A Hidden Gem  

Pictured Rocks is a picture-perfect getaway on the shores of Lake Superior

By Victoria Myers 

For Midwesterners, many of the most popular national parks require long road trips or pricy airplane tickets to Wyoming or California, which aren’t feasible for everyone.    

But Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore located on Michigan’s upper peninsula is a hidden gem not too far from many major cities in the Midwest. The sparkling blue waters of Lake Superior and red sandstone cliffs offer those awe-filled moments national parks are well-known for. With plenty of activities and sights to see, Pictured Rock is a perfect getaway for families, couples or solo adventurists.  


Pictured Rocks offers 100 miles of hiking trails leading to a range of different natural points of beauty. Paved paths lead to overlooks, while dirt trails take visitors to waterfalls and views of Lake Superior. Hiking options range in difficulty level. For laid-back hikers and families looking for a scenic stroll to reconnect with nature, there’s the walk to Miners Castle Overlook, the most popular spot in the park. For hikers looking for more of a challenge, North County Science Trail offers up to 42 miles of hiking throughout the park at a more challenging level.  


Camping season at Pictured Rocks is May 15 through October 15, with drive-in camping available for $25 a night per tent camping spot. There are three campgrounds within the park: Little Beaver Campground, Twelvemile Campground and Hurricane River Campground.  

Twelvemile campground, just a hop and skip from Twelvemile beach, offers a view of Lake Superior from some of its more popular camp spots, placing visitors a quick walk from the sandy lakeshore and beach sunrises or sunsets.  


Take an offshore adventure to see Lake Superior’s dazzling waters up close with guided kayaking tours of Pictured Rocks Lakeshore. Gaze on towering sandstone cliffs from below and explore caverns and caves all from the water. Paddling Michigan offers kayaking tours for all levels, including guided tours suited for beginners and longer tours for more experienced kayakers capable of spending six hours on the water—but all difficulty levels come with breathtaking views and photo opportunities.