Planning Your Pictured Rocks Adventure

Grant Portal Point, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. PC: Instagram user @macaronitaGrant Portal Point, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. PC: Instagram user @macaronita

Stunning sandstone formations and dunes. Spectacular waterfalls. Scenic overlooks and beaches. Unforgettable boat cruises and kayak trips. The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore has it all.

Located in the rural Upper Peninsula of Michigan, the Pictured Rocks is a perfect trip for those looking for a relaxing vacation in the great outdoors.

See Boat Tour Schedule

What is Pictured Rocks

Pictured Rocks. PC: Instagram user @relishthejourneyPictured Rocks. PC: Instagram user @relishthejourney

The Pictured Rocks park extends 42-miles along Lake Superior shoreline, offering long beaches, remote streams and forests, enormous sand dunes, breathtaking waterfalls, and historic lighthouses.

Its name derives from the vibrant red, blue, white and green colors of lake minerals that stain the rock face of the cliffs, which reflect off Superior’s turquoise waters. Towering 50-200 feet high, the cliffs have been carved out by the lake and erosion for thousands of years, giving the Pictured Rocks its unique features.

See the Pictured Rocks by Boat

Pictured Rocks Cruises office and gift shop is located near Munising’s City Dock. PC: Munising Visitors BureauPictured Rocks Cruises office and gift shop is located near Munising’s City Dock. PC: Munising Visitors Bureau

Since the cliffs run along Lake Superior’s shoreline, it’s no surprise the park is best seen by water. Pictured Rocks Cruises – an authorized concessionaire of the National Park Service, which manages the national lakeshore, has provided tours for over 50 years.

Tours depart in front of the Pictured Rocks Cruises’ office and gift shop – 100 City Park Dr. – near the city dock in downtown Munising. Open daily from 8 a.m. until the last boat returns to the dock from mid-May through mid-October.

Pick Your Cruise

Cruising to the East Channel Lighthouse in the fall. PC: Instagram user @ miket.imageryCruising to the East Channel Lighthouse in the fall. PC: Instagram user @ miket.imagery

Pictured Rocks Cruises offers three narrated tours: the Classic Cruise, the Spray Falls Cruise, and the Sunset Cruise.

Each cruise follows the same path along the shoreline, giving passengers up-close views of the East Channel Lighthouse on Grand Island, Miners Castle, Lovers Leap, and other park landmarks.

However, the Spray Falls Cruise – for an extra charge – takes passengers farther along the lakeshore to see an additional waterfall.

A magical sunset at Pictured Rocks. PC: Instagram user @ohhdanielleyyA magical sunset at Pictured Rocks. PC: Instagram user @ohhdanielleyy

Cruises vary from 2 to 3 hours long, each traveling approximately 40 miles round-trip. The high-speed catamaran used for Spray Falls Cruise offers the easiest indoor accommodations for wheelchairs. All tours are great for kids, as well, as tickets for children ages 6-12 are $10 and those 5 and under are just $1. For other pricing, click here.

Book Tickets in Advance

No matter when you’re planning your trip, it’s highly recommended to book your tickets for a Pictured Rocks Cruises tour at least three weeks ahead of time as they sell out regularly.

Tickets can be purchased online or by calling the Cruises’ office at (906) 387-2379.

Compare Cruises

What Should I Bring?

Two Pictured Rocks Cruises boats are seen along the shoreline on a hiking trail. PC: Instagram user @pictured_rocksTwo Pictured Rocks Cruises boats are seen along the shoreline on a hiking trail. PC: Instagram user @pictured_rocks

Since the weather in the U.P. can be spontaneous, it’s always a good idea to bring extra layers and prepare for rainy weather. The Cruises have enclosed cabins and open seating on each boat and run rain or shine unless the lake is too dangerous to navigate.

Planning on bringing your four-legged companion? No problem. Pictured Rocks Cruises offers complimentary kennels that are clean and air conditioned.

You’ll also want to make sure to bring your camera! Mid-afternoon to late evening is the best time of day to take photos of Pictured Rocks. During the later day, the sun is low and shines directly on the most colorful portions of the Pictured Rocks cliffs.

Everything You Need to Know About Pictured Rocks Cruises

What Else is There to Do?

Paddlers get so close they can touch the Pictured Rocks. PC: Pictured Rocks Kayaking.Paddlers get so close they can touch the Pictured Rocks. PC: Pictured Rocks Kayaking.

If you’re looking for an activity that’s more physically demanding but offers similar sights, book a trip with Pictured Rocks Kayaking, the only kayaking outfitter in Munising that provides offshore launching.

With the popular outfitter, passengers travel along the lakeshore aboard a kayak-launching boat and get to paddle the best parts of the park! Tickets can be purchased online or by calling (906) 387-5500.

Paddle Close Enough to Touch

Art in the Alley, located in downtown Munising. PC: Instagram user @maymiejamesonArt in the Alley, located in downtown Munising. PC: Instagram user @maymiejameson

Rich in arts and culture, the Munising area has local exhibits throughout its downtown, craft breweries, coffee shops, several dining options, and gift shops.

Waterfalls are another big draw to Munising as over 15 of them are near the little city on the bay.

Best Waterfalls in Michigan’s U.P.

Where Should I Stay?

Spray Falls. PC: Munising Visitors Bureau.Spray Falls. PC: Munising Visitors Bureau.

Before traveling to the U.P., make sure you have a place to stay. The Munising area offers a wonderful selection of lakeside hotels, cabins and cottages in the woods, and rustic or modern campgrounds.

If you need help finding the perfect spot for you and your family, visit the Alger County Chamber of Commerce’s website or call them at (906) 387-2138.

What Resources are Available?

The Alger County Chamber of Commerce/Fuzzy Boyak. PC: Mike Stockwell of Cranking Graphics.The Alger County Chamber of Commerce/Fuzzy Boyak. PC: Mike Stockwell of Cranking Graphics.

When you get to town, be sure to stop by the Chamber’s office – also called the Fuzzy Boyak Welcome Center – at 129 E. Munising Ave., Munising. There you’ll find free maps, waterfall and hiking guides, brochures, and other business and area information.

Book your trip to Munising and the Pictured Rocks today!

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