Hidden Gems and Thrills: Offbeat Adventures near Pictured Rocks

Hidden Gems and Thrills: Offbeat Adventures near Pictured Rocks

Woods, water, and wildlife—Pictured Rocks has all of the activities that outdoor enthusiasts love.  From the picture-perfect trailside views to the turquoise waters of Lake Superior, you’ll never run out of Upper Peninsula’s classic fun. But maybe you’ve wondered what else might be out there ready to explore? 


There’s more to this natural wonderland than meets the eye! Join us on a little tour of some of the more unusual and offbeat activities around Pictured Rocks. All of the activities are a short car ride away from Paddling Michigan and make for a perfect vacation road trip. 


  • For the Rockhound: Agate Hunting on Miners Beach

While Pictured Rocks is famous for its stunning rock formations, it’s also a haven for rock collectors. Head to Miners Beach, and with a sharp eye and a little luck, you might just stumble upon some Lake Superior agates. These banded gemstones are a unique find and make for an exciting treasure hunt on the sandy shores. 

Location: Miners Beach—13 miles by car, or a favorite stop on our kayaking tours

  • For the Foodie: Search Out a Tasty Pasty

If you love trying out regional food favorites, you’ll want to check the local restaurants for a UP favorite—the pasty! Pasties are savory hand pies: meat and vegetables folded into a warm, flaky crust. 

Location: Various local restaurants

Just a short drive west of Pictured Rocks, you’ll find an outdoor collection of metal sculptures by local artist Tom Lakenen. This free exhibit features over 100 scrap metal sculptures in a variety of themes, displayed throughout the woods. 

Location: 27 miles west towards Marquette


  • For the Stargazer: Sunset Stargazing at Log Slide Overlook

While the Log Slide Overlook offers breathtaking daytime views, it transforms into a unique stargazing spot at night. Bring a telescope or simply lay back under the stars to witness the dazzling night sky, free from light pollution.

Location: 44 miles east

  • For Santa’s Elves: Year-Round Christmas Spirit

It’s always Christmas in nearby Christmas, Michigan! A quick road trip from Pictured Rocks, every store in the small town celebrates the theme. Snap a picture with the big man himself, a giant likeness of Santa Claus in the town square.

Location: 4 miles west


  • For the Birdwatcher: Sand Point Marsh Birdwatching

Immerse yourself in the tranquility of Sand Point Marsh, a hidden gem of diverse birdlife. Bring your binoculars and camera to spot a variety of migratory birds, including warblers, herons, and even bald eagles.

Location: 6 miles east


  • For the Underwater Adventurer: Snorkeling in Lake Superior

While it may not be the first destination that comes to mind for snorkeling, Lake Superior’s crystal-clear waters offer excellent visibility to explore the underwater world. Dive in to see submerged rock formations, shipwrecks, and perhaps even some of the lake’s unique fish species.

Location: various points 


As you can see, Pictured Rocks National Seashore has much more to offer than its stunning cliffs and rock formations. For the ultimate Pictured Rocks getaway, let us plan your kayaking tour and one-of-a-kind lodging with our all-inclusive packages


These two- or three-day packages pair our most popular lodging with kayaking, a catamaran cruise, and meals at our on-site restaurant, Duck Pond Eatery & Beer Garden. Our vacation packages ensure you don’t miss out on the must-see sites while still making time to enjoy some of these unusual adventures. Unveil the hidden treasures and unique experiences that are waiting for you beyond the scenic shores!