Big Pine Picnic Area

Area Status: Open

Big Pine Picnic Area, along the shoreline of Lake Superior (the greatest body of freshwater in the world), is one of the most awesome places and a must-see on your next trip to the Hiawatha National Forest in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula.


Popular Things to Do:

  • Walk among giant red and white pine trees
  • Picnic and grill
  • Stroll the beach
  • Build sandcastles
  • Search for agates
  • Swim
  • View nature
  • Catch a spectacular sunset
  • Watch freighters
  • Relax

Walk Among Giants

As you walk under the towering pines you will truly sense how special Big Pine Picnic Area is. Pair that with expansive sand beaches and great sunsets and your outing to Big Pine will be something that will be talked about for a long time to come.

Picnic and Grill

The canopy of the giant red and white pine trees creates a shelter over the clearing below where picnic tables, grills, and benches are generously dispersed.

Walk the Beach, Build Sandcastles or Search for Agate Rocks

Long, beautiful beaches are a favorite to sandcastle builders and beach combers looking for agate. There is an enormous variety of beautiful stones and water polished rocks, much to the delight of amateur rock collectors and children of all ages. Who doesn’t love to discover a treasure on the beach!

Go Swimming

Big Pine Picnic Area is a great place to take a swim. The waters of Lake Superior can be cold, and the current can be strong. Swimming is at your own risk. Lifeguards are not present. Children should always be accompanied by an adult when in the water.

Check local weather, along with any high-water or riptide alerts. Learn what the weather conditions are in the Upper Peninsula Michigan.

Watch Nature, the Sunset or Freighters

If you are looking for a relaxing escape, Big Pine is a great place to view the spectacular sunsets or watch freighters. Huge tankers and freighters ply the waters of Lake Superior on their way to and from the locks at Sault Sainte Marie.


The height of the pine trees means the canopy is also higher, creating an open visual on the ground level. You can see what is around for a good distance. This sheltering effect, and seeing what is around, may be ideal for people who are new to exploring forests and may have some anxiety.

The pine smell combined with the clean air and soothing sound of the waves is as refreshing as swimming in the cool water. Enjoy your day at Big Pine Picnic Area. May it be a day you will long remember.


Whitefish Bay National Forest Scenic Byway

Big Pine Picnic Area is a stop on the Whitefish Bay National Forest Scenic Byway. Learn more about the all the stops on this scenic byway that runs along Lake Superior.



A short, paved walkway just off the large parking lot will lead you to the picnic areas.

At a Glance

Open Season: January - December
Closest Towns: Brimley
Restroom: Yes

General Information


From the intersection of M-28 and Interstate 75 drive west on M-28 15.6 miles to Ranger Road.  Turn right (north) and drive 6.2 miles to Lake Shore Drive.  Turn left (southwest) and drive 0.8 miles to the picnic area.

Recreation Map

Map showing recreational areas. Map Information



Viewing Scenery



Related Information

Recreation Areas

Recreation Activities


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