Fayette Historic Townsite – Garden, Michigan - Atlas Obscura

Fayette Historic Townsite

Garden, Michigan

This 19th-century ghost town offers a stunning view of Lake Michigan and a journey through the region's industrial past. 


The northern shore of Lake Michigan is almost incomprehensibly beautiful, and few places encapsulate that better than the Fayette Historic Townsite. Tucked well away from any of the main highways that cut across the Upper Peninsula, this well-preserved industrial village-turned-state park is a hands-on ghost town experience. During the mid-19th-century, charcoal pig iron was manufactured at this site. 

Today, Fayette serves as a living museum and some buildings are being refurbished. Educational and family-friendly events are often held at the site on weekends, but a weekday trip is definitely worthwhile. Apart from exploring old abandoned buildings, there are wooded hiking trails around the park that offer spectacular views of the Big Bay de Noc and the white limestone cliffs of Snail Shell Harbor.

Whether you want to take amazing photos or just want a quiet, scenic place to stop for lunch, the Fayette Historic Townsite is one of the Upper Peninsula’s hidden treasures.

Know Before You Go

Located within the Fayette Historic State Park, roughly 20 minutes south of US-2 on M-138. It's a short hike from the parking area to the townsite, but everything is clearly marked once you arrive. There is a small visitor's center and well-maintained trails all around the site. Not recommended for people with mobility issues.

The site is owned by the state of Michigan so a state park pass is required (although not stringently enforced). Open early spring to late fall.

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October 20, 2020

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