The Best Cruises to Take at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

pictured rocks cruise boat

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I know, I am still talking about Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, LOL – I can’t help it! There is SOOOO much to see and do there! Right now we are going to talk about Cruises to Take at Pictured Rocks – it is just about the perfect time of year to try them.

Should you take a cruise to see Pictured Rocks?

The best way to see the beautiful multi-colored cliffs of Pictured Rock National Lakeshore is from the water. What better way to admire the incredible scenery than by taking a guided boat cruise on Lake Superior? Guided cruises are the perfect way to see Pictured Rocks for families, couples as well as solo travelers.

cruises to take at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Take a break from hiking and outdoor sports and relax on a cruise taking you around the lake. Don’t forget to pack your camera for the once-in-a-lifetime shots of waterfalls, beaches, and cliffs. Did you know that some cruises offer glass-bottom boat tours at Pictured Rocks or even shipwreck tours? 

The Best Cruises to Take at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Pictured Rocks Cruises is the only tour company licensed to offer guided boat cruises of the Pictured Rocks sandstone cliffs. You can choose from three different tour types. The Classic Cruise takes 2,5 hours and costs $38 per person. This cruise is available from mid-May to mid-October. It takes you 32 miles along the coastline of Lake Superior to see beaches, caves, and cliffs. This cruise has existed for over 70 years.

Pictured Rocks cruises facts and information

If you can’t get enough of Pictured Rocks’ beautiful waterfalls why not go for the Spray Falls Cruise? This option takes only 2 hours and 15 minutes since it is operated with a high-speed catamaran. You’ll get to see all the attractions from the Classic Cruise plus Spray Falls. This waterfall is a unique landmark and only accessible from the water so make sure to add it to your itinerary. The Spray Falls Cruise is slightly more expensive at $45 per person. You can also opt to take this tour as a sunset cruise.

Finally, there is the Sunset Cruise which takes you along the same route as the Classic Cruise but later on in the day. That way you get to admire Pictured Rocks in the beautiful evening light with an incredible sunset to finish off the day. The price of this cruise is also $38. This cruise option is only available during a very specific time of the year, usually in late May and July. Check the Pictured Rock Cruises website for updates and availability.

Cruises usually run multiple times per day, more during the peak season (late June to the beginning of September). There are still cruises available in May and September until mid-October but at reduced capacity. Booking in advance is highly recommended as tickets tend to sell out during popular times.

Where do Pictured Rocks boat tours go?

Pictured Rocks cruises take you along the coast of Lake Superior. You’ll pass Grand Island and the East Channel Lighthouse which gives you a fantastic view of the island from the water. Definitely plan a day trip here after your cruise.

Then the boat takes a route close to the shore of Lake Superior passing by famous places like Miners Castle, Painted Coves, Lovers’ Leap, Rainbow cave, Indian Head, Grand Portal, Battleship Rocks, Flower Vase, Indian Drum, Chapel Cove, and Chapel Rock. If you choose to take the Spray Falls tour this will be your last stop on the cruise before you return to Munising. Many of these attractions are best viewed from the water so definitely choose to take a boat cruise on your trip to Pictured Rocks.

What can you see on a boat tour?

The highlights of any Pictured Rocks boat tour are of course the beautiful multi-colored sandstone cliffs on the shore of Lake Superior. You’ll get to see many of the unique rock formations that make this area so famous. Of course, you’ll also be able to enjoy the crystal-clear waters of Lake Superior and its beautiful surrounding landscape. You might even be lucky enough to spot one of the many shipwrecks that lie submerged in the lake if you choose to take one of the shipwreck tours at Pictured Rocks.

Keep an eye out for native animals on your cruise like the bald eagle, hawks, or even black bears.

Taking a glass-bottom shipwreck boat tour at Pictured Rocks

There are more than 30 shipwrecks in the Pictured Rocks area, only half of which have been discovered. A great way to learn more about the mysteries hidden under the surface of Lake Superior close to Pictured Rocks is by taking one of the famous glass-bottom shipwreck boat tours.

Tickets cost $35 per person to go on a 2-hour cruise. If you take this boat tour you’ll get to see two different shipwrecks through the glass bottom as well as other landmarks around Pictured Rocks including caves, cliffs, and a historic lighthouse. This tour will give you a unique perspective on the underwater world at Lake Superior which you won’t have with any other cruise. Tours run every day from June 15th to September 30th. Find out more information here.

Private boat cruises at Pictured Rocks

If you’re visiting Pictured Rocks as part of a larger group or are looking for a more exclusive experience why not consider hiring a private boat to take you around Lake Superior. Prices start at $350 for a half-day cruise for six people. These boat tours are highly customizable and you’ll get to decide your own itinerary and pace. Tours can depart anywhere from 9:00 am to 9:00 pm and can even include a BBQ on the beach if requested. Find out more information here.

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Private boat cruises at Pictured Rocks