This Michigan bucket list item is brought you by Nautical North Family Adventures.
Whether you’re exploring Michigan as a couple, family, or group of friends, it’s exciting to go boating on the Great Lakes. In Cheboygan, Nautical North Family Adventures makes cruising the Cheboygan River, Lake Huron, and Duncan Bay fun and educational for all ages. In addition to boat tours of shipwrecks and lighthouses, the family-run company also offers activities off the boat.
About Nautical North Family Adventures
Captain Jennifer launched the boat tour company in 2018 because she wanted to share her passion for the area and give people an engaging way to explore Lake Huron and learn the history below its surface. Crew member Rob is a local historian, so his passion lies in history. Together, they provide various intriguing and inspiring tours. Their young mates — Caleb, Gage, and Xavier — assist with maintaining the boat and checking in tour guests.
Speaking of the boat, the Yankee Sunshine is large enough to carry 28 people, and there’s a bathroom on board. The best part, though, is that it has a glass-bottom with underwater lights so that you can see the Lake Huron shipwrecks below the surface of the water.
Lake Huron Shipwreck, Lighthouse, & Cheboygan River Cruises
Nautical North Family Adventures offers Lake Huron shipwreck tours every day. Captain Jennifer pilots the Yankee Sunshine down the Cheboygan River, under a drawbridge, and past a few lighthouses. After getting onto Lake Huron, the tour passes the Fourteen Foot Shoal Light and moves into Duncan Bay. There are three shipwrecks in shallow water, so you can see them through the glass bottom of the boat.
With this 1.5-hour tour, you have the option to add an hour of snorkeling, which includes a snorkel, mask, and fins. Wetsuits are available for an additional fee.
Upon request, you can book a Lake Huron lighthouse tour. It includes visiting iconic lighthouses aboard the Huron Explorer, which can carry up to six passengers. The crew is happy to narrate the history of each lighthouse:
- Cheboygan Crib Light
- Cheboygan River Front Range Light
- Cheboygan River Rear Range Light
- Fourteen Foot Shoal Light
- Poe Reef Light
- Spectacle Reef Light
Additionally, Nautical North Family Adventures offers Cheboygan and Black River cruises aboard the Yankee Sunshine. The leisurely, 1.5-hour narrated ride goes up the Cheboygan River through the Cheboygan Locks and to the Black River. If you would like to reserve the Yankee Sunshine for a private group adventure, you can do that too. Nautical North Family Adventures can host events and customize excursions to suit your needs. Pets are even welcome on private charters.
Scuba Diving, Distance Swimming, & Kayak Rentals on Lake Huron and the Cheboygan River
There’s more to Nautical North Family Adventures than boat tours and charters. With an instructor, you can learn how to scuba dive and discover a whole new world under the water. If you’re already an experienced diver, you can charter the boat to explore unique diving sites in the area.
Advanced swimmers can charter Nautical North Family Adventures for swim pilot services in the Straits of Mackinac. The boat rides alongside you to keep other vessels aware that you’re swimming. In addition, kayakers who want to paddle the Cheboygan River or other inland waters can rent kayaks.
Things to Do After Your Nautical North Family Adventures Tour
The City of Cheboygan and Cheboygan County offer many other outdoor activities and entertainment. In keeping with the boat tours, you can travel across the water to Bois Blanc Island, from which you can see the Mackinac Bridge and Mackinac Island. The island only has a few amenities, but you can visit Bois Blanc Island Light on the north end. The light-brick, 38-foot tower marks a shoal that juts into Lake Huron.
Jack Pine Lumberjack Shows in Mackinaw City brings you amusing and competitive shows featuring world-class lumberjacks. They demonstrate turn-of-the-century skills such as speed climbing, chopping, ax throwing, sawing and crosscut sawing, and logrolling. The lumberjacks even compete in boom runs.
If you like hiking, Cheboygan State Park has five well-marked trails with a scenic view of rare wildflowers and Lake Huron. Nearly 7 miles of mountain biking trails are available as well. A carry-in boat launch opens the door for canoeing, kayaking, and fishing. Also, the park has an area for swimming and a playground.
The Nature Megaphone in the 181-acre Agnes S. Andreae Nature Preserve is a unique creation. You can crawl inside of it and listen to the amplified sounds of the surrounding pine forests. Resting along the lower Pigeon River, the preserve has more than 5 miles of trails to explore.
Great Restaurants in Cheboygan and the Surrounding Area
Before an exciting tour with Nautical North Family Adventures, or while you’re visiting other attractions, you might need a jolt of energy. It may sound a little odd to go to a car dealership, but Libby’s Cafe has one of the best coffee menus in town. You can order any of the coffees and specialty drinks hot or iced, and it has some fun flavors — s’mores, cinnamon bun, and almond joy. The cafe has a decent breakfast menu too.
Catering to people with allergies, Nourish Northern Michigan is a healthy place to get lunch. It’s a collaboration between a fitness studio and a farm-to-table eatery. Everything on the menu is gluten-free, and many items are dairy-free, nut-free, and vegan.
For pizza lovers, Duncan City Pizza serves pizzas made with the finest ingredients. The meats and vegetables are sliced by hand, and the cheese is shredded in-house. The menu includes pastas, wraps, and subs as well.
To satisfy any cravings for dessert or something sweet, head to The Big Dipper Ice Cream Parlour. This old-fashioned ice cream parlor has more than 100 flavors, which you can order in a cup or cone. Also, the parlor can design ice cream cakes and pies for special occasions.
Convenient Lodging Options Near Nautical North Family Adventures
If you want exceptional accommodations while you’re in Cheboygan, head to Bois Blanc Island. Here, The Hideaway at Bois Blanc Island Bed and Breakfast is a spacious home that you can only reach from Cheboygan via the Plaunt Transportation ferry. Each of the six bedrooms has a private bathroom, and breakfast is served every morning. You can rent a single floor or the entire house if you wish.
Places to Go Camping Near Cheboygan
Because of the vast amount of nature in Cheboygan County, there are several campgrounds that offer a range of tent and RV sites. We’ve put together a short list of highly-rated campgrounds that are within a 25-minute drive from Nautical North Family Adventures:
- Waterways Campground
- Cheboygan State Park
- Aloha State Park
- Mackinaw Mill Creek Camping
- Twin Lakes State Forest Campground
Photos of Nautical North Family Adventures & Cheboygan County