The Ultimate Guide to Camping at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

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Camping is a great way to see Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. You can camp right in the park which means you’ll be close to all the attractions like waterfalls, rock formations, and the lake.

Should you camp when you visit Pictured Rocks?

Being close to nature lets you experience Pictured Rocks in a completely different way and will make you fall in love with the area. But there are a few things you should know before you go. We created this ultimate guide to camping at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to help you plan your trip.

Decide whether you’ll be choosing to camp at one of the many RV parks near Pictured Rocks or if you should give backcountry camping a try. Or should you camp right in the park? This post will help you answer all these questions.

The Ultimate Guide to Camping at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore article cover image

The Ultimate Guide to Camping at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Important things you should know when camping at Pictured Rocks

As of 2019, all campsites within Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore require pre-booking. During the summer months, spaces sell fast so make sure you plan ahead and reserve your spot as soon as possible. Click here to book your stay. In October the water in the Park is usually shut off so remember to bring your own. Click here to find out more about visiting Pictured Rocks in fall.

You can still find yourself camping at Pictured Rocks during winter. Some campsites remain open year-round. Do not attempt this if you do not have the appropriate gear and experience. Find out more about visiting Pictured Rocks in winter here.

Most campsites at Pictured Rocks do not have cellphone reception. There is drinking water available during the peak season as well as toilets. Pets are allowed on campsites but must be kept on a leash.

Bears can be a dangerous threat in this area so always lock away any food items and make sure to dispose of trash in designated trash cans. There is no electricity, showers or hot water at campsites. Prices per night vary from $15 to $20 according to the season.

Permits are required for backcountry camping at Pictured Rocks.. Find out more information here.

Campgrounds at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Chapel Beach Campground

Chapel Beach Campground sits very close to Chapel Beach and the lakeshore. This is a backcountry campsite so make sure to obtain a permit before you go. Individual sites are spread out so there is lots of privacy. There is a pit toilet available.

Hurricane River Campground

The Hurricane River Campground lies just 12 miles west of Grand Marais. It is accessible by car although parking space is limited. There are eleven campsites available including some that are wheelchair accessible. The historic Au Sable Lightstation is only a short walk from the campsite.

Coves Campground

Coves Campground is another great backcountry campsite at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. There are five sites scattered throughout the forest. A pit toilet and water supply from Lake Superior are available as well as two fire rings. The beach is not far away.

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Twelve mile Beach Campground

Twelve Mile Beach Campground is a very popular camp spot at Pictured Rocks. With 36 sites this is a larger campsite with direct beach access. The beautiful Twelve Mile beach is only a few steps away, a few sites even have a lake view. This is a drive-in campsite with parking available.

Little Beaver Lake

This is a small campsite with only 8 spaces, one of which is wheelchair-accessible. The access road is very narrow so larger vehicles are prohibited. There is even a small boat ramp to help you access Little Beaver Lake and Beaver Lake.

The Ultimate Guide to Camping at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore article image about what you should know

Backcountry Camping in and around Pictured Rocks

The majority of campsites at Pictured Rocks are backcountry which means they are only accessible on foot or via the lake. You need a permit to camp at backcountry campsites. There are usually no pets or motorized vehicles allowed.

Many backcountry campsites do not have toilet facilities although some have pit toilets. The majority of sites have a water supply from a nearby lake or stream although there are some that do not. Cell service is very unreliable in these areas so be prepared to be cut off for a while.

Backcountry campsites operate under the leave-no-trace-principle so campers need to take everything including trash and waste with them when they leave.

Camping near Pictured Rocks

A great place to camp near Pictured Rocks is Paddlers Village. This little campsite is located a short drive from the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and offers tent or cabin rentals. It sits right on the lake so its location is a great place to stay when you want to explore the area.

Another great option is Catchin’ Crickets Campground which lies just outside of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. They offer both vacation rentals as well as camping options with water and bathroom facilities. 

RV Parks Near Pictured Rocks

If you’re coming by RV you need to make sure you’re camping at one of the designated RV parks near Pictured Rocks. There are no campsites for RVs available within Pictured Rocks although there are some great options close by. We listed some of our favorites below.

Pictured Rocks RV Park

The Pictured Rocks RV Park is a great option for campers wanting to be close to town and the lake at the same time. This campsite offers electricity hookups, sewer systems and a water supply.

Munising Tourist Park Campground

The Munising Tourist Park Campground is not too far from the Pictured Rocks RV Park. It’s a large campsite located directly on the shore of Lake Superior. There is electricity, water, free wifi as well as sewage disposal available. Pets are permitted but need to be on a leash at all times.

Woodland Park

Woodland Park Campsite is located close to Grand Marais and is a great choice if you’re planning to see Pictured Rocks. Its location is very central and within walking distance from the marina, beaches, and great swimming spots.

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