Michigan – Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tours

Michigan – Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tours

The morning after visiting the land portion of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, we planned to get out on the water. We had a choice of either a 3-hour Pictured Rocks cruise or a 2-hour Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tour. As much as I would have loved to see more of Pictured Rocks, I thought that three hours might be too much for my kids. I was also fascinated by the idea of seeing shipwrecks without having to put scuba gear on and was told we’d get to see a little bit of the Pictured Rocks too, so we picked that one. Our visit was hosted by the Upper Peninsula Travel and Recreation Association and they arranged for complimentary tickets for me and my kids so that I could write about it.

Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tours

It turned out to be the right decision, because, once again, fog had settled in. Can you imagine trying to see the rocks in this?

Fog on Lake Superior during Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tour

As we were preparing to board the boat, my son questioned the wisdom of going on a shipwreck tour on a boat named the “Fireball” in the fog, and wondered whether the experience included a real-life shipwreck experience. Thankfully, it didn’t!

Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tour Boat Fireball

During the tour, we stopped in three different areas and saw about five shipwrecks. The boat was designed so that the viewing window area served as seating until we reached the wreck. Passengers have the option to sit on the benches or up on the upper deck of the boat. When we reached each wreck site, the crew lifted up the bench seats to reveal viewing windows on the bottom of the boat.

Viewing windows on Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tour

We all crowded in pretty tightly around the two viewing wells because we were told that if we couldn’t all fit, we’d have to split up into two shifts and take turns. Thankfully, we all fit. It would have been a very different experience if we’d had to take turns and I wouldn’t have liked it nearly as much.

I think our tour guide said that the shallowest wreck was 12 feet under the surface of the water. It appeared to be much less because the water was so clear.

Shipwreck through windows on Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tour

You couldn’t see the entire ship through the windows, so the captain skillfully maneuvered our boat from one side of the wreck to the other.

Captain steers boat on Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tour

It felt like you could almost reach out and touch one of the ships.

View of Shipwreck on Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tour

The narrator during the cruise was excellent. He was funny and engaging as he told us how the ships were constructed, what they were used for, and how they went down.

Narrator on Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tour

He and the captain worked well together to highlight specific points on each shipwreck. My 10-year-old daughter said she found the tour much more interesting than she had expected.

Wreck on Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tour

The wrecks we saw were off the coast of Grand Island. I’m sure the island itself would have been quite scenic had we actually been able to see it.

Grand Island on Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tour

We were really glad we spent most of the time looking down through the water.  Actually, there were a few places where we could make out a few sights in the fog.

Grand Island - Fog

We saw the Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse.

Grand Island East Channel Lighthouse

It is interesting to note that the visitor center from which the tours leave was designed to resemble the lighthouse.

Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tours Office Building

The fog was disappointing, but the view of the shipwrecks was very worthwhile. We would definitely recommend this tour.

Ready to Visit?

Glass Bottom Shipwreck Tours
1204 Commercial St.
Munising, MI  49862
(906) 387-4477

Tours run from late May to mid-October, 7 days a weeks.  See website for schedule.

This attraction appears in my e-book, How to Visit All 50 States in 12 Trips.

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