Tour Lake Huron’s shoreline for good eats and summer adventures on land and at sea.
Looking for an exciting day trip or a weekend of family fun? We’ve got the perfect guide to experiencing Lake Huron’s unique shoreline amenities, from Harbor Beach to Bay Port. Traveling around the tip of Michigan’s Thumb offers a plethora of attractions: play golf; sample wine at inland vineyards; experience local festivals; enjoy fine dining or casual fare (depending on your taste buds); and take pleasure in the varied overnight accommodations, from camping to a quaint bed-and-breakfast to posh lakeside retreats. And, seize the opportunity to take advantage of the beauty of Lake Huron: Rent a Jet Ski or pontoon boat; tour the lighthouses; or take a dinner cruise and watch the sunset. Enjoy and explore Lake Huron’s shore!
Harbor Beach has a small-town atmosphere, and its focal point is the Harbor Beach Lighthouse, a welcoming beacon to mariners for over a century. Public tours of this historic landmark are available, complete with a boat ride to the site. Land-lovers can best see the lighthouse from shore by turning east off M-25 onto Trescott Street, leading to the beach. Water enthusiasts can bring a kayak and paddle within view of the lighthouse and delight in knowing they are kayaking in the largest manmade freshwater harbor in the world.
Satisfy hungry appetites and discuss the day’s fun over dinner at Al’s Restaurant, where home-cooked comfort food is served. Other offerings include a large salad bar, soups, fresh bread, and a dessert bar, with cakes, pies, and cookies all made from scratch.
For overnight accommodations, travel north along the shoreline, and stay at Whalen’s Grindstone Shores in historic Grindstone City. Whalen’s offers fully-furnished cabins with all the comforts of home. Or, reserve a room upstairs in the lodge, complete with free Wi-Fi. Enjoy the view of Lake Huron, and stop at the gift shop to find a perfect souvenir.
Traveling onward, book a tee time and play a round of golf at Bird Creek Golf Club in Port Austin, just a little over a mile inland from the Saginaw Bay. Both challenging and relaxing, Bird Creek is touted as featuring one of the Thumb’s finest golf experiences. Gently rolling terrain winds through tree-lined fairways at this top-tier golf facility; its scenic beauty, manicured grounds, and fast greens make this a must-play course. Stop by the clubhouse for a cold beverage and a bite to eat from the grill—and enjoy the view.
Take a walk along the pier extending into the Port Austin Harbor. Its location affords views of spectacular sunrises and sunsets, and in the distance, the Port Austin Reef Light is visible, so be sure to bring your camera.
For those who have a Lake Huron adventure in mind, Explorer Charters offers sunset and sightseeing tours as well as a Charity Island Lighthouse tour. On the lake is the best place to view the sun setting over the Saginaw Bay, and sightseeing tours will have visitors enjoying Lake Huron’s shimmering waters and natural tranquility. Bring walking shoes for the Charity Island lighthouse tour, where visitors can stroll along the beach, hike the trails, and climb and explore the historic lighthouse built in 1857.
A Charity Island Dinner Cruise makes the perfect getaway; reservations are recommended. Guests enjoy a one-hour boat ride to the island. Dinner served under the pavilion includes Great Lakes yellow perch or sautéed tenderloin steak tips, along with fresh Michigan baby red potatoes and a vegetable medley, complemented by Michigan-made wines. Tour the lightkeeper’s home and visit the gift shop. Halfway back to the mainland, guests will enjoy dessert and coffee while marveling at the setting sun.
Beach-goers will no doubt enjoy Caseville County Park’s sandy shore. Sunbathe and take a swim before grabbing a bite to eat at Baywatch on the Beach Grill, winner of the 2014 Best Cheeseburger in Caseville. Baywatch is located on the beach and serves fish and chips, sliders, Reuben sandwiches, and its famous Detroit Coney dogs—and don’t forget the ice cream.
An additional dining option in Caseville is The Blue Water Inn; its menu includes everything from burgers, soups, and sandwiches to barbecue ribs and New York strip steaks. The Blue Water Inn is open year-round, seven days a week, and has a full bar and dance floor entertainment on Friday and Saturday evenings.
The family-friendly Bella Vista Inn and Sunset Bay Resort offers amenities galore with 700 feet of private beach and two heated outdoor pools. Whether you’d like a cozy cabin or a penthouse suite, stay the night and experience Lake Huron’s beauty. Rent a Jet Ski or a pontoon boat, cruise around on the water, and feel the exhilaration of Lake Huron’s waves. Discuss the day’s entertainment while winding down in front of a quiet bonfire.
Mark your calendar for August 14 – 23 and experience Caseville’s 17th Annual Cheeseburger Festival. This 10-day event on Lake Huron’s shore offers musical entertainment and contests, from sand sculpture building to cardboard boat races. Enjoy the classic car show, golf scrambles, craft show, kids’ parade, 5K run/walk, Parade of Tropical Fools—and, of course, cheeseburgers!
Stay the night at Sweet Dreams Inn, a Victorian bed-and-breakfast built in 1890 in Bay Port. This mansion has six themed guest rooms, sits on four acres, and overlooks Lake Huron. The inn is open year-round and is known to be haunted…sweet dreams!
Traveling off the beaten path makes every trip more exciting. Make time to drive inland toward Bad Axe to do a little wine tasting at Huron County’s wineries. Dizzy Daisy Winery & Vineyard offers complimentary samples daily from 12 – 5 p.m., with over 40 varieties made from homegrown grapes and berries, such as a dry red Marechal Foch or a sweet white blend called Bad Axe Passion.
Vine-N-Berry Winery offers free wine tasting of its wine made from real fruits and aged to perfection, with 12 varieties that include tomato and banana. Vine-N-Berry is open on weekends from 12 – 5 p.m., with additional hours available by appointment. The winery offers palate-pleasing wines, and each visit promises a unique and satisfying experience.
Whether your passions have you exploring on land or at sea, Lake Huron’s shoreline is filled with summer adventures!
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