There are three drive-in campgrounds within the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore: Litter Beaver Lake Campground, Twelvemile Beach Campground, and Hurricane River Campground.
So far I’ve only camped at Hurricane River, so that’s what I’ll be writing about here. More to come about Twelvemile Beach and Little Beaver Lake in future posts!
I also should note that there are a bunch of state forest campgrounds in the general vicinity of Pictured Rocks, and several awesome “hike-in” backcountry campgrounds within the lakeshore, so you’ve got lots of options.
But for now, let’s talk about Hurricane River.
My stepson and I camped at Hurrcane River this spring and had a great time. It was his first time camping, so I wanted to pick a place with lots of stuff to do, and the Pictured Rocks area did not disappoint.
There are actually two sections to the Hurricane River Campground: the Upper Loop and the Lower Loop. Both are rustic, with no electricity or running water available.
The lower section is nestled next to the mouth of the Hurricane River and it hugs Lake Superior, while the upper section (just a few hundred yards away) is up on a bit of a bluff. I wanted easy access to the water, so we picked the lower campground.
As with most of the Pictured Rocks campgrounds, during peak summer season this campground is often full. However, when my stepson and I pulled in the weekend before Memorial Day, I’d guess it was only at about ten percent capacity.
We had our pick of the sites when we arrived Friday morning, and by Saturday evening only a few more people had trickled in.
Hurricane River Campground served us well. The trailhead for the trail to the Au Sable Lighthouse starts right at the Lower Hurricane River campground, so we took advantage of that and had a nice little hike.
My stepson had fun playing in the river and lake, and we both enjoyed checking out the shipwreck debris scattered along the shore. Yes, there’s a shipwreck right on the beach, about seventy steps from where we camped! How cool is that?
Hurricane River also served as a great base for all of our Pictured Rocks explorations since it’s roughly in the middle of the park. (I say “roughly” because it’s closer to Grand Marais than it is to Munising.)
We spent one day in and around Munising, where we visited Horseshoe Falls, Tannery Falls and one of the local beaches.
The next day we headed east to Grand Marais, visited Log Slide, the Grand Marais beach and then popped into the Lake Superior Brewing Co for some killer pizza and popcorn. And on our way out, we hiked to Chapel falls before heading home to Iron Mountain.
All in all, it was a great trip and Hurricane River ended up being a great home base. Next time I “car camp” at Pictured Rocks it’ll be at Twelvemile beach, though, because as I understand it many of the campsites have views of the beach right from the site, which is something we didn’t have at Hurricane River.
Bottom line: Hurricane River Campground is a great, family friendly campground that’s right on the water. However, a small section of trees block the view of the lake, so a short walk (about fifty yards) is necessary to get to the beach.
How to get there? The Hurricane River is located 12 miles west of Grand Marais on H-58.
And for a nice photo gallery that shows each campsite, click here.