Some of the finiest sea kayaking you will ever experience. Sea caves, water falls, 200 foot sand stone cliffs, crystle blue waters, white sandy beaches and loads of history. Yes, this is a "Bucket List" destination for the sea kayaker.
The Pictured Rock National Lakeshore and it's Grand Island is located along the Shores of Lake Superior at Munising, Michigan. Munising is Chippewa, meaning "Place of Great Island". Munising is at the top - center of Michigan's Upper Peninsula. A small little community once known for its great Whitefish Fishing Industry,(still great whitefish can be caught or bought here), but most of all, Munising is know for it's Grand Island and the 15 miles of Pictured Rock Shoreline.
There are many options for lodging in or around Munising. If your camping, the tourist campground just west of town is a great location for the kayaker because it is only 1/3 miles from the shoreline of Grand Island.
If a hotel room or cabin is your thing, then I reccomend the Sunset Motel on the Bay. This is a fantastic hotel/cabin rental place. Wonderful owners and very good rates. It is located right on the East end of Munising Bay. We stayed in the blue colored cottage called "Sunset Cottage". Three bedrooms, a full bath, living room, full kitchen and laundry room. A deck with a grill awaits you after your day of kayaking or hiking.
When kayaking the National Lakeshore, we would put in at Miners Beach and travel down to Chapel Beach. There are a couple other beaches to stop at prior to Chapel Beach if you wish to take a break. Along this stretch, you will see 200 foot sandstone cliffs, sea caves, water falls, white sandy beaches and a sunken ship or two. Also along this stretch, you will see the Pictured Rocks Tour Boat and the Glass Bottom Ship Wreck Tour Boat.
If it is a little to windy, a great option for sea kayaking is to put in a Little Beaver Lake. This lake is connected via a channel to Big Beaver Lake. When you enter Big Beaver Lake from Little Beaver Channel, you will think that you are in a lake in Maine. Once you enter Big Beaver Lake, vere left and head along the shore line. About 3/4 of the way down, you will notice a creek. Paddle down this creek (depending on the time of the year, you may have to walk and pull your kayak - it is sandy bottom). After about a 10 minute paddle you will stop at a walking bridge that spans the width of the creek. You will get out here and pull your kayaks up on shore. Now walk another 100 yards and you will be shocked by the beauty. The creek ends into the shore of Lake Superior. Right where the creek joins the lake, the water is very warm, almost like bath water. The white sandy beaches are out of this world. You will most likely be the only one around for miles. This was the high light of our trip. Even though it was to windy to paddle on Lake Superior, we made the best of it and still paddled, hiked, swam and layed in the sun for the better part of the day.
Now, Grand Island is a beautiful creature by itself. This beautiful Island has everything. Thick, lush trees, white sandy beaches, sunken ships, waterfalls, sea stacks, 150 foot sandstone cliffs, bays and harbors, a campground and seasonal houses. Yes, Grand Island is a sea kayakers "Wet Dream". One of my favorite parts of the island was the open water crossing of beautiful Trout Bay. It has a deep blue color. As we passed across Trout Bay, it seemed like we were paddling through "Beautiful Blue Gravy". Nice, thick water. Have you ever experienced water like this?
Well, in closing, Munising has more to offer if your body needs a break from your kayak or if the wind and waves are not working for you, you can go on many fun hikes. There are great walking and hiking trails that lead you to up to 17 different water falls in the greater Munising area. The most famous are Miners Falls, Chapel Falls and Mosquito Falls.
I hope this can help you out if you were thinking about paddling the Pictured Rock National Lakeshore and it's Grand Island.