spot to view the lights. There are plenty of camping spots at Porcupine Mountains Wildnerness State Park. If the northern lights do make an appearance, you can enjoy panoramic views due to their high altitude and absence of light pollution.

Isle Royale National Park

This island on Lake Superior is the most remote. The skies above this island, which covers more than 200 miles, are virtually unaffected by artificial light.

Southern Shore of Lake Superior: Marquette and Skanee; AuTrain, Munising; Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Whitefish Point

The southern shores of Lake Superior are the best places in the country to view the northern lights. It offers a spectacular viewing experience. From any area along the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, you have a great view of Lake Superior and the night sky. It is important to have a clear view of the night sky at this latitude.

Pictured Rocks, the national lakeshore, is a great spot to see the northern lights. You can either view them from land or go out on a kayak and then look from the water. Imagine floating through the clear waters of Lake Superior, becoming part of the display of northern lights as they reflect off the water.

You can also visit Marquette to see the incredible Black Rocks. is also a great spot to enjoy the astral show.

Tahquamenon Falls State Park

Tahquamenon Fall has been voted Michigan’s most popular spot. You only need a Michigan state park permit to enjoy the natural beauty of Michigan.

You can also experience the phenomenon known as the northern lights from this location.

The Lower Peninsula of Michigan is home to the Northern Lights

Mackinac Bridge

Driving over the magnificent Mackinac Bridge was enough. Watching the sky glow with shimmering colors adds an entirely new dimension to the experience.

This is the ideal area to relax and enjoy the day while you wait for the sun to set.

To learn more about night sky and aurora borealis, visit the Headlands International Dark Sky Park in Mackinaw City. Although it is difficult to predict when the Northern Lights will appear, the park’s Clear Sky chart can help you to determine the best time to see them.

Port Crescent State Park

Although Northern Lights aren’t quite as common in the lower peninsula of Michigan as in the upper peninsula, they can be seen in Port Crescent State Park. Port Crescent is located between the resort towns of Caseville and Port Austin.

Although the earth’s magnetic field is difficult to predict, the release of the Northern Lights by it is like a magical dance between the night sky, and the intrusive, although welcome, solar flares.

Port Crescent State Park’s Dark Sky Park offers everything you need to enjoy a spectacular northern lights experience. It includes a campground away from light pollution, three miles of Lake Huron beach, and a dark skies preserve that provides great northern lights conditions.

Photography of the Northern Lights

Many people are drawn to northern Michigan’s Northern Lights for the simple reason that they can be photographed. These are some tips to capture photos of the northern light:

  • You might be eager to capture the light through your lens. Make sure you know the best settings for your camera so you are ready for when they arrive.
  • A wide aperture and shutter speeds between 1-15 seconds are ideal. It is important to pay attention to your ISO and white balance settings.
  • Find out more about photographing the Northern Lights here. Shawn Malone’s night photography shows the northern lights at the UP.


Q. When is the best time of year to see the Northern Lights of Michigan?

A. You can catch a glimpse at the Northern Lights during August and April. However, the best time to see the Aurora Borealis in person is between April and October.

Q. When do you have the best chance of seeing the Northern Lights in Michigan?

A. The best time to see the Northern Lights is in the late summer and early spring. You have the best chance to see the Northern Lights in April, October, or November. The Northern Lights are more likely to be seen in Michigan if you live further north than the rest of the state. The Aurora Borealis can be seen from the southern shores on Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

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