Year-round, one of the most beautiful places in Michigan to enjoy is the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore — striking mineral-stained cliffs, turquoise waters in the summer, and dramatic ice caves in the winter — what’s not to love? As long as you love the great outdoors, there is something for everyone! But you might be thinking, what hotels are the best in Pictured Rocks to enjoy everything the area has to offer?
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Where Should I Stay When Visiting Pictured Rocks?
The lakeshore is extensive; it can be challenging to decide where to stay for a perfect Pictured Rocks getaway! I think the best spot to base yourself is in the little town of Munising (you will find deals outside of the area, but it can add upwards of an hour of driving time, round-trip). From here, you can explore miles of lakeshore and easily pop on over to Grand Island (the island is home to more beautiful cliffs, caves, and miles of hiking and biking — don’t forget your vegan hiking boots and wide brimmed hat!).
Is It Difficult to Book Hotels Near Pictured Rocks In The Summer?
Be prepared; if you’re visiting the area in the summer, you need to book your accommodations as early as possible — Pictured Rocks is very popular, and there are far more tourists than hotel rooms. I made this mistake and ended up in the literal middle of nowhere — it offered quiet scenery, but it added way more driving than I bargained for.
When is The Best Time to Visit Pictured Rocks?
The summer and fall are ideal times to visit, but as I mentioned earlier, it is beautiful year-round; If you don’t love snow, skip the winter! The late spring does start to bring more consistent weather but be warned: It’s not surprising for it to still frost in May! The lake temperatures also don’t begin to warm until June/July (in case you want to enjoy water activities).
So, the best time to visit Pictured Rocks depends on what you enjoy! If you want to hit the beach and kayak, visit in July or August. To enjoy mild temps and gorgeous fall colors, plan to head up in late September, and if you’re a snow bunny, anytime from November – February is your ideal time.
Now that we’ve gotten all of those planning details out of the way let’s get onto where you should stay! Check out these five hotels near the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore for the best Northern Michigan adventure.
6 Hotels to Book for a Perfect Stay in Pictured Rocks
E9360 Highway 58, Munising, MI 49862
Looking to be steps from the beach with gorgeous waterfront views? Look no further than the Beach Inn Motel. I know, motel sounds shady! I promise it’s anything but shady! This charming spot only has 24 rooms, making it difficult to nab a room during the summer rush, so book early! Aside from beautiful sunrises and sunsets, the motel is within walking distance to Tannery Falls and only 5 miles to the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.
1315 Bay St, Munising, MI 49862
The pine walls immediately remind visitors that they’re up north! But, look beyond those rustic walls to enjoy epic views of Lake Superior on their 500 feet of private shoreline (one note, there isn’t a beach). If you need a little more space than just a hotel room, no worries, they can help with one of their vacation homes. All but one of their vacation homes are within easy access to the lake, and they’re even pet-friendly!
N7869 Sunset Road, Au Train, MI 49806
If you need all of the amenities from home, then look no further than Au Train Island View Lodge! These lovely little cabins come complete with fully equipped kitchens, bicycle and watersport rentals, porches, and lake views — what more could you ask for! This is the perfect place for your entire family. The cabins are located just 8 miles from downtown Munising and a quick 15-minute drive from the beauty of Pictured Rocks.
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815 Munising Ave., Munising, MI 49862
With only 18 rooms at this charming boutique hotel, you can rest assured you’ll be treated like a king or queen! Although the hotel isn’t located on the water, some of its rooms include balconies that offer beautiful views of Munising Bay — the perfect spot to enjoy your morning cup of coffee. Onsite, the hotel does provide dining options through Tracey’s Restaurant, but it’s not very vegan-friendly. Still, the hotel is close to multiple vegan-friendly options in downtown Munising like Falling Rocks Café, Pictured Rocks Pizza, and Driftwood Deli.
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E8890 M-28, Munising, MI 49862
I know a Holiday Inn isn’t all that exciting, but if you’re on a budget, it’s a great option, and you know what you’re going to get with a Holiday Inn — no surprises! One big bonus for this budget-friendly hotel is that it sits atop a bluff overlooking Munising Bay — offering guests amazing views! The rooms were also recently renovated and offer a microwave, mini-fridge, coffee maker, and high-speed internet — what more could you ask for? Daily breakfast is also included for all guests, and there is an indoor pool (in case Lake Superior is a little too chilly for you).
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9388 E Munising Ave, Munising, MI 49862
Another terrific spot on Lake Superior is within walking distance to Tannery Falls, Memorial Falls, and a short drive to Sand Point Beach. On top of being close to many of the popular sights in Pictured Rocks, guests also have plenty of modern amenities like a fitness center, laundry, free wifi, and free grab-n-go breakfast options. If you want to bring your four-legged friend, you can! Dogs (max weight of 40 lbs.) are allowed for $20 per night.
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Campgrounds Near Pictured Rocks
Rather skip a traditional hotel or cabin and get in touch with nature? You’re in luck — there are plenty of campgrounds throughout the area, but just like hotels, they are popular throughout the summer months, so be sure to book your spot early.
E8518 M-28, Munising, MI 49862
Availability for tents and RVs.
There are three rustic campsite options throughout the lakeshore that are open from May 15 – October 15. The locations are Little Beaver Lake (8 sites), Hurricane River (21 sites), and Twelvemile Beach (36 sites). All sites require a reservation and are $25 a night.
Multiple rustic campsite options are available from late May – early October throughout Grand Island. If you’re not familiar with Grand Island, it can only be accessed by ferry and is uninhabited — just in case you think you can forget something and easily run into a store.