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Miners Castle Rock at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Michigan
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Captain Jaden Niemi of Pictured Rocks Cruises is convinced that Lake Superior is the most beautiful place in the world.

After growing up in Munising, a small town on the shores of also stunning Lake Michigan, Jaden Niemi says he can’t imagine living anywhere else. “I love the small-town feel here. Everyone knows everyone. I love being on the water, on Lake Superior.”

About Pictured Rocks Cruises

Pictured Rocks Cruises operates mid-May through mid-October, when the weather is most temperate. During that short season, people come from all over the world to visit the lakeshore and cruise past its famous rocks. “When visitors get on our boats, they pull out their phones and cameras immediately and don’t stop taking pictures. People are in awe about how beautiful this place is.” 

Niemi recommends the late afternoon and sunset cruises because the low angle of the sun on the Pictured Rocks highlights small minerals embedded in the sandstone. “The light at that time of day just brings out all of the colors and makes them more vibrant,” says Niemi. “Sunset is particularly beautiful.”

Jaden Niemi, captain at Picture Rocks Cruises in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Jaden Niemi, captain at Picture Rocks Cruises in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
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Birdwatching Opportunities

The area is rich with wildlife, particularly birds. “We see a lot of bald eagles, which visitors really enjoy. We always slow the boat when we spot them. We also see cliff swallows and herring gulls.”

Favorite Places at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

“There are some really spectacular rock formations caused by wind and rain that stand out to visitors – particularly Chapel Rock and Chapel Cove,” Niemi says. However, his personal favorite in the park is Chapel Beach.

Expert Recommendations

Be prepared for all types of weather at Pictured Rocks, even if you’re visiting in the summer, says Niemi. July and August are the typically the best months to visit, but the weather can change quickly any time of year. 

If visitors are looking for an active way to get out on the water, Niemi recommends going out with Pictured Rocks Kayaking. While it’s possible to rent kayaks from several outfitters, Niemi says that company has a boat that ferries visitors out to prime kayaking locations and then shadows the group, providing an element of safety. “Kayaks really allow you to get up close to the landscape to see the best colors and formations. And they can go into smaller places that the tour boats can’t reach,” says Niemi.

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