Why Pictured Rocks is Closer to Milwaukee Than You Think

Chapel Rock. Photo courtesy of Tim Trombley.Chapel Rock. Photo courtesy of Tim Trombley.

After a long week at the office, the urge to get away from the everyday routine can be quite overwhelming. Not everyone has the time or money to commit to a long vacation, but fortunately the Milwaukee area is only a short distance away from one of the world’s most breathtaking gems.

If you’re yearning for a serene adventure in the great outdoors, travel an engaging five hours northeast of Milwaukee, until you reach the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. There, you’ll quickly learn what Henry David Thoreau meant when he wrote: “In wilderness is the preservation of the world.”


What Is Pictured Rocks?

Paddling through Lover’s Leap on a Pictured Rocks Kayaking Tour.Paddling through Lover’s Leap on a Pictured Rocks Kayaking Tour.

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is made up of miles of towering sandstone cliffs, beaches, sand dunes, waterfalls, inland lakes, deep forest, and beautiful Lake Superior shoreline. Vibrant colors of mineral stain paint the face of the cliffs and sea caves, which are best viewed aboard an intimate boat cruise or kayak trip.Learn More About Cruise Tours

How Do I Get to Pictured Rocks from Milwaukee?

Seguin's House of Cheese

From Milwaukee, travel U.S. 43 north 117 miles to Green Bay. Visit Lambeau Field – home of the Green Bay Packers while in town, or tour the Green Bay Botanical Garden for a small fee.

Go to the Milwaukee Road Trip Map

From Green Bay, travel U.S. 41 north to Marinette and check out Seguin’s House of Cheese – one of Wisconsin’s most unique cheese and gift shops – and Mickey-Lu Bar-B-Q, a vintage fast-food joint that’s served charcoal-grilled burgers, hot dogs, malts and sundaes since 1942. Both area staples.


Scenic route along Lake Michigan shoreline
Make the rest of your adventure memorable by taking the scenic route. Michigan Highway 35 runs along lovely Lake Michigan shoreline from Marinette through the scenic Upper Peninsula. Follow M-35/US 41 about 90 miles to Trenary, where you’ll turn north on M-67 for about 8 miles. Take M-94 east for 17 miles to Munising, the western gateway to the Pictured Rocks park.

What Do I Do When I Get There?

Enjoying the waters of Lake Superior on a Pictured Rocks Cruise. Photo courtesy of Tim Trombley.Enjoying the waters of Lake Superior on a Pictured Rocks Cruise. Photo courtesy of Tim Trombley.

It’s always a good idea to plan ahead and have a place to stay. The greater Munising area offers a wonderful selection of lakeside hotels, cabins and cottages in the woods, and rustic or modern campgrounds. Once you’re settled in, it’s time to explore! Take a guided tour aboard Pictured Rocks Cruises newest catamaran or a kayak tour with Pictured Rocks Kayaking and see the best of the sandstone formations along the lakeshore up close and personal. Enjoy the rustic beauty of Grand Island by hiking or mountain biking around the secluded island or bring a tent and camp overnight. There are miles of trails to explore in the park and nearby Hiawatha National Forest, along with 20 breathtaking waterfalls and white sandy beaches. Book your trip now!

Plan your trip!