Hi there!

 

Grand Marais MI can be considered a gateway town of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. From the town of Grand Marais to the Pictured Rocks entrance is less than a 5 minute drive.

Grand Marais is the smaller gateway town which is near the Pictured Rocks sand dunes. (The other slightly bigger, but still small, gateway town is Munising near the Pictured Rocks cliffs.)

So depending on where you’re coming from, google maps may route you through Grand Marais. And if it doesn’t, you may want to route yourself through Grand Marais if you’re looking for some quieter stops on your drive through the Upper Peninsula!

You can make Grand Marais a quick stop on your way to Pictured Rocks, or you can stay for 1-2 hours.

 

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais road trip, lake superior. up michigan travel blog

 

In short, your time in Grand Marais can be about Lake Superior, sand dunes, and lighthouses!

 

Best things to do in Grand Marais MI. lake superior. up michigan travel blog

Best things to do in Grand Marais MI. lake superior sand dunes. up michigan travel blog

Best things to do in Grand Marais MI. lake superior lighthouse. up michigan travel blog

Best things to do in Grand Marais MI. lake superior sand dunes. up michigan travel blog

Best things to do in Grand Marais MI. lake superior. up michigan travel blog

Best things to do in Grand Marais MI. lake superior. up michigan travel blog

 

 

Ideas on stops to make in Grand Marais are below!

 

 

But first…

Driving to Grand Marais MI from the eastern U.P.

If you are coming from (or going to!) any of these points of interest in the eastern part of the Upper Peninsula, it can make perfect sense to add a stop in Grand Marais:

And if you are coming from any of these places, then be sure to map it out so you will be driving along the Grand Marais Truck Trail to get to Grand Marais… if you’re looking for the slow scenic route! This will give you another spot that you can stop off at. The Grand Marais Truck Trail runs along Lake Superior in part, and you’ll find some spots to park your car for shoreline access as you’re driving!

 

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais drive, lake superior. up michigan travel blog

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais drive, lake superior. up michigan travel blog

 

Note that in addition to Grand Marais MI, there is also a Grand Marais MN that may come up if you’re typing it into google maps. These towns are both along the shore of Lake Superior!

Speaking of google maps, it’s a good idea to download offline google maps before you go (it’s free), since there’s a good chance that you won’t get data as you’re driving through remote Michigan.

 

A little bit more below about quick things to do in Grand Marais to break up your drive in the UP!

 

 

 

 

 

Things to do in Grand Marais MI

Best things to do in Grand Marais MI. lake superior. up michigan travel blog

 

1. Bayshore Park

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais beach park, lake superior swimming in grand marais. up michigan travel blog

 

Bayshore Park is a small beach park in Grand Marais. You can stop by for the views on top of the bluff, and you can also take the stairs down to the Lake Superior shoreline.

 

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais beach park, lake superior swimming in grand marais. up michigan travel blog

 

If the Lake Superior water isn’t too cold for you, this can be a swimming beach too. Since it’s in a more sheltered bay, you can expect that the water will be calmer compared to a more exposed Lake Superior beach. Still, this is Lake Superior and rip currents are a thing, so take care when swimming!

And then you can also make this a picnic stop! You can eat with lake views!

 

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais beach park, picnic spot in grand marais. up michigan travel blog

 

You can also make this a bathroom stop, as there are bathrooms at the beach park too.

See more about this Grand Marais activity: Bayshore Park

 

 

2. Fired U.P. food truck

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais food truck. up michigan travel blog

 

You may also find a food truck while at Bayshore Park.

 

 

3. Grand Marais inner harbor lighthouse

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais lighthouse, lake superior. up michigan travel blog

 

The Grand Marais of Michigan has 2 light stations that you can see. Both of these are located in what’s called the Harbor of Refuge. One of the light stations is located in the more inner area of the harbor, and so it’s the Grand Marais Harbor of Refuge inner lighthouse. There is also a Grand Marais lighthouse museum located right near the inner light. (Although this was closed when I went in July 2020.)

 

See more about this Grand Marais activity: Grand Marais inner lighthouse

 

 

4. Grand Sable Dunes

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais sand dunes, grand sable dunes, lake superior. up michigan travel blog

 

Then from the inner lighthouse you can have your first experience of seeing the Grand Sable Dunes if you haven’t yet been to Pictured Rocks.

Grand Marais is where to go if you want to see the best sand dunes in the Upper Peninsula!

For the best views of the Grand Sable Dunes, you’ll want to go to the Pictured Rocks sand dunes overlook. This is located around 15 minutes from Grand Marais town.

But the outskirts of the Grand Sable Dunes extends to near the town of Grand Marais around the lighthouse.

You can have the experience of walking across these small sand dunes to get to the Lake Superior shoreline.

 

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais sand dunes, grand sable dunes, lake superior. up michigan travel blog

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais sand dunes, grand sable dunes, lake superior. up michigan travel blog

 

More for your UP trip: For smaller sand dunes similar to the type you’ll walk across at the Grand Marais lighthouse beach, you can also have a look at visiting Vermilion Point. This also tends to be a quieter area of the UP.

 

 

5. Grand Marais lighthouse beach

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais beach, lighthouse beach lake superior. agate beach. rocks. up michigan travel blog

 

Walking across the small sand dunes, will take you to a Lake Superior shoreline where there’s a beach. Because it’s a more exposed shoreline, the waves here might be stronger. There’s a bit of sandy beach here, but it’s also a bit rocky too. You can also look for the colorful rocks that Lake Superior is known for.

 

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais beach, lighthouse beach lake superior. agate beach. rocks. up michigan travel blog

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais beach, lighthouse beach lake superior. agate beach. rocks. up michigan travel blog

 

Hiking sandals or water shoes may be helpful if you want to go for a walk on the beach or look for those rocks!

 

 

6. Grand Marais outer harbor lighthouse pier

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais lighthouse pier, lake superior. up michigan travel blog

 

And then, you will also see the pier at this Grand Marais beach!

It’s possible to walk all the way out to the end of the pier to the Grand Marais Harbor of Refuge outer lighthouse. (More for your UP trip: You can make it a Lake Superior lighthouse road trip!)

Walking out onto the pier, which has both a big boulder path and regular paved path, you will see vast views of Lake Superior. You will also be able to Pictured Rock National Lakeshore out in the distance.

 

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais lighthouse pier, lake superior. up michigan travel blog

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais lighthouse pier, lake superior. up michigan travel blog

 

Also near the pier is a picnic table if you want to make a stop here for a picnic lunch with lake views!

 

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: grand marais lighthouse pier. grand marais picnic spot near lake superior. up michigan travel blog

 

See more about this Grand Marais activity: Grand Marais outer lighthouse pier

 

And that’s a bit about what to do in Grand Marais!

Next you can see the things to do in Pictured Rocks when entering from the Grand Marais side!

 

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: pictured rocks. up michigan travel blog

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: pictured rocks. up michigan travel blog

Things to do in Grand Marais MI: pictured rocks. up michigan travel blog

 

Also see the big list of things to do in Pictured Rocks, including the famous cliffs that Pictured Rocks is known for!

 

If you’re interested in Grand Marais, you may also be interested in these Upper Peninsula places to visit:

 

HAPPY VISIT TO GRAND MARAIS!

 

Best things to do in Grand Marais MI. lake superior. up michigan travel blog

 

 

There are affiliate links on this page. Among other partners, as an Amazon Associate, I may earn a commission from this.

Things to pack for your Michigan vacation!

The ultimate beach towel for travel?!
Turkish towels are considered to be more lightweight than your average beach towel while still being absorbent. Be sure to check out turkish towels like these!
How to be a little bit more eco-friendly during your road trip!
Instead of using plastic silverware, try out bamboo silverware like this set!
The cheapo way to waterproof your phone
You can beach-proof your phone with a simple waterproof phone case like this.
Wear less sunscreen by wearing a UPF swim shirt!
Wearing a swim shirt means less skin that's exposed to the sun which means less sunscreen you need to apply! See about wearing swim shirts with UV protection like these when you're swimming in Lake Michigan or Lake Superior! Less sunscreen also means less chemicals from that sunscreen will enter our precious Great Lakes!
Get your travel bags more organized!
Packing cubes can make it so you're spending less time on your vacation looking for things! They are basically a form of drawers in your suitcase. Take a look at these packing cubes.