Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Our pictured rocks trip was my first time there, but Maxwell had previously been there with his family during childhood. It was a far excursion in comparison to our normal trips around Michigan, but this meant it was different than anything we had experienced together. We stopped along the way at Taquamenon Falls which was another great Upper Peninsula delight.
Ferry tour of Pictured Rocks
The main attraction of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is obviously the pictured rocks themselves. There are really two ways to see them- by ferry or by kayak. We opted for the ferry due to budget constraints at the time (our wedding was less than a month away). The ferry was more economical with a price of $38 USD per person through Pictured Rocks Cruises. Ferry cruises often sell out so buy your tickets ahead of time! Especially if you are planning to go on a long holiday weekend- book as far in advance as you can. Additionally, the day of the cruise, show up about an hour before. A line begins to form and the seats on the ferry are on a first come, first serve basis. Trust us, you will want to be on the top level of the ferry and sitting on the sides to have an unobstructed view!
The kayaking option (for a 3 hour tour) about $90 USD per person through Paddling Michigan. This is through a tour company in which you rent the kayaks along with a guided tour. If you have your own kayaks, you are free to kayak the waters at your own will! If we had kayaks, I would want to spend more than 3 hours along the shore because it is extensive at about 15 miles of main cliffs. Along the way, there are many landmarks within the rocks that are integral to the experience. To kayak It is still on our bucket list to kayak them! As seen below, in a kayak you can truly appreciate the magnitude of the cliffs.
Chapel Falls hiking trail
Along with the cliffs themselves, there are more hiking trails than we can count! Just inland, there are plenty more landmarks to see including many waterfalls. We chose the Chapel Falls trail which lead to a beautiful, hidden waterfall. The forest surrounding the falls and trail were a vibrant green despite being near the end of their tenure before the Autumn chlorophyll deficit came.
We chose to bring my new backpacking pack to practice for our impending Peru trip.
Camping at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Our campsite for the extended weekend was a hidden gem. We stayed at the Munising Tourist Park Campground and just by the name, I did not have high hopes. Maxwell surprised me and chose the “rustic” campsite option which turned out to be magnificent. Though a walk from where our car was at, we were right on the shores of Lake Superior. No running water or electricity to the campsite lead to us becoming creative and resourceful when cooking meals. (especially when we forgot a lighter for the fire. Hey, flint and steel!)
After this trip, when I think of Northern Michigan, I think about this picture below. It was peaceful, authentic, and shared with the one I was about to commit my life to. My heart is content and overflowing during this moment.
Go find your peace at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore <3