Wednesday, January 17, 2024

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Boat Tour

This post is part four of a travel series to Michigan's Upper Peninsula.   To start at the beginning go  HERE.  The remaining posts in consecutive order are HERE , HEREHERE,  HERE, and HERE!

If you are ever fortunate enough to visit Michigan's Upper Peninsula, the number one thing to do is take a Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore Boat Tour.  The tour highlights what the area is famous for:  it's glorious, unique pictured rocks!

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is 42 miles along the southern coast of Lake Superior between Munising and Grand Marais.

Although you can get a glimpse of the pictured rocks on a few hikes and overlooks, the best way to see them is by boat.  There are a variety of boats available through Pictured Rocks Cruises.  We took the Spray Falls Cruise because we wanted to see the waterfall.

Miner's Castle

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore features sand stone cliffs, sea caves, and formations that rise 50 to 200 feet above Lake Superior.  

Bridal Veil Falls

Another great way to see the Pictured Rocks is by Kayak.  You can bring your own, rent one, or take a kayak tour!

The rocks are stained these interesting patterns and colors because of the minerals in the water.

The tours last between 2-2 1/2 hours and cost around $50 per adult.  Not a bad price if you ask me!  Please be advised it is FREEZING on the water, even if you go on a 90 degree day!  The best place to sit is up on top, but that wind is a killer!  They do have an indoor area to sit, but the views aren't as nice.

Painted Coves

The huge sandstone walls and coves of the seashore are an incredible sight to behold! The colors of the coves are constantly changing through time.  Minerals like iron, copper, and lime leak out of its sandstone walls and trickle down its face creating this marvelous work of art.

The force of Lake Superior waves splashing on the walls create caves and arches over time.

Caves of All Colors

"Lover's Leap" is an arch that extends from the shoreline out to an outcropping directly in Lake Superior. Folklore says it's named for lovers who jumped off the rock and into the water to declare their love for one another.  However, this is ill-advised today as the water is too shallow.

Lover's Leap

Rainbow Cave is a mammoth cave cut deep into the lakeshore with mineral stained walls that remind one of ancient hieroglyphs. Moss coats the cracks high on the cave walls.  The colors of this cave are very unique,

Rainbow Cave

The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is ever changing.  Here a huge section of the cliff fell into the water not too long ago.  Back in 2021 boaters watched with fear as the cliff collapsed.  See the video HERE!

This rock formation got its name because viewer's thought it resembled an Indian's head. 

Indian Head

Grand Portal is another suspended archway but unfortunately is partially blocked by another rock fall.

Grand Portal

Chapel Cove

One of the biggest highlights of the boat tour is when the boat guides you inside this unique cove and turns off its engines..  You are surrounded on three sides by the sandstone cliffs!  It's so much fun!

The pictures above and below are taken from the back of the boat

Here is the cove we drove into.  It can't happen on any tour, the weather has to just perfect for the boat driver to achieve this miraculous feat!

We got a little preview from the boat of where we would be tomorrow on our 10 mile Chapel Loop hike!  We ended up sitting near this very waterfall and walking across the bridge.

Chapel Rock was another highlight of our trip that we saw on both land and from the water.  It has a tree growing on the top of the rock formation!

Chapel Rock

Spray Falls is the biggest highlight of the boat tour.  It's not too often you see a waterfall falling over a sandstone cliff and into a lake!  It is 70 feet tall.

Spray Falls

I just loved this photo of the American Flag in front of the sandstone cliffs.  So beautiful!

I would be a nervous wreck kayaking on a huge lake like Lake Superior, but there were certainly a lot of kayakers out there when we were visiting.

This old lighthouse is a highlight of the tour.  Built in 1868 as a guide for boats traveling in from Lake Superior to the east channel of Grand Island and in to Munsing Bay.

East Channel Lighthouse

After our boat tour, we were starving so we headed out for dinner.  We went to Pictured Rocks Pizza.  We loved the fun, quirky atmosphere.  You could eat indoors or out, we chose inside as it was hot outside.  

The pizza was great, but they have more to offer other than just pizza like this Alfredo pasta dish!  All was yummy!

 I hope you enjoyed my Pictured Rocks Boat Tour!  Next week,  I will take you on the hike of a lifetime:  the Chapel Loop!  10 miles of adventure of forests, rivers, bridges, waterfalls, beaches, and sandstone cliffs!  Stay tuned!

Have A Great Day!  Amy

Linking Up with these Fabulous Blogs HERE!


  1. oh my, the sights, the colors, the food, the joy. such a beautiful vista, Amy ...

  2. That boat tour looks incredible!

  3. That looks so very amazing. What a cool trip, very beautiful and lovely.

  4. Wow, what a neat trip. The rocks and the lake itself are so colorful. (I'm with you on the kayaks--no way!) Thanks for sharing this post at the Will Blog for Comments #22 linkup. Hope to see you next week at #23.

    1. It was the best boat tour ever! Thanks so much.

  5. This looks like an amazing boat tour, the views are incredible! Some years ago I watched a documentary about the pictured rocks but they only showed the kayakers and no mention of boat tours. Glad to hear there are boat tours to take as I am not a kayaker.

    1. It really was the best boat tour I took in my life. I enjoyed how I didn't have to travel far on the water before I started seeing the sites.

  6. Absolutely awesome, what a great trip
    Thanks so much for participating and sharing at SSPS 294. See you again next week!
    Please come and participate at #WW (Words also welcome) from Wednesday to Saturday. https:// esmesalon . com / tag /wordlesswednesday/

    1. Thank you, it was a great boat ride. I checked out your #WW post and thought it was only for wordless posts (which I don't do) but if words are welcome, I'll link up!

  7. Amy, you always go on the best trips! I enjoyed your post and going on this adventure with you with each photo. That picture of the American Flag in front of the Sandstone cliff was beautiful. Thank you for sharing your post with us at The Crazy Little Love Birds link party #21.

  8. Congratulations, Amy! This post was one of the most-visited at the Will Blog for Comments #22 linkup this week! It will be featured in the spotlight all next week, starting today. You are welcome to save the "this blog post was a featured favorite" image there and share it here with your readers to celebrate, if you like. Thank you for sharing this fun post that our visitors enjoyed so much. :) See you next week for linkup #23. Have a great weekend.


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