For a scenic day on the water, nothing beats Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.

Breathtaking multicolored cliffs. Dramatic sandstone formations. Miles of pristine beaches to explore. Voted best place to kayak/ canoe/SUP “Above the Bridge” in this year’s Red Hot Best awards, the turquoise waters of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore deserve a spot on your summer bucket list.

Nestled between Grand Marais and Munising, this rugged and wild shoreline is best appreciated via kayak tour, and whether you’re a beginner or advanced paddler, we recommend one of the many guided tours offered by local outfitters (authorized by the National Park Service). Tours range anywhere from two to eight hours, and you’ll soak in plenty of stunning views of iconic sites like Miners Castle, Lover’s Leap, Bridalveil Falls and Chapel Rock.

Lover's Leap at Pictured Rocks

Photo by Rachel Soulliere

Kayaking at Pictured Rocks

Photo by Rachel Soulliere

Pictured Rocks Insider Tips

“During our kayak tour, we got to spend time at Mosquito Beach, which is such a cool spot. I would recommend heading there to explore,” says Rachel Soulliere, digital content and social media strategist for MyNorth Media. “We did about a six-hour tour, so we were a little sore afterward, but it was cool to be able to get up so close. You get to explore little caves, inlets and see Pictured Rocks in a way you just can’t from the tour boat!”

People kayaking

Photo by Allison Jarrell

More to Explore at Pictured Rocks

Visit for a complete list of authorized businesses offering kayak, hiking, cruises and other types of guided tours. For those planning on paddling with their own group, be sure to take note of the National Park Service’s safety precautions, as lake conditions can change rapidly and overwhelm even the most experienced of kayakers; put-ins are few and far between due to the cliffs. Also worth noting: only sea kayaks should be used on Lake Superior—not recreational kayaks or canoes—and all kayakers are required to have a personal flotation device and a whistle or air horn.

Pictured Rocks with Kayaks

Photo by Allison Jarrell

Photo(s) by Rachel Soulliere