Though not part of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, sweet little Grand Marais marks the park’s eastern boundary and is an excellent jumping-off point for a visit to the national lakeshore. This sleepy New England–style village is worth a visit of its own for its simple windswept beauty. With an outstanding natural harbor—rather rare on Lake Superior’s southern shore—Grand Marais was originally settled by fishermen. Loggers soon followed, when sawmills were built here in the 1860s and ’70s to handle the logging that went on just south of here.
Today, commercial fishing remains an economic factor (though an increasingly difficult way to make a living), but a little bit of tourism is what keeps the town slowly ticking along. The downtown huddles around the harbor, which, incidentally is a good spot for kayakers to play in the surf on a north to east wind. The few streets here offer some arts-and-crafts shops and a handful of clean, inexpensive motels and restaurants.
by Laura Martone from Moon Michigan, 3rd Edition, © Avalon Travel