MUNISING, Mich. (WJMN) – Home to some of the most picturesque locations in the U.P., Munising has become a destination offering unique experiences year-round for travelers from around the globe.

A 2015 report from the National Parks Service showed that over 700,000 visitors to the Pictured Rocks National Lake Shore spent over $30 million in nearby communities in that year alone. However, that growing spending from summer tourism stretched beyond Alger County.

“We’ve grown extensively over the last 10 years in regards to visitation. So now, as things have gotten more popular over the years that has added more businesses over the years,” said Kathy Reynolds, CEO of the Alger County Chamber of Commerce. “Whether it’s gift shops, more food establishments have come to the area, we have more attractions going on. Like I said, not only does it boost our economy, but whether it’s boosting bridge traffic revenue, you know, coming over the Mackinac Bridge, or whether that’s, you know, we boost a lot of other entities and other communities. Traffic during that time, too, because if they’re coming up to go to Pictured Rocks, they’re stopping other places. Now, they’re not just coming in and just doing one single thing here. So they’re doing other things all around the UP.”

One element that helps Munising stand out as a destination its small-town charm, despite the steady influx of out-of-towners throughout the year.

“People like the fact that we’re small, that we still have things to offer people. So it’s a very small hometown, we feel very safe,” Reynolds said. “They look at it, the beauty, the quiet. The just, you know, you come over that bridge, as everybody says, and you just like ‘I’m home’ or whatever it may be. It’s not what sometimes people will picture for a tourist attraction to be now, where we are homegrown businesses here, we our own locally here, our businesses, our people that run these businesses have been doing so for you know, a number of years.”

Between 2010 and 2020, the number of yearly visitors to Pictured Rocks nearly doubled. With over 1 million visitors in 2021 and the number growing each year, having a well-planned itinerary can play a big role in creating a memorable experience.

“My number one tip to people visiting Munising would probably be to plan ahead,” Reynolds said. “Seriously, it would be to plan ahead. A lot of times people will come to town or they’re just thinking ‘Well, I’m getting I’m gonna get in the car and go and July and August and no reservations. No, don’t look into it, where I’m going’ things like that. We get that a lot because we also have service at the welcome center, and we want people to be happy. So it’s plan ahead.”

You can learn more about visiting Munising through the Alger County Chamber of Commerce.