With almost a million visitors each year, Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is the Upper Peninsula's most popular attraction. Each day throughout the summer, hundreds of tourists line up in downtown Munising, MI for cruises that offer fabulous views of the most-viewed rock formations in the park.
But for a local, or Yooper as we fondly call ourselves, we live up here because we're allergic to crowds. So you can see Pictured Rocks the traditional way, shoulder to shoulder on deck with the rest of the summer visitors, or you could tour the park like a local.
First piece of advice - don't book an overnight stay too close to the park. If you book in Marquette, you'll overpay. If you book in Munising, you'll have to navigate the crowds. Instead, book Garden, MI, a Lake Michigan shoreline town about 50 minutes from the hustle and bustle of Munising, and on your way back home on US-2, whether you're headed east or west.
If you want to experience Lake Superior and enjoy the splendor of the Pictured Rocks in a natural setting, consider paddling. SUP tours are a great way to see the Rocks. You can also connect with a local outfitter for kayaks. And, there are craft breweries and gift shops in the quaint downtown that make for treasured memories of a U.P. summer.
Last, if you decide to brave the Munising area and you have kids with you, instead of heading out on a long boat tour that could have them whining, "Are we done yet?" take them down the many cliff trails to the beach and let them play in the sand and pile rocks and experience nature first hand. Warning: the walk back to the top can leave you breathless. But just think how well the kids will sleep that night!
Enjoy Pictured Rocks like a local. Book your lodging at Garden Grove Retreat in the central U.P. and enjoy the best of the Garden Peninsula while you're day-tripping to our most popular attractions.