Bordering the southern shoreline of Lake Superior, Michigan’s rustic Upper Peninsula is the perfect place to unwind and relax. While the entire area is stunning, one of the biggest draws to the peninsula is the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore – and it’s easy to see why!
Designated the first national lakeshore in the United States, the Pictured Rocks is encompassed by massive sandstone cliffs and formations that are painted with vibrant colors from lake minerals. The park also has several unique waterfalls, impressive sand dunes, and miles of serene recreational trails.
Within driving distance from Toledo, Cleveland, and Cincinnati, the Pictured Rocks makes a perfect road trip for anyone living in Ohio since there’s plenty to see along the way. Check out these attractions along the way as you cruise through Michigan’s two peninsulas:
Below the Mackinac Bridge
On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks, an African American seamstress, was arrested for failing to give up her seat on a Montgomery city bus to a white man, breaking existing segregation laws. Many believe this act sparked the Civil Rights movement. The bus this incident occurred on is available for all to see at the Henry Ford Museum.
The Henry Ford is a large indoor and outdoor history museum complex and a National Historic Landmark in the Detroit suburb of Dearborn where you’ll learn about automotive history and some of the best technology in the world! Attractions include: Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation, Greenfield Village, Ford Rouge Factory Tour and Benson Ford Research Center.
Prost in Michigan’s “Little Bavaria”
You don’t have to travel overseas to feel like you’re in Germany! Michigan’s “Little Bavaria” is known for its unique shops and exciting year-round events. Whether you’re clinking steins to “prost!” or taking a leisure boat ride along the Cass River, you’re sure to have a worldly experience in Frankenmuth.
Take a Carriage Ride on Mackinac Island
Take a short ferry ride to Mackinac Island, a beautiful area reminiscent of a time when riding in a horse and buggy was the common way to get around. No cars. No chain hotels. Just world-famous fudge, unique shopping and dining options, one-of-a-kind golf courses, and more.
Above the Mackinac Bridge
Kitch-iti-kipi (“KITCHi-tee-KI-pee” with short “i”s), also known as “The Big Spring,” is Michigan’s largest natural freshwater spring. Its original name was the “Mirror of Heaven” given to it by the early Native Americans. The spring is 200 feet across and 40 feet deep and is a constant 45 degrees, year-round. To see the springs, there is a raft available year-round for self-guided tours.
See One of the Most Powerful Waterfalls
At the Great Lake Shipwrecks Museum visitors learn about dramatic shipwreck legends as artifacts and exhibits tell the stories of sailors and ships that braved the waters of Lake Superior and those that were lost to its treacherous waves. The bell of the famous Edmund Fitzgerald is displayed in the museum as a memorial to her lost crew. You’ll also see the oldest lighthouse on the shores of Superior.
Your Ultimate Destination: Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Your trip starts in Munising, the western gateway community to the Pictured Rocks! Board a Pictured Rocks Cruises tour or paddle along with Pictured Rocks Kayaking, the only outfitter in the area that launches kayakers offshore on a boat, and see the towering sandstone cliffs and formations up close and personal.
Explore miles of gorgeous trails in the park or the nearby Hiawatha National Forest and 14 breathtaking waterfalls. Unwind at one of (or all!) the white sandy beaches. Be sure to try the local fair, specifically, fresh Lake Superior whitefish and pasties (pronounced past-ee)!