Misery Bay

Misery Bay. The name begs for answers. I don’t have them. What I do have is a good beach to tell you about. Misery Bay is not just a good beach… and I will intentionally leave that statement open. 🙂

Misery Bay

Misery River empties into Lake Superior... Party on the beach.

Misery Bay is just West of Toivola in the western UP The Misery River empties here into the lake, on a NNW facing bay which is somewhat protected on the lee side of Wolf Point. From Toivola, the Misery Bay Road is 11 or so miles of scenic byway to a remote parking area where a short hike will reveal this beach of misery. Misery? Unlikely. Beach of beauty… miles of sugar sand stretching in either direction. The water is usually calm, and the temps are average. Its a great beach for a day trip, but there’s no legal camping on the beach. A DNR boat launch is just up the road along the river, and a campsite or two may be available there, but nothing fancy. Misery Bay is surely one of the best beaches I have to recommend. Its one of those “wow” beaches you need to experience to understand.

Misery Bay Dive

Life Is Good.

Misery Bay Views

Some views up the beach...

Misery Bay


I feel like this is an appropriate time to mention another beach which I did not include on my tour but is deserving of mention. Sleeping Bay is the next bay West of Misery Bay, around the rocky point. It is more difficult to get to because all roads in are private, and the walk is far. For someone willing to take a hike though, it is worth the effort. I drove around on some old roads West of Misery Bay trying to find a way in to Sleeping Bay and was lucky enough to run into someone who owned property close to the beach. So I was able to drive back and get close, then I went for a nice run out to the point and then all the way along the beautiful sandy shore. It was an experience I cannot forget – not that I want to. It was simply amazing that such a secluded beach could exist and stretch for miles along the UP wild shoreline. I was alone… not really. But there I was with miles of gorgeous beach all to myself, and it felt good. It was laugh-out-loud good, which I did as I jogged to a stop and sat on a hunk of driftwood. Ever feel like God is telling you “I told you so” ?? That’s how I felt at Sleeping Bay – “Yup, that is good, indeed.”  I don’t think I’ll ever forget my little trip to Sleeping Bay. But what really strikes me – in the grand scheme of things, its just a beach.

12 responses to “Misery Bay

  1. Gowtham says:

    Misery Bay. The name begs for answers. I don’t have them.

    — reminds me of my experience yesterday; went there with one of our newer grad students. Could it be that the name is a misnomer – you go there with your misery and come back happier?


  2. Trisha says:

    Both time I have been to Misery bay there have been biting flies. Terrible experience! If we went far enough out into the water they couldn’t get to us. It was miserable! Beautiful-yes.

    • Nils Markus Stenvig says:

      Ha. Yes, flies are something you must be prepared for no matter what beach you go to in the U.P. They are cyclical, however, and I’ve never experienced bad flies myself at Misery Bay.

  3. Susan says:

    A true gem hidden away, the drive is great too.

  4. Kevin says:

    The name comes from a supposed indian battle that took place in the Miserey River which empties into the bay, i believe the singage at the boat launch explains this a little further

  5. By any chance, would you happen to know if the beach is open during the winter? Was thinking of checking it out an icy shoreline within the next few weeks, was wondering if this or Breakers would be a better bet.

  6. Ron says:

    Beautiful, yes! That’s why many property owners along the shore pay such high taxes; to have some of that PRIVATE beach. Public access is really quite limited at the Misery River area.

  7. Cheryl says:

    I love Misery Bay. Discovered it in 2010 and I go back every September on our annual trek to the UP. Experienced the most beautiful sunset in September 2013… breathtaking!

  8. Suzie S says:

    Have loved this gorgeous area for years and visit every year. Flies can be a torture when it is overcast or when the wind is coming off the land. A North wind is good! Visited days ago -June 11, 2017. SAD FOR THE LITTER! At the end of the campground at the gorgeous beach! About 50 beer cans were left by thoughtless people. Hope they cleaned it or got fined $50- park caretakers! Pay attention to this please!!

  9. Al says:

    I remember going there in the sixties. The water was freezing on the west side of the river, but if you swam across the mouth of the river to the east side it was much warmer. The only problem was you had to go back.

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