Lake Huron | Photo Via Amanda Schaffer
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5 Reasons Lake Huron Is The Best Great Lake

Growing up on the shores of Lake Michigan, I will always have an allegiance to those waters. When I first moved back to the mitten state, I only planned our adventures around the sandy beaches I had grown up by as I wanted to show my children what life on the big lake was really like. 

Our move had relocated us to Mid-Michigan. Now being located in the middle of the state gave way to new opportunities to explore, and I found myself with a bucket list of new shores and places I wanted to explore, and to my surprise, many of them dotted the Lake Huron shoreline. 

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Besser Natural Area | Photo via Amanda Shaffer

As we explored more, I found ourselves gravitating more and more to these Lake Huron beach locations on the east side of Michigan.

What was this wonder of a lake? Why hadn’t I truly given it more of a chance before?

If you want sandy beaches, you can find them. If rocky beaches are more your speed, you have plenty to choose from.

If you haven’t ventured out to Lake Huron, I am here to tell you five reasons Lake Huron is arguably the best Great Lake. 

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Lake Huron | photo via Amanda Schaffer

The Sunrise Coast

As I previously mentioned, I grew up on the shores of Lake Michigan. I spent my teen years watching the sunset over the waters near a bonfire with friends or walking the pier. In my opinion, nothing can beat a Lake Michigan sunset. But this post isn’t about Lake Michigan, is it?

I had spent many mornings with my father perch fishing on a Great Lake, but it wasn’t until I traveled east to the Lake Huron shoreline that I got to appreciate the true wonder of the sunrise of a Great Lake.

My first experience was watching the water sparkle at Rockport State Recreation Area on a trip to Alpena. We continued our sunrise chase to Besser Natural Area.

Pack your water shoes, stay in your pajamas, and don’t miss this wonder. It’s an incredible way to start your day.

If you haven’t experienced a Lake Huron sunrise, you need to put it on your Michigan bucket list. If you’re looking for more ideas to add to your Michigan bucket list, check out The Ultimate Michigan Bucket List.

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Lakeport State Park | Photo via Amanda Shaffer

Rock Hunting

Rock hunting, beach combing, whatever you choose to call it, Lake Huron is the place to be.

While Lake Huron may not be the largest Great Lake, it does boast the longest shoreline of the Great Lakes, which makes the opportunities for searching for your next treasure almost endless.

Growing up on the primarily sandy beaches of Lake Michigan, I am sure you can imagine my surprise when I first visited the shores of Lake Huron. Luckily, I had packed our water shoes and we could enjoy our visit thoroughly.

With two children who find the magic of even a piece of broken concrete in the grocery store parking lot, you can envision the absolute slice of heaven my kids had found themselves in. With our pockets full and hearts happy, we discovered the magic of rock hunting on the Lake Huron shores.

I am well aware of the treasures that are found on the west side of the state, but I have actually found my best finds on the Lake Huron beaches. I always end up with more beach glass, and maybe the tables will turn, but currently, I have had the best luck finding Petoskey stones on the Lake Huron shoreline. 

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Lake Huron | photo via Amanda Schaffer

The Crowds

Or should I say the lack of crowds?

I am not saying others don’t enjoy the shoreline of Lake Huron. On a beautiful Michigan day, you will still find the best beaches on Lake Huron full, but in my experience, it is nowhere near as packed or busy as the most popular beaches on the west side shoreline.

I have arrived midday at a Lake Huron beach expecting not to be able to find a place to land my towel and have been pleasantly surprised by the space still available for my family and me. 

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Photo via Amanda Shaffer

The Lighthouses 

Each Great Lake is home to many stunning lighthouses. I won’t sit here and type that some of my favorites aren’t on the west side or northern shorelines, but I can confidently write that the ones we want to keep returning to are on the Lake Huron side.

What we love about our favorites on the Lake Huron side is how you can get up close and explore these fantastic pieces of Michigan history. Many Lake Huron lighthouses offer not only a walking trip to the top for a small fee but also an up close and personal look at how light keepers of the time spent their days.

Namely, a couple of family favorites would be Tawas Point Lighthouse (closed for 2023 for restoration but keep it on your must-visit list) and Sturgeon Point Lighthouse (make sure to check for the Old Bailey Schoolhouse hours, too if you head here!)

With one stop to Port Huron, you can check off visiting the first lighthouse in the state of Michigan by exploring the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse as well as the Huron Lightship Museum. 

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Photo via Amanda Shaffer

Adventure Awaits

Whether it’s a new hike, visiting a ghost town, going on a shipwreck tour, exploring the blue ice while viewing the Mackinac Bridge, or kayaking to Turnip Rock.

There is no shortage of amazing adventures to experience along the Lake Huron shores. Often people think of going up north to go on a true Michigan adventure, but it all awaits you on Lake Huron as well. 

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Clear waters and sandy beaches can be found on Lake Huron | Photo via Amanda Shaffer

While I am just beginning my journey on the east side of the state, exploring all that Lake Huron has to offer; I was amazed at how quickly it won me over with its versatile beaches, the invitation to explore Michigan more deeply, and its beauty and I am sure if you gave it a chance you might find it up higher on your favorite Great Lake list than you ever expected. 

And if you are already a Lake Huron fan, please let me know in the comments your favorite place to explore along the Lake Huron shoreline.

10 Comments

  1. Yes, I just moved back to Michigan after being gone for 25 years. We moved to Harbor Beach,what a glorious place. People are wonderful and very welcoming. We purchased our house 1 block from beautiful lake Huron. I have seen some of the most beautiful sunrises.love it here

  2. I was bred, born and raised on the Sunrise Side, although my dad got a job in Flint, I have always made it back to the area of my birth. I retired here in 1999, but I moved back in 1995 as my permanent home. I live in Alabaster Township, and we have a new township park at the southeast end of the township it is a work in progress, we have a bike path that connects with the one through Tawas City, it runs south to the County/Township line along US23. Tawas City has a new pier with some mooring spaces, new restrooms. East Tawas has a newly remodeled pier, a camper park, new restrooms along the east side of US23 (Lake Street). The County Museum is there too. There is a farmer’s market by the Tawas River on Lake Huron. Tawas Point has the Lighthouse it is supported by fees for entrance. There is a camp site on the Point also. There is the AuSable/Oscoda area 13 miles at the mouth of the AuSable River, north of East Tawas. There is so much to see and enjoy in our area. Because of my age and health I don’t get out to explore anymore.

  3. I agree with you on Lake Huron being so beautiful. The water is clear, the beaches are nice it is the best great lake of all!

  4. Come to Michigan’s U.P. and the Garden Peninsula! You can watch both sunrises and sunsets from the same spot!
    Sandy beaches and Rocky beaches, cliffs right to the shore and excellent fishing for several species!

  5. Spent some time in the Rogers City area and ventured out from there. Loved the area and will be back. Forty Point Lighthouse was a beautiful spot to explore.

  6. Shhhh…😉 We tease with our friends that we thoroughly enjoying like telling people how horrible Lake Huron beaches are. Born and raised in Tawas, moved to GR and thoroughly enjoyed Lake Michigan, however couldn’t resist moving back five years ago. All of the lakes are special, but Lake Huron is certainly not given enough credit. Thanks for highlighting some of what we love about it too!

  7. There is a great museum in Alpena that’s free but a donation is appreciated. It’s run by the NOA and they do activities for kids and shipwreck tours.

  8. I spent 15 of my summers on the shores of Lake Huron. I moved to Florida a life time ago, but my heart still misses Lake Huron. I am 77 and would give something precious to spend one more summer on the shores of Lake Huron.

  9. We love our Lake Huron! It can be wild and crazy with rough waters and then there are the days it is beautiful and sparkling in the sunshine…we also love that it is not as crowded as the west side of the state.

  10. I recently moved to the sunrise side in East Tawas. I am finding everything in this article to be true. Absolutely loving life on the East Coast !

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