Upper Peninsula: Exploring Pictured Rocks

We woke up bright and early in the sleepy town of Grand Marais, pulled on our boots, and headed into the wilderness of Pictured Rocks.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is a vast, sprawling park with landscape that changes dramatically every couple of miles, from dunes to birch forests to dramatic craggy cliffs.



Pictured Rocks



Pictured Rocks

There’s a paved road that runs right through the entire coastline, with dirt roads jutting out here and there leading you to different adventures. We were driving a little Fiat, so we didn’t stray off the beaten path this trip, but I really want to come back in the summer with a Jeep and a kayak and hike through the entire place.

If I could do it over again, I would have packed a picnic at the bottom of Miners Falls.


Miners Falls Pictured Rocks

After spending all of the morning and afternoon hiking, we drove into Munising with ravenous appetites. Luckily, we stumbled into what is probably the best restaurant in town.


Baguettes sells locally sourced, seasonal dishes that are much more interesting than the bog standard of burgers and fries you’re likely find in most places around here.

We got a bacon and cheese croissant and a sriracha whitefish bowl.

Still starving, we then ordered the smoked cranberry whitefish wrap, a maple-vinaigrette spring salad picked from the garden that morning, and a slice of freshly baked Michigan fruit pie.



I loved this place for their creative menu, commitment to fresh local ingredients, and perhaps most of all the fact that they use Square! So many places are cash only up here, so it’s refreshing to find somewhere accepting modern transactions.

We finished our meal just in time to board the Pictured Rocks Sunset Cruise.

Pictured Rocks Cruises

If you can, get there early to queue up, and then run to the top deck as soon as you can! The best seats are those in the very back of the boat, as you’ll have unobstructed views of everything. The seats on the starboard have the first views of the shoreline from slightly farther back, and the port gets the closer-sundrenched views on the way back.





Pictured Rocks Cruises

Most people bailed from the top deck on the return to shore as the boat goes slightly faster, making the journey a lot windier and chillier. But bundle up and you’ll have the most amazing views you can imagine. Trust me, it’s totally worth it, and you can reward yourself with a big mug of hot cocoa in town when you’re done.


We ran back to the hotel and did just that, eyes still starry with the dreamlike cliffs and sunsets of Pictured Rocks.




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