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Where Does ‘Up North’ Begin?

More than 1.2 million Michiganders are expected to travel more than 50 miles this weekend, according to AAA Michigan. Many of them are coming “Up North.”

What that exactly means is a hot debate on social media right now.

It’s a debate that pops up almost every single year around this time, when people start migrating north.


Where exactly does “Up North” begin?

If you’re asking me, I say US-10 from Ludington to Midland, and then you can cut across from there to not include Bay City. As Northern Michigan’s News Leader, here at 9&10 News, we wanted to ask drivers what they thought.

Where exactly is “Up North” to them and how does it feel once you get there? We went to the Welcome Center near Clare, right on US-10 to ask drivers what they thought.

Chris Gregory, of Lansing, was heading to Traverse City, he said it begins in Cadillac. Marie Hengsbach of Saginaw says, “I am from Iron Mountain, so Up North begins at the bridge.” Andy and Kristen Miller, of Howell, say Clare and Tawas, respectively. When asked, Dan Bonello, of Howell, pointed to a line on his hand, right around Clare.


If you can’t agree on a boundary, it seemed the drivers choosing to head north for the holiday weekend had exact reasons why “Up North” was the place to be.

“I think it’s very calm and beautiful. The air is very fresh,” said Megan Hengsbach, “It’s just quintessential Michigan.”

“I like to say Ii like the lack of cell service,” said Andy Miller, “because then work can’t call me.”

Gregory said, “The trees and it’s just a different vibe, it’s hillier, and a lot of breweries.”


“Just the fishing,” said Bonello, “The peace and quiet, relaxation.”

After speaking to several drivers, the answer for where “Up North” begins is inconclusive, it’s more of a state of mind than a point in the state.

So, we will just go with what I said, and make it US-10.

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