Lake Michigan’s shoreline is so gorgeous that it can sometimes overshadow the beauty of Michigan’s other Great Lakes. But if you’re looking to experience the incredible sights and sounds of Lake Huron, look no further than this one-of-a-kind road trip along Michigan’s Sunrise Coast. The Huron Shores Heritage Route, which covers over 200 miles of shoreline along US-23, showcases the following must-see stops on the Lower Peninsula’s east coast.
Your journey will begin in Standish, where you can visit the gorgeous Charity Island in Saginaw Bay. Other attractions include canoeing on Rifle River and visiting several historic sites in the surrounding area, including a series of interesting cemeteries and the Michigan Central Railroad Station.
2. Au Gres
Just north of Standish sits the town of Au Gres, where you’ll discover a slew of charming activities. Spend the night in a quaint lakeside cottage or bed and breakfast, then wake up early to catch a Lake Huron sunrise or take a scenic walk through Au Gres City Park.
3. Oscoda/Au Sable
Next on your trip is the Oscoda/Au Sable area, where you’ll be stunned by white sand beaches and lighthouses. You’ll also find a variety of hiking trails along the mighty Au Sable River and even a few wildlife sanctuaries where you can indulge your inner birdwatcher.
Harrisville is the next stop on your tour of the Sunrise Coast, and what a lovely stop it is. Check out an outdoor concert near Harrisville Harbor or take a break at Eagle Ridge Golf Course. Before you leave, be sure to check out the historic Sturgeon Point Lighthouse.
Grab your kayaks and diving gear for a memorable visit to Alpena, where you can explore the Thunder Bay River and even check out a series of over 200 shipwrecks that rest off the coast of Lake Huron. After a long day of natural exploration, sip on a handcrafted beer at Austin Brothers Beer Company.
6. Rogers City
Rogers City and its surrounding areas are overflowing with natural wonders to explore. Make the trip inland to check out Ocqueoc Falls, the only waterfall in the Lower Peninsula. Relax on one of the town’s pristine Lake Huron beaches or ride your bike along Anishanaabe Trail, which connects some of the town’s most beautiful and historic lighthouses.
This harbor town is the perfect place to unwind as you prepare for the end of your beautiful trip up the coast. Take in a show at the Cheboygan Opera House, spend the night in a calming rental on the water, or enjoy a leisurely hike at Cheboygan State Park.
8. Mackinaw City
You’ve reached the end of your road trip, and what a perfect ending point it is! Mackinaw City offers a little something for everyone, from stunning views of the Mackinac Bridge to a plethora of shops in the downtown area. Whether you’re dipping your toes in the cool water or taking in the sights of Colonial Michilimackinac, you won’t be disappointed with your last stop along the Sunrise Coast.
Now you have a guide to one of Michigan’s most scenic and exciting drives. The attractions and activities on this list only scratch the surface of what you’ll experience during your time on the Huron Shores Heritage Route. So pack your suitcase, put on your sunscreen, and get ready to explore!