3 part question. Could anyone provide some suggestions on hotel/motel lodging with a view of the water in Munising, “preferable” car camping spots near the water, and also preferred paddle in primitive sites as well. Thx
I’ve been googling today with similar
aims, and all I can say is that it’s August, peak season, and we’re going to have to take our chances.
The Pictured camping that’s closest to Superior would be at Beaver Lake, and there’s only a dozen campsites, first come, first served. Last time we were there, we ended up camped at a state forest campground by a lake.
Unless you want to pay a kayak outfitter in Musining, there are actually no easy ways to get on the water opposite Pictured Rocks. We hiked. We did a loop that took us over the cliffs facing the lake, and we could see some of the arches.
p.net has a few trip reports - http://www.paddling.net/places/MI/
Munising has an excellent campsite, there even is a motel "bay view/sunset view" or some such
Beaver is car accessible, you can put in there, follow the creek down to LS, and return.
Here is the link to maps - http://www.nps.gov/piro/planyourvisit/maps.htm
GPS coordinates - http://www.nps.gov/piro/planyourvisit/upload/GPSCoordinatesPIRO.pdf
You can guess which ones are kayak accessible.
You can camp on Grand Island as well
Two good places
There is a Holiday Inn just west of Munising that has great views. If you drive about a 1/4 mile further is Munising Tourist Park Campground. We’ve stayed a couple of times at the campground and it is excellent. There are showers there and an excellent view of Grand Island. The water off the campground is fairly well protected if there is a small craft advisory you can still paddle and probably put in the water from your campsite.
camping sites along Pictured Rocks
as mentioned it’s peak season. Campgrounds like Upper and Lower Hurricane River, Mosquito River, Twelve Mile, etc are full. Best bet is to stay in a motel the day before, get out early, drive to these campgrounds by 9-10 a.m. and be ready to pounce on a site being vacated - since it’s first come first served w. no reservations. Some are drive in, some are combined drive and walk in. The national park service is now running a shuttle to get hikers closer in without involving their cars.
Little Beaver Lake Campground is just as full just as often. You can drive in by passenger car, or a car w. trailer, about 2 miles into the small campground. There are signs warning against bringing in RVs over a certain length due to the slope and width of the access road. Easy smallish launch onto Little Beaver Lake, which leads to Big Beaver and down the twisty but gentle Wolf River to the big Lake.
You could base camp at the tourist park in Grand Marais which is well run and affordable though nothing spectacular in the way of views or site privacy, esp. as compared to the federal campgrounds. There are paths leading to a nice walkable beach for sunsets and agate hounds, but it’s not friendly at all to carrying full sized kayaks and gar. Grand Marais MI is at the very eastern end of Pictured Rocks so you can launch from the new improved harbor beach, outside the breakwall, and go west.Or drive to Munising which is about 50 minutes away.
It’s true that there aren’t many Lake Superior launch sites you can just pull up and park at before launching. Miner’s Beach has a long carry down a wooded path and descending stair and it’s slightly worse going back up at the end of the day Plenty of parking there but can be a difficult stretch to kayak w. few takeouts and rebounding waves (cliffy).
Camping near or on Grand Island is a marvelous experience. You can also launch easily from Sand Point (within the park , very close to Munising) cross an easy shipping channel, view a handsome lighthouse being restored - now on private property - and then along the small sea caves and rock springs of Grand Island into the wide curve of Trout Bay. A fine day trip no matter where you camp.
If there is a strong north fetch be aware that this funnels into the waters between Grand Island and the mainland, bouncy, perhaps not for beginners. The north and west sides of Grand Island get the full taste of Lake Superior in her many moods, definitely for strong intermediates as there are miles to crank out between take outs and often rebounding waves and wind.
The park hqs at Munising and Grand Sable sell topographic and hiking maps of Grand Island w. all campsites marked.
Pictured Rocks follow up.
Thank you all for the info, it’s what I was looking for and will help immensely!
You can park at Miner’s Beach and put in, directly at the west end of the rocks.
camping will be tough
I’d imagine all the paddle-in sites are already reserved, and the car campgrounds will be busy. Two options to check are Twelve mile Beach, and further away, Lake Superior state Forest Campground. This site is nearer Grand Marais so you’d still have a 30 minute to 45 minute drive to the rocks, but it’s often overlooked and has spaces.
Hotel or motel lodging will also be tough, peak season. I’ve had luck just stopping in at the mom and pop motels on the way and in the munising vicinity.
As someone else mentioned, camping on Grand Island is nice and is first come first serve, so you might have a shot there.
You can always put in at Miner’s Beach, or near Sand Point, park, and day-paddle. Miner’s Beach leaves the best of the rocks reachable by day trip.
Here's the park website, link to the park map on the lefthand margin.
You can see the possible put-ins are Sand Point (easiest), Miner's Beach (longer carry) and Beaver Lake (long carry!). And you can see other campgrounds, including those available on Grand Island.
I have gotten there peak season but on a monday and have found open campsites at twelve mile beach. Kingston Lake campground is inland so sometimes they have spaces when the others don't.
suiram is right …
… about the Sunset Motel.
We’ve stayed there a few times while paddling in the Pictured Rocks or visiting the Munising area. Once, during the winter for the dog sled races and ice caves. Beautiful lake views, away from the highway, and reasonable rates.
Sunset Motel on the Bay
1315 Bay St, Munising, MI 49862
Phone: (906) 387-4574
Here’s my write-up from a paddling trip there a few years ago: