Have you ever wondered what makes Port Huron, this charming little gem tucked away in Michigan, such a delightful place to visit? Well, look no further!
Nestled along the shores of Lake Huron in the eastern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, Port Huron is a city steeped in history, renowned for its maritime heritage, and celebrated for its scenic beauty.
With a history that stretches back to the early 19th century, Port Huron has played a significant role in the development of the Great Lakes region. In this article, we’ll take a deep dive into the rich history, interesting facts, and unique character that define Port Huron, Michigan.
Port Huron’s history is closely intertwined with the Great Lakes and its maritime legacy. Founded in 1814, it has long served as a vital port city on the St. Clair River, connecting Lake Huron to Lake St. Clair.
The city’s most iconic symbol, the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, has stood as a sentinel since 1829, guiding ships through these treacherous waters.
Port Huron was also home to inventor Thomas Edison during his formative years, and the Thomas Edison Depot Museum pays homage to his time here.
I’ve compiled a list of 15 fantastic things to do in Port Huron that will keep you entertained, amazed, and smiling from ear to ear!
Things to Do in Port Huron
1. Visit the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse
The Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, standing tall in Port Huron, is the oldest lighthouse in Michigan, and it has quite a story to tell.
Built in 1829, it has been guiding ships safely along Lake Huron’s shores for nearly two centuries. When you visit, you can climb up to the top and soak in the breathtaking views of Lake Huron.
It’s like stepping back in time as you explore the historic lighthouse, and you’ll learn about the brave keepers who tended to its light. Don’t forget your camera! The views from the top are truly Instagram-worthy!
2. Stroll along the Blue Water River Walk
If you’re in the mood for a peaceful and scenic stroll, the Blue Water River Walk is the place to be. This picturesque spot along the river boasts beautifully landscaped gardens, captivating sculptures, and a charming boardwalk that’s perfect for a leisurely walk.
As you amble along, you’ll likely spot some wildlife, like ducks and swans. It’s an ideal spot for a romantic date or a relaxing family outing, and the sunset views are simply magical.
3. Kayaking and Canoeing
For those who love water adventures, kayaking or canoeing on the St. Clair River is a must-do. You can rent a kayak or canoe and embark on a peaceful journey amidst stunning natural surroundings.
As you paddle along, you might even spot freighters passing by, which is a unique experience. It’s a great way to connect with nature and enjoy the soothing rhythm of the river.
4. Thomas Edison Depot Museum
Did you know that one of America’s greatest inventors, Thomas Edison, had ties to Port Huron? At the Thomas Edison Depot Museum, you can delve into the early life of this genius inventor.
This museum is housed in the very depot where young Edison worked as a newsboy, and it’s filled with fascinating exhibits about his inventions and accomplishments. You’ll gain insight into the incredible mind of Edison and the impact of his work on our world today.
5. Float Down the Black River
Every year, Port Huron hosts a unique and fun event known as the Port Huron Float Down. Picture this: You and thousands of others floating down the Black River on inner tubes. It’s a fantastic way to cool off on a warm summer day and make unforgettable memories with friends and family.
As you lazily drift along, you’ll see the city from a whole new perspective. Just remember to bring your sunscreen and keep an eye out for the occasional water fight with fellow floaters!
6. Fisherman’s Island State Park
For a full day of outdoor adventure, head to Fisherman’s Island State Park, located on the shores of Lake Huron. This natural oasis is a paradise for hikers, picnickers, and swimmers.
With its pristine sandy beaches and crystal-clear waters, it’s the perfect spot to take a refreshing swim or build sandcastles with the kids.
You can also explore the park’s hiking trails, which offer glimpses of wildlife and captivating scenery. It’s a place where you can truly unwind and connect with nature.
7. Port Huron Museum
When visiting Port Huron, a trip to the Port Huron Museum is like stepping into a time machine that transports you through the city’s rich history. This museum is a treasure trove of fascinating exhibits and historic sites that showcase the essence of Port Huron.
As you wander through its halls, you’ll encounter a captivating collection of artifacts, photographs, and stories that reveal the city’s past.
From tales of early settlers to glimpses of its maritime heritage, the museum provides a comprehensive understanding of Port Huron’s evolution.
It’s a journey that connects you with the people and events that shaped this vibrant community, making it a must-visit for history buffs and curious explorers alike.
8. Lunch at a Riverside Cafe
After immersing yourself in history, it’s time to indulge in some culinary delights at one of Port Huron’s charming riverside cafes or restaurants. For coffee, I recommend Raven Cafe they have both delicious coffee and a nice port view!
These dining establishments offer more than just delicious food, they provide an opportunity to savor the local flavors while basking in the serene waterfront views.
Whether you’re in the mood for fresh seafood, gourmet sandwiches, or classic American cuisine, you’ll find a menu to satisfy your cravings.
It’s a chance to unwind, chat with friends or family, and enjoy the gentle breeze and the soothing sounds of the river.
9. Shop in Downtown Port Huron
Downtown Port Huron is a shopper’s paradise, where you can explore unique boutiques, antique shops, and art galleries that define the city’s character. It’s a place where old-world charm meets contemporary style.
As you meander through the streets, you’ll discover an array of treasures waiting to be found.
Antique enthusiasts will delight in the vintage collectibles, while art lovers can explore local galleries showcasing the works of talented artists. And don’t forget the boutiques, where you can shop for clothing, jewelry, and gifts that capture the essence of Port Huron’s culture. It’s a shopping experience that combines exploration with the joy of discovery.
10. Attend a Festival
Port Huron’s vibrant spirit truly comes alive during its festivals and events. One such highlight is the Port Huron to Mackinac Sailboat Race, a thrilling annual spectacle that attracts sailors and spectators from far and wide.
It’s a chance to witness the power of the wind as majestic sailboats set off on a challenging journey across Lake Huron.
But that’s just one example. Port Huron’s events calendar is always brimming with exciting happenings. Whether you’re into music, arts, or local cuisine, there’s likely a festival that suits your interests.
These events not only entertain but also provide a glimpse into the community’s camaraderie and love for celebrations.
11. Bike the Bridge
For an adventure that’s both exhilarating and international, consider taking a bike ride across the Blue Water Bridge, which connects Port Huron to Sarnia, Canada. This iconic bridge is not just a transportation link. It’s a symbol of the strong bond between these two neighboring cities.
As you pedal your way across, you’ll experience the thrill of crossing an international border by bike. The views of the St. Clair River below and the expanse of Lake Huron beyond are simply breathtaking.
It’s a memorable journey that reminds us of the beauty of connection and the shared experiences that bring communities together.
12. Huron Lady II River Cruise
If you’re eager to explore Port Huron from a different perspective, the Huron Lady II River Cruise is the perfect choice. This narrated river cruise offers not only stunning views of the city’s shoreline but also a wealth of information about its history and landmarks.
As you glide along the river, you’ll learn about the maritime heritage that has shaped Port Huron and gain insights into the significance of its waterfront.
The commentary is both informative and engaging, making it an educational yet entertaining experience for visitors of all ages.
13. Huron Lightship Museum
For a unique maritime adventure, a visit to the Huron Lightship Museum is a must. This floating museum is not your typical museum. It’s a retired lightship that once guided ships safely through the Great Lakes.
Now, it’s been transformed into an interactive museum that allows you to step back in time and experience the life of a lightship crew.
You’ll explore the ship’s interior, from the engine room to the captain’s quarters, and gain an appreciation for the challenges they face. It’s a hands-on experience that brings the history of Port Huron’s maritime past to life.
14. Sandy Beaches
When it’s time to unwind and soak up the sun, Port Huron offers some beautiful sandy beaches. Lakeside Beach, in particular, is a favorite among locals and visitors alike.
It’s the perfect spot to lay down a blanket, build sandcastles, or take a refreshing swim in Lake Huron.
The gentle lapping of the waves and the soft sand beneath your toes create a tranquil atmosphere that’s ideal for relaxation.
Whether you’re planning a family beach day or a romantic sunset picnic, Port Huron’s sandy beaches provide the perfect backdrop for cherished memories.
If you’re seeking outdoor recreation, a round of golf at one of Port Huron’s local courses will surely hit the mark. The Port Huron Golf Club, in particular, offers a scenic and relaxing outdoor activity.
Surrounded by lush green fairways and beautiful landscapes, it’s an opportunity to challenge your golf skills or simply enjoy a leisurely game with friends.
The fresh air and natural beauty of the course provide a refreshing escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life.
Whether you’re a seasoned golfer or a novice, Port Huron’s golf courses offer an enjoyable way to connect with nature and unwind.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Port Huron worth a visit?
Yes, Port Huron is worth a visit, especially for its scenic waterfront, historic sites like the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, and recreational opportunities along Lake Huron.
What is Port Huron Michigan known for?
Port Huron, Michigan is known for its maritime heritage, the beautiful Blue Water Bridge connecting the U.S. and Canada, and as the birthplace of Thomas Edison.
Can you swim in Lake Huron?
Yes, you can swim in Lake Huron. It offers numerous public beaches and swimming areas along its shoreline.
Is it safe to swim in Lake Huron?
Generally, it is safe to swim in Lake Huron. However, it’s advisable to check local conditions, follow safety guidelines, and be aware of potential currents or weather changes when swimming in any large body of water.
Can you swim in Port Huron?
Yes, you can swim in Port Huron. The city offers several public beaches and access points to Lake Huron, making it suitable for swimming during the warm months.
What is the nicest town on Lake Huron?
Determining the “nicest” town on Lake Huron is subjective and can vary depending on individual preferences. Some popular towns along Lake Huron’s shoreline known for their charm and attractions include Port Huron, Mackinaw City, Alpena, and Harbor Beach, among others.
Does Port Huron have a downtown?
Yes, Port Huron has a downtown area. It features a variety of shops, restaurants, cultural attractions, and historical sites, making it a vibrant and central part of the city for both residents and visitors to explore.