Boating at Pictured Rocks

Pontoon boat along cliffs
Pontoon boat along the Pictured Rocks cliffs

NPS photo

Lake Superior's rugged shoreline invites pontoon and other boaters to explore the beautiful Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore with its miles of colorful sandstone cliffs and long stretches of sandy beaches. Peaceful inland lakes also invite boaters to linger in the northwoods.

(Visit the kayaking page for information about sea kayaking on Lake Superior).

Shallow boat ramps for canoes, recreational kayaks, and other small boats are located within the park at Little Beaver Lake and Grand Sable Lake. Boats may be launched into Lake Superior at the City of Munising's boat ramp a mile west of the town harbor on M-28. Burt Township maintains a boat ramp in Grand Marais harbor.

Before you go, check the weather.

Check the marine weather forecast before venturing out. Watch the weather carefully while on the lake. The weather can change suddenly and unexpectedly. Just because it's calm in Munising Bay or Grand Marais Harbor does not mean it is calm along the more distant shores.

The Pictured Rocks cliffs rise 50 to 200 feet directly from the lake, offering precious few protected places if the wind and waves increase. Also check local weather buoys for real-time data and video from the buoy cams at


Do you have the right kind of boat?

Boats and motors of any size are permitted on Lake Superior. Horsepower is limited to 50 on Grand Sable Lake. Note: Only electric motors may be used on Little Beaver Lake and Beaver Lake in the Beaver Basin Wilderness.

Slow / no wake speed must be maintained within 100 feet of the shoreline, any watercraft, pier, person, raft, swimming area, and swimmers. Do not exceed your boat's carrying capacity.

An appropriate type and size personal flotation device (PFD) (life jacket) is required by law for each person on board any boat. In Michigan, all children under the age of 6 years old must wear a PFD while riding on the open deck of a vessel when it is underway. For more information on boating regulations, visit

sea kayak & recreational kayak. Recreational kayak is marked off with the

Canoes and recreational kayaks should NOT be taken out on Lake Superior. Lake Superior can be rough, and small craft are easily swamped. Instead take your canoe or recreational kayak to one of the park's beautiful inland lakes: Beaver Lake, Little Beaver Lake, and Grand Sable Lake.

Sea kayaks with a spray skirt, recommended equipment, the right skills, and good weather are what's needed for safe paddling on Lake Superior.


Lake Superior -
Small sailboats and paddleboards can be launched into Munising Bay at Sand Point Beach. Munising Bay is a good place for sailing and paddleboarding since it is generally a more sheltered area. Larger boats should use the municipal boat ramps listed above to enter Lake Superior.

Inland Lakes - Little Beaver Lake, Beaver Lake, and Grand Sable Lake are also suitable for small sailboats and paddleboards.


Personal watercraft (PWC) such as jet skis may travel within the lakeshore from the western boundary near Sand Point to the eastern end of Miners Beach. PWC are not permitted elsewhere within the lakeshore's 1/4 mile offshore jurisdiction along the Lake Superior shoreline.

Due to horsepower restrictions, PWC are not allowed on inland lakes within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

According to State of Michigan law, PWC must not operate from one hour before sunset to 8:00 am. When traveling within 200 feet of the shoreline, PWC must travel at a slow / no-wake speed perpendicular to the shoreline.


Water Skiing

Water skiing is authorized on Lake Superior and Grand Sable Lake in accordance with state and federal laws. On Grand Sable Lake, horsepower is limited to 50.


Other Regulations

Boats may pull up on beaches within the park, including beaches in the Beaver Basin Wilderness but pets are not allowed on beaches within the wilderness zone or any beaches east of Miners Beach to the western edge of Twelvemile Beach Campground. Pets are not allowed on Mosquito or Chapel Beaches. Pets are also not allowed in boats on Little Beaver or Beaver Lakes.

Clean, Drain, Dry and boat logo
All boats, including kayaks and canoes, must clean, drain, and dry their vessels to prevent the spread of invasive species.

Protect the Resources!

It is crucial that we all work together to help limit the spread of invasive species to other, non-invaded bodies of water. Please:

  • Clean, drain and dry boats and all fishing equipment before visiting other lakes or water areas. This is required by Michigan law!

  • Use only approved bait; dispose of unused worms or other bait in the trash. Do not throw in water or on land.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore contains many pristine lakes and streams that are threatened by unwelcome visitors—invasive aquatic plants and animals. These non-native organisms can negatively impact wildlife habitat, upset the food chain, and out-compete native species. Hitchhikers spread from lake to lake by boat, trailer and fishing equipment, and expelled bilge water.

Invasive species are unpleasant. No one wants to catch round gobies while fishing. Or try to reel in a fishing line clogged with spiny water fleas. Or canoe through thick mats of Eurasian watermilfoil on a formerly pristine lake. Or walk on a beach littered with hundreds of sharp zebra mussel shells. Aquatic invasive species do more than just diminish your enjoyment of the outdoors. They damage ecosystems and cause millions of dollars in economic damage.

Prevention is the key! Once established, invasive species are very hard to eradicate.



Boat Tours
Pictured Rocks Cruises, Inc., is the authorized concessionaire for the National Park Service, Department of the Interior, offering non-stop narrated boat tours of the Pictured Rocks cliffs. Pictured Rocks Cruises operates from mid-May to mid-October. Various companies also offer guided kayak tours of the cliffs.

Boat Rentals
Pontoon boat and other rentals for use on Lake Superior are available in nearby communities. Check with local tourism organizations for information. more ...


Last updated: February 15, 2024

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Contact Info

Mailing Address:

P.O. Box 40
Munising, MI 49862


Munising Falls Visitor Center

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