4 Pictured Rocks Vacation Ideas for a Long Weekend

4 Pictured Rocks Vacation Ideas for a Long Weekend

Trip 4: Grand Sable Dunes

At its east end, the cliffs of Pictured Rocks give way to the Grand Sable Dunes. This tapestry of sand and water comes with a picturesque lighthouse and a coast littered with shipwrecks.

Day 1
Check in to Hilltop Cabins in the charming beach town of Grand Marais. One-, two-, and three-bedroom cabins are available along with motel rooms. Get your bearings at the nearby Grand Sable Visitor Center (E21090 County Road H-58, 906-494-2660) then take in Sable falls and the Log Slide—a sandy precipice where lumbermen slid logs down to Lake Superior.

Au Sable Light Station is an easy hike from Hurricane River Campground.

Day 2
Drive to Hurricane River Campground and set up camp. Hike 3 miles to Twelvemile Beach for lunch. Lounge on the beach. Hike up the dunes. In the afternoon, hike back to Hurricane River for dinner and playing at the river mouth.

Day 3
Pack your breakfast and make the easy 3-mile roundtrip along a flat two-track to the Au Sable Light Station. The route includes interpretive signs that point to remnants of shipwrecks on the beach and in the shallow waters. Those skeleton wrecks give meaning to the lighthouse complex that dates back to 1874 and includes the 86-foot whitewashed light tower, red-brick keeper’s and assistant keeper’s homes, fog signal building and boathouse.

Experience Pictured Rocks By Boat

Pictured Rocks Cruises lets you see the cliffs from the water. The boat cruises are 2.5 to 3 hours. You can choose to do the Classic Cruise, Spray Falls Cruise, or Sunset Cruise. Each cruise departs from the Munising, Michigan City Dock. Tickets range from $38–45 for adults, $10 for children ages 6–12, and $1 for children under 6.

Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tours drift above sunken boats. The trip lasts about 2 hours. Tickets cost $33 for adults, $30 for senior citizens, $12 ages 12 and under, and $1 for children ages 5 and under.

Photo by Aaron Peterson

Things You Need to Know About Pictured Rocks

What to Pack
All four trips require a tent, sleeping bag, and cooking gear. You’ll need a backpack, water purifier and camp stove for trips 1 and 2 since you’ll be camping in the backcountry where your water source is Lake Superior and there are no fires allowed. Stock up on food before you head to both backcountry and drive-in campsites. Getting to a grocery store is a trek from anywhere you camp.

Bring along a map of the lakeshore. If you won’t be making it to either of the visitors centers in Munising or Grand Marais, download one from the website before you go. www.nps.gov/piro.

Weather in the Upper Peninsula is fickle. Be prepared for everything from Indian summer to seriously foul. Wear footgear suitable for hiking.

Stock up in Munising at Family Fare Supermarket or Bob’s IGA. Superior Shores Market in Grand Marais has everything you need right down to made-fresh deli sandwiches. You can also get supplies at the Bayshore Market across the street. The Melstrand Union General Store in the Little Beaver/Chapel area is a U.P. classic chock-full of backcountry essentials.

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