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Why Pictured Rocks is a Bucket List Destination

Miners Castle, Pictured Rocks National LakeshoreMiners Castle, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. PC: Craig Blacklock

Gigantic sandstone cliffs and sea caves, hundreds of miles of peaceful trails, incredible waterfalls, and beautiful sandy beaches and dunes make up the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

Located near Munising, Michigan, discover what visitors are calling a trip of lifetime! Within driving distance from Indiana and Kentucky, here’s why a Pictured Rocks adventure is topping bucket lists across the globe:

Plan Your Road Trip

Must-Stop Spots: Kentucky & Indiana to Pictured Rocks Map

Kayak through Sea Caves

Kayak through Sea Caves

With a safety-first mindset, first timers and skilled kayakers are raving about Pictured Rocks Kayaking. After a gorgeous boat ride on Lake Superior, paddle five miles along towering cliffs, archways, and through sea caves.

Top 7 Highlights of a Pictured Rocks Kayaking Tour

Kayak through Sea Caves

As the only outfitter in the area with an offshore launch, Pictured Rocks Kayaking anchors near the most scenic parts of the national lakeshore after a relaxing boat ride, with staff then helping passengers into the water for approximately two hours of paddling time. To ensure the safety of everyone, the boat stays with the kayakers throughout their entire adventure.

Everything You Need to Know About Pictured Rocks Kayaking

Have the Perfect Romantic Getaway

Have the Perfect Romantic Getaway

If you’re looking for a beautiful place to unwind with your significant other, look no further. From cozy cottages deep in the forests to luxurious hotels with lake views, there are plenty of options to fit your desires. After exploring the area’s natural beauty, treat your palate to fresh Lake Superior whitefish caught that day and enjoy a sunset on the beach.

How to Have a Romantic Weekend at Pictured Rocks

Check Out Over 15 Gorgeous Waterfalls

Check Out Over 15 Gorgeous WaterfallsPC: Munising Visitors Bureau

There are over 15 luscious waterfalls found in the Munising area, with several in the Pictured Rocks! Looking for something to do while you wait to board a cruise, kayak the Pictured Rocks, or bike around Grand Island? Break up your adventure by chasing magnificent falls that are all within minutes of downtown Munising.

Top 7 Waterfalls of the Pictured Rocks

Unwind on the Serene Hiking Trails

Unwind on the Serene Hiking TrailsPC: Instagrammer @wiredtohunt/Munising Visitors Bureau

Although best viewed by water, exploring the Pictured Rocks by foot offers some of the most tranquil experiences one can only bask in by land. So, put on a pair of comfortable shoes, grab a snack, water, map, and check out the most amazing trails Michigan has to offer.

How to Experience the Beauty of Pictured Rocks by Trail

Enjoy a Relaxing Boat Ride

Pictured Rocks Cruises touring along the national lakeshorePictured Rocks Cruises touring along the national lakeshore. PC: Tim Trombley

Delighting passengers along the gorgeous shoreline as the oldest tour company in Munising, Pictured Rocks Cruises operates every day from early May to mid-October. View the brilliantly colored cliffs, sea caves, waterfalls and see famous landmarks like Lovers Leap, Miners Castle, Chapel Rock, and Grand Island’s East Channel Lighthouse aboard one of their 2 to 2 1/2-hour-long tours.

Everything You Need to Know About Pictured Rocks Cruises

Experience Stunning Fall Foliage

Grand Portal Point, PRNLGrand Portal Point, PRNL. PC: Tim Trombley

In the autumn, vibrant scarlets, vivid oranges, and deep burgundies line the cliff tops and reflect off the crystal blue waters of Lake Superior – further illuminating the hues in the sandstone rock face. The best part? Kayak and boat tours are offered in the fall so you can relish in the beauty by water and land.

Why Fall is the Perfect Time to Paddle Pictured Rocks

See Historic Lighthouses Along the Shoreline

The East Channel LighthouseThe East Channel Lighthouse. PC: Instagrammer @maymiejameson

While Munising and the Pictured Rocks area have six beautiful and historical lighthouses nestled along the shores of the big lake, the East Channel on Grand Island is arguably the most popular.

Resembling an old schoolhouse, the lighthouse is on private property and can only be admired while you’re on the water.

So, How Do I Get There?

Downtown Munising on an autumn dayDowntown Munising on an autumn day. PC: Instagrammer @maymiejameson

The voyage to your destination while traveling is all a part of the adventure. Whether you drive through Wisconsin or the Lower Peninsula, there are plenty of sights to see along the way. If you’re short on time, fly into Sawyer International Airport, which is conveniently located in the central U.P. and easy to navigate.

Top 10 Adventures to Check Off Your Bucket List

Kentucky & Indiana to Pictured Rocks Road Trip


The top stops and things to do on your road trip from Kentucky or Indiana to Munising, Michigan, home to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. This route could start in either the Louisville or Indianapolis area. It passes through Chicago and then takes I-65 N through Milwaukee, Green Bay, and Escanaba to Munising.
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