Grand Marais

Grand Marais: Harbor of Refuge Turned Snowmobiler’s Dream

By Kim Kisner, contributing writer

Situated on several of the most pristine DNR Snowmobile trails in the state, many refer to Grand Marais as the true mecca of snowmobiling in Michigan.

With an average of 232 inches of snow per year and nestled within 300 miles of marked and meticulously groomed trails, it – in fact – offers some of the best snowmobiling not only in Michigan, but in the world.

Grand Marais was named by French voyagers in the 1600s and translates roughly to “Great Pond, Used as a Harbor of Refuge” and was justly named, as it was the only lifeline a sailor had along the dangerous shipwreck coast of Lake Superior. Located in Alger County, on the south shore at the eastern gateway to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, it is still the only Harbor of Refuge between Marquette and Sault St. Marie.

Albeit small, with a population of just 300, Grand Marais’ offerings are massive for anyone who enjoys outdoor sports and unspoiled nature.

Beyond the endless snowmobiling opportunities, Grand Marais also offers cozy and luxury lodging, eclectic dining, and the very best of winter.

Grand Marais

Grand Marais

Grand Marais

Grand Marais

Let’s begin with the trails…

There are ten snowmobile trails in the county, all groomed every evening to knock down snow moguls and smooth out every mile. Why at night? The cold temps help freeze a smooth base before riders hit the trails the following day. 

Riders can travel to all parts of the county, visiting lakes, streams, falls, forests, and seemingly endless scenic sites. The trail system reaches from Shingleton to Grand Marais, Seney, Deerton, Chatham, Manistique, and Rapid River, and also connects with trails from the surrounding counties, allowing for trips of various lengths.

This area has continued to maintain a lead over the rest of the nation in snowmobile trail renovations.

Grand Marais

Where to Stay?

If you are looking for amazing views of Lake Superior, a homey feel plus a delicious hearty breakfast, Agate Cross Bed and Breakfast is a great choice.

Another option is Sunset Cabins with amenities to house up to 12. Close to the trails, and within walking distance to the downtown area, Sunset Cabins are welcoming and inviting.

Looking for a little bit of luxury? The Inn at Lake and Randolph features five rooms, including a king suite with a private bathroom, jacuzzi and steam shower, a sunroom suite and more plus a full chef’s kitchen with a large community dining table overlooking the bay.

There are several other private and managed rentals available.

Grand Marais
Sunset Cabins
Grand Marais
Agate Cross Bed and Breakfast
Grand Marais
The Inn at Lake and Randolph.

Eat and Drink and Be Merry

If you find yourself hungry on the trail, but don’t want to interrupt your day of riding, no problem! You can grab a mouth-watering hot dog at Boondocker Dawgz on Trail 8.

Feel like a cold beer and warm grub after all that fresh air? Pull up a stool at the Grand Marais Tavern where you’ll find the best view of the lake in town.

If coffee and organic fair trade are your thing, check out the Dream Bean Machine. Originally specializing in smoothies, tea lattes, and baked goods —  the café’s expanded menu includes a variety of vegan and gluten-free options as well as indoor cozy seating.

Grand Marais
The Grand Marais Tavern
Grand Marais
Dream Bean Machine
Grand Marais
Boondocker Dawgz

Need Repair Work?

You’re in the right place. There are several repair shops in the area including Doc’s Repair, S&J Sports, Meyer Yamaha, GW’s RV and Small Engine Repair, Munising Motor, and more. There’s also a multitude of snowmobile rental options.

If you haven’t been to Grand Marais, it should be on your bucket list. If you have, it’s worth a visit again. Start planning your Winter 2022 trip now!

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