Brand New Boutique Hotel in Marquette

Northern Lights in Marquette
(Near Superior Stay Hotel)

While staying at Superior Stay Hotel, one of the best things to do in Marquette is to view Northern Light in this season. The Northern lights in Marquette, alias the Aurora Borealis, are an incredible landscape of lights seen in the northern hemisphere. It is one of the best tourist attractions in Marquette. This natural phenomenon is so stunning and heavenly; people travel from across the globe for a chance to catch a glimpse of it.

This wonder appears when electrically charged particles from the sun enter the Earth’s atmosphere and collide with gaseous particles. It’s a matter of luck to witness the view of vibrant shades of green, pink, yellow, and violet swirling all across the dark sky, red being the rarest and green being the most common.

Its occurrence depends mainly on two factors, the degree of disturbance of the Earth’s magnetic field and your geographic location. Moreover, other factors considered are the weather in your area, city light pollution, full moon, etc.

When is the best time to see the Northern Lights in Marquette?

While it would be great to see the northern lights year-round in Marquette, part of what makes the experience unique is that you can only experience it during certain parts of the year. The Northern Lights can be seen between August and April, with October and November being the peak months. As Marquette is blessed with a miles-long shoreline along the south shore of Lake Superior, it is easy to witness some of the best 180-degree views of the northern lights without any trees or mountains hampering your view. The second reason for choosing Marquette for watching the activity would be relatively low light pollution.

Best dates to catch the glimpse of the Northern Lights

To know whether you have a chance of seeing an aurora or not, you must know the level of geomagnetic activity at the moment. There is a simple index known as Kp; it indicates a number from 0 to 9, 0 being the lowest. It refers to geomagnetic activity. To witness the auroral activity in Marquette, the geomagnetic level of activity should be at least 3. You can check the status of activity at Aurora Forecast before planning your trip to Marquette.

Marquette is sitting just on top of the Kp 5 line. At Kp 3, You may able to capture greens and purples in the sky with long exposure photos. At Kp 4, You may able to see color with the naked eye. At Kp 5 and higher, vivid colors and shapes become visible.

Northern Lights may be vieweable in Marquette until April 2021. Check out the Light Pollution Map to find the best place with a clear and dark sky for seeing an aurora.
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Three Best Places to witness
the best Northern Lights in Marquette

Marquette is suitable for watching the light show, but you should travel to open spaces for getting an unobstructed view. Some of our favorite places to view the auroral activity that is located near the Superior Stay Hotel are:

McCarty’s Cove

Distance: 1.4 miles | Time: 4 min
Directions from Superior Stay Hotel

A four-minute drive from Superior Stay hotel, McCarty’s Cove, is located on Lake Superior’s shore. It’s a family-friendly and supervised beach with a grassy open space, a small restroom facility, cooking grills, and a parking area. In short, the premier location for the aurora hunt and other northern lights experiences.

Sugarloaf Mountain

Distance: 5.2 miles | Time: 10 min
Directions from Superior Stay Hotel

Ten minutes of drive from our Superior Stay hotel, Sugarloaf mountain is situated at an elevation of 1,283 feet. These mountains provide the most enchanting place to enjoy a short hike, wonder at the night sky, and catch a glimpse of the northern lights. It’s lack of light pollution also makes it an ideal spot to view the Northern Lights in Marquette.

Presque Isle Park

Distance: 2.7 miles | Time: 9 min
Directions from Superior Stay Hotel

A short drive from the Superior Stay hotel, Presque Isle Park is a family-friendly spot to experience the Northern Lights’ magical colors. It has a beautiful picnic spot, sunset point, and Black rocks adjacent to the park, a famous tourist spot. It provides a serene view of Lake Superior and the night sky. Parking can be a problem here, But It has a lovely calm and relaxing atmosphere and offers unobstructed views of the colorful sky. The park remains open at night as well when there’s a high possibility of auroral activity.

The Superior Stay Hotel knows how crucial this moment is and how long you’ve waited for it; therefore, we offer Wakeup call service (on demand) to our guests when the northern lights are visible in the area. Else, you can also join our Guided Northern Lights tour to the best viewpoints for Northern lights in Marquette with Dan Wilson, a skilled photographer and a lifelong resident of Marquette County.

How to capture the Northern Lights

Dan Wilson, being an experienced photographer and our local guide, would like to share some tips and tricks for the newbie photographers to capture the Northern Lights efficiently –

  1. Find a dark area with minimal city lights. Point your camera at the sky where northern lights are usually seen and create your medium-distance view with a fixed object such as trees or hills.
  2. Use a digital camera with manual settings and a tripod.
  3. Use a remote shutter to avoid blur pictures.
  4. Bring extra batteries for the camera and a flashlight and a jacket as you’ll spend a long time outdoors trying to get the best shot.
  5. Manually set your camera on its highest ISO setting, widest focal point, and lowest aperture.
  6. Expose each shot for approximately 10 seconds because longer exposures will follow more vivid images, but stars will light up, and the lights will soften. Short exposures may have sharper detail but dimmer images.
  7. Every view and camera is unique, so try various settings and exposure time to get the best shot.

To experience the Northern Lights in Marquette, all you need is a camera, a dark sky, and much patience. The best light shows may occur during the most unexpected times. If you are in town for the light show, share your photos with us on Facebook. We would love to see the Northern lights from your lens.