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“Good place to start in Isle Royale” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Rock Harbor

Rock Harbor
Isle Royale National Park, MI
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Activities: Kayaking, Viewing wildlife
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Attraction details
Owner description: Harbor area where boats arrive bringing visitors to Isle Royale National Park where you will find a visitors center and the Rock Harbor Lodge.
Chino Hills, California
Top Contributor
264 reviews 264 reviews
106 attraction reviews
Reviews in 102 cities Reviews in 102 cities
108 helpful votes 108 helpful votes
“Good place to start in Isle Royale”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2013 via mobile

Good place for a short stay at Isle Royale. There is a lodge, store, and restaurant. Good hiking from here for short day trips. 2 ranger programs a day (12:45 and 7:30). The night program is in an enclosed auditorium.

Visited July 2013
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26 reviews from our community

Visitor rating
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • Any
English first
Top Contributor
68 reviews 68 reviews
9 attraction reviews
Reviews in 32 cities Reviews in 32 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Nice hiking, not nice staff”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 5, 2013

We arrived for a 2 night stay in the Rock Harbor Marina, which is managed by the Rock Harbor Lodge. The staff at the marina, store, and Lodge were anything but friendly and helpful. For example, we asked for the WIFI password and we were told that it is exclusively for the Lodge guests; even though we were paying $125/night to stay in the marina which is operated by the Lodge. Oh yes, for the $125/night in the marina slip, our fees only included shore power....no free showers ($6 extra), no boaters lounge, and definately no WIFI.
There are lots of good hiking trails with beautiful vistas!
There are 2 restaurants which share the same kitchen. Be aware that dining hours are limited, for example dinner at the Lighthouse which offers steak & fish is from 5:30-7:30pm. The Greenhouse Grill has longer service during the day, but is limited to pre made breakfast items and salads, sandwiches and burgers the remainder of the day.
Our group of 3 boats (10 people) enjoyed much more being at Washington Harbor (Windigo) in the opposite end of Isle Royale. There is a dock that can take at least 3 large boats, no dockage fee, a nice store and wonderful Park Ranger station. Also a great picnic shelter, but bring your own grill. Also great hiking, Ranger talks and guided walks, showers, bathrooms. Only fee is $4 per day national park fee.

Visited July 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ahmeek, Michigan
Senior Contributor
47 reviews 47 reviews
15 attraction reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
“Great place to start.”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 25, 2013

Unless you are an experience camper/hiker, Rock Harbor is the best place to start for your first Isle Royale experience. It has a hotel, two places to eat and several "short" hiking trails. Plus there are boat services to take you to other parts of the island, as well as boats you can rent. The rangers on the Island are friendly and helpful.

Visited June 2013
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
da burgh
Top Contributor
104 reviews 104 reviews
62 attraction reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
137 helpful votes 137 helpful votes
“Hard to get to, harder to leave”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 2, 2013

Isle Royale is a special place for people who love nature. This place isa MOOSE sanctuary. Yes, that is right. You will be walking around and *MOOSE!*. it's amazing.

Should you choose to go here, you will have the most amazing time ever.

You don't just decide to go here, you must plan, and plan a lot.
Here is what you need to know:

1. this is a place to go in the late spring and summer. Not a winter trip!

2. The best experience is taking 2 weeks. Visit Traverse city, search for Petoskies in Petosky, and then driving to Mackinac city and stay a night at Mackinac Island. The go to Michigan UP and checking out the UP as much as you can. THIS PLACE IS AMAZING. There is a guide, out of print, but it still gives you what you need to know:
Hunts' Guide to Michigan's Upper Peninsula

And lighthouses, oh the lighthouses! Hundreds in Michigan, ALL lovely.

3. Now get yourself to copper county, and check out the tons of rocks. Go look for Aggies on the beachy wonders of lake superior. Sleep in a lighthouse. Visit the rock shops and jewelry places and get rare UP rock jewels and book-ends for all your family.

4. Getting to the Island:
You will need a place to stay, and figure out transportation to and from the island which is limited. It is at the tippy top of the Michigan Upper Peninsula. You can take a 3 hour boat ride (across the boat-rockin' Lake Superior. You can fly in a 4 or 5 person sea plane. Either way, it's a bit scary.

5. We stayed in the most expensive Park cabins, which were still pretty cheap and clearly the way to go. It was great! We had huge windows, a kitchenette, and views of the moose! It's not the ritz, but for a park experience it was great.

6. Get guide books. explore, rent canoes and check out the little side islands.

7. Look for rare rocks. Rare rocks, found no where else in the world, exist here. However, you are not allowed to take them. Nonetheless, it's awesome to look for them.

8. Stay a while so you can get it all in. You can fish here, too, but check if you need a special stamp/license.

9. Time of year: We went in May. There is a tender time when the weather is good and the bugs haven't sprouted. When they are out, they will be out in the billions (or so it seems). Pay attention to the bug season- you can find this out online pretty easily. It varies greatly from south to north in Michigan. So, no bugs in Isle Royale doesn't mean no bugs in the UP, if you are planning a larger trip.

10. Travel to the area: This is about a 14 hour drive from Detroit. Don't plan to fly into there and pop up into the UP area.

11. Eat: Fresh fish. Ask around where it is served. There is nothing like fresh lake superior fish!

12. Fresh air: you don't know fresh air until you've been to a place like this. It's lovely and unspoiled.

**This is an ISLAND. once you are on here, you are here for the day. There is no popping over for a few hours and leaving.

So, plan ahead, try and make a trip of it, and enjoy every minute. if you are there during the solar flare cycles, make sure to look for the Aurora. You should certainly see it this time of year.

TIP: this place is NOT for little kids, or people with trouble ambulating. There is a lot of travel and riding on shaky canoes and boats, and you are on the frigid waters of lake superior (in the 30 degree F range!). This is a place for hiking, too. I would never personally take someone here who can't independently hike and swim and withstand a few minutes of frigid water if something goes awry. If you can't hike, you could stay in the cabin with the big windows and watch for moose, but you still need to be able to tolerate a shaky boat ride (or a plane ride), so plan ahead.

Visited July 2012
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Cincinnati, Ohio, United States
Senior Contributor
44 reviews 44 reviews
21 attraction reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
47 helpful votes 47 helpful votes
“Eastern End of Amazing National Park”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 26, 2013

We started and ended our trip to Isle Royale National Park at Rock Harbor on the Isle Royale Queen IV. We were backpacking, but for those who don't camp there is a lodge here as well as two restaurants. We ate at the Greenstone Grill and really enjoyed it. We stayed in one of the shelters the night we slept in Rock Harbor which are convenient and comfortable. A definite step up from tent camping! The trails around the harbor area are beautiful and the Scoville Point trail has especially beautiful views of Lake Superior. Attend a ranger program if you go since they are informative as well as fun. Isle Royale is an amazing National Park and I would go back again in a heartbeat.

Visited July 2012
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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