How to Spot the Northern Lights

There are few things as beautiful and mysterious as the aurora borealis, or the Northern Lights – and, when you visit us at Paddling Michigan, you will be plenty north enough to see them. In fact, the quietness of Munising and the low lights make the area a perfect place to spot them. Here are some things to know if you want to catch a sighting on your visit to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Settle in a Place Where You Can See Them

Though the Upper Peninsula is small, there are still plenty of areas with city lights. To get the best viewing experience, move away from the crowds and find some quiet shoreline. The beaches of Munising are ideal, and camping is a great way to spot them. Many people have alarms on their smartphones for when the lights come out, but, if you’re already in the glory of nature, stepping out of your tent is a lot easier than driving to a location in the middle of the night. Find an area that is away from the city but still has Wi-Fi for such alerts for your best chance at seeing this wonder.

Look for a Clear View

Most of the Lake Superior shoreline offers an amazing and unobstructed view of the night sky. One thing that could prevent an optimal viewing experience is the tree line. The UP’s latitude means the auroral display shows up low on the horizon, so even the evergreens that populate the area’s forests could make it difficult to see the lights if you choose the wrong spot.

Pick the Right Time

To discover when you have the best chance of catching the Northern Lights in Munising, you may need to do some research. Look for upcoming sunspot activity – it’s actually the solar cycle that drives this phenomenon. Some of seeing the Northern Lights is about luck, but here are some predictors that could give you some insight:

Be Prepared to Stick Around a While

After doing your research and finding the perfect time and place to see the aurora borealis, you don’t want to truck back because of a weather shift or lack of snacks. Have a long sleeve shirt or jacket with you, and pack water and snacks for while you wait. Having a friend to pass the time with will ensure you stay up late enough to see this miracle of nature.

Remember – It May Take More Than One Trip

Though we can’t promise you’ll see the Northern Lights, if you miss them, it’s worth visiting the area again to catch a sight of their glory.