Ahhh Monday. How I despise thee. Especially when it means leaving home and having to say goodbye to my mom. Saying goodbye to Moms is the absolute worst 😦 I’m up early and heading back to Detroit to start on what may be the world’s longest home stand at work. (I have zero facts in that statement. It just seems like it when I see I’m working every day until next Monday.)
I realllly wish I wasn’t driving south. I wish I was driving north. Way way wayyyy north. Like over the
river Mackinac Bridge and through the woods Hiawatha National Forest to Grandmother’s House The Pictured Rocks.
Ahhh so beautiful! Don’t you think?
Way, way, way Up North, on a tiny tip of the Upper Peninsula lays Munising, Michigan. An unsuspecting little town that holds one of Michigan’s Pride and Joys… The Pictured Rocks. From high above the multicolored sandstone cliffs to the deep depths of the forest, rushing waterfalls to the blue-green wonder that is Lake Superior, it’s easy to say that The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is one of the most stunning landscapes our great state has to offer.
Spreading over 42 miles of shoreline and 73,236 acres of land, The Pictured Rocks boast waterfalls, hiking trails, sandstone cliffs and every outdoor adventure you could imagine. Feel like exploring a cave? Scaling a cliff? Playing in a waterfall? You can do it here. And you can bet it will be Picture Perfect. (See what I did there? HAHA Don’t worry. I’m here all night.)
But, I’m getting ahead of myself. Before I can talk about this…
I need to talk about the town the Pictured Rocks call home.
Welcome to Munising, Michigan. The kind of town that if you blink, you’ll miss it. I’ve always promised you I’d be 100% real with you on this blog. SO I’m not going to sugar coat this. Munising has NEVER been one of my favorite small towns. Besides The Pictured Rocks, there really isn’t a whole lot there. Theres a handful of stores and restaurants, but overall, it’s just like any other small town in the U.P. So unlike previous posts, where I raved about Banff or Jackson, I’m just going to say this. Munising is your gateway to The Pictured Rocks. So you just kind of have to smile and MAKE IT WORK. (Did you say it like Tim Gunn? I bet you did!)
Now, maybe I’m biased about Munising because ever since I was little I thought Munising sounded like mucus and y’all… that just grossed me out. So please, do not let my judgements on this tiny town cloud yours.
What I will say about Munising is that the people are lovely, they move at a slower pace of life, and it is surrounded by stunning natural beauty.
If you’re looking for a place to lay your head while you’re here, I highly recommend The Holiday Inn Express. It’s a really great hotel, it’s in a great location and the views can’t be beat! Plus, it looks like a giant log cabin on the outside and imma sucker for log cabins!
Now, it wouldn’t be a Savannah Said It post without me telling you where to eat. However, we only tried one place while we were here the was unique to Munising. Why might you ask? Because Munising is home to Hardees. AND WE LOVE HARDEES. There are ZERO around us and every time we pass through Munising on our way to my Uncle’s in Marquette, we stop to eat there. No joke. (OMG. Guys. The funniest thing happened there once. We were there in the Spring during Lent and they had a 2 for $5 special on their fish sammies, so my mom ordered two thinking they were sliders and they were both the size of her head. We laughed SO HARD.)
However, since we stayed the night there, we did branch out of our Hardees comfort zone to try something new too! We chose Pictured Rocks Pizza and y’all. It was SO GOOD. They make your pizza fresh in front of you, and cook it in a wood fire pizza oven and it is heaven. Seriously. Go eat there and thank me later. (I wish I had a picture of this. But we ate there after our hike and I was so hungry that I forgot to take a picture and my entire pizza was gone before I realized it. OOPS!)
Now that we’ve covered Munising, we can get back to the real reason we’re all here for this post. The Pictured Rocks!
A visit to The Pictured Rocks is a nature lovers dream. Whether you’re hoping to take a hike, rent a kayak, or see a waterfall, you can spend all day in what many people call God’s Country. (It’s beautiful… but I still 100% believe “God’s Country” lies in western Wyoming.)
When to Visit? The Pictured Rocks never close. You can visit any time of the year, and you’ll experience the park in totally different ways. However, if you’re visiting in December… good luck with that. There is a 98% chance that you’re going to turn into a popsicle. But, you do you. I recommend setting out to explore in July or August. While these are the parks busiest months, the weather will be good and everything you want to see will be super easily accessible.
How much does it Cost? It’s free-ninety-nine ! You have zero excuse not to go now. You’re welcome 🙂
Can I Camp? Of course you can! It wouldn’t be a UP attraction if you couldn’t sleep under the stars. The Pictured Rocks have three beautiful drive in camp grounds and a few back country campgrounds for those hiking the North Country Trail. Learn more about camping in the National Lakeshore here.
What to Do. There are so many great things to do while you’re visiting the Pictured Rocks! You should of course, see some waterfalls. I did an entire post on my favorites two weeks ago. Find it here! You should also take some time to hike. So many people hike the North Country Trail, and if you’re an avid hiker, you should too. I hear nothing but wonderful things about it. But lets be real… your girl isn’t going to last having to hike and camp day in and day out. If you’re like me, and prefer to spend your days outside, but nights in a snuggly bed, try out one of many great day hikes in the area. I’m going to be talking about my favorite next week, and I’m so excited to share it with you! Be sure to check back for it. Besides hiking, you can take guided tours, fish, hunt, bike and swim. And above all else, visit the Miner’s Castle Overlook. It is one of the most iconic views in the park. It’s easy to get to, and it really is stunning. And, if your a first timer, you really should see the Pictured Rocks by boat. There are all sorts of boat tours that will take you on a tour, you can rent a boat or you can kayak your way around. Trust me, this is the way to see the Pictured Rocks if it’s your first time! To learn more about all the fun things you can do at the Pictured Rocks, click here.
How long should I stay? We stayed one night, but spent a day and a half exploring. It wasn’t nearly enough time, but I also get not wanting to spend your entire vacation in Munising when bigger, more vibrant places like Marquette are calling your name. Give The Pictured Rocks a solid 2-3 days so that you truly can explore all they have to offer.
Have you been to the Pictured Rocks? What are your can’t miss attractions while you’re there?
Alright guys. I’m off to start my very long day. Wish me luck.