Situated on the south end of Arenac County, the Standish Historical Depot and Welcome Center rests in the center of Standish. It has a rich history and several interesting things to see. Also, it’s the perfect place to begin a journey on the US-23 Heritage Route.
About the Standish Historical Depot
Part of the Michigan Central Railroad, the Standish historical depot was built in 1889, but it wasn’t the first depot in Standish. The first depot was wooden and built a little farther south in 1871. By 1877, deterioration became a problem, so the current stone building was built. In the late 1800s to 1900s, about 18 musicians would play weekly concerts throughout the summer at the bandstand on the grounds. After business declined, the depot closed to passenger train service in 1955.
Now, the Standish historical depot is open to the public as a welcome center. It’s open daily unless there are no volunteers to cover the hours. As a welcome center, it has a plethora of information about the area — lodging, maps, shops, activities, events.
In the museum room, you can get a look at locomotive history from the turn of the 20th century. There are several artifacts and memorabilia, including documents, photos, and uniforms. You can even explore a restored Detroit & Mackinac 205 Caboose and two British Railway passenger cars.
The Standish historical depot property has a Vietnam Veterans Memorial as well. The two benches commemorate two soldiers from Arenac County who were killed during the conflict. You’ll see them along the Depot’s Memorial Walk, for which you can purchase a brick as a contribution to help with maintaining the grounds.
Throughout the summer, the Standish historical depot hosts a few events. From May through September, it’s the venue for the Farmers Market where you can get local produce and other wares. Performers continue to use the bandstand for the free Summer Concert Series from June to August — although some of the events are held in other locations.
Other Attractions and Restaurants Near the Standish Depot
Throughout Arenac County, there are a few other interesting things to do and some great restaurants to fuel your adventures. The Standish Nature Preserve is one of the oldest in the area and is home to wetlands and a pond among hardwood trees. You can walk the trail through the preserve and have the chance to see a variety of birds and other wildlife.
Before you leave the preserve, head a few minutes south to grab a bite at White’s Beach Tavern. The beachfront bar and restaurant is famous for its burgers. On the other hand, you could head back into Standish to get pizza, pasta, sandwiches, and Mexican dishes at Fergie’s Pizza.
Following the US-23 Heritage Route into Au Gres, you can stop at Modern Craft Wine for a wine tasting. Another interesting place is the Arenac County Historical Museum, which is located in the former Au Gres Methodist Church that was built in 1883. Many construction tools, historical church documents, and other artifacts are on display. You can observe various settings too — a rural schoolroom, pioneer kitchen, parlor, bedroom, an apothecary, and a barbershop. There’s even a commercial fishing exhibit.
Au Gres has several restaurants. B’s Family Restaurant serves breakfast, lunch, and dinner with a menu of cold and hot sandwiches, specialty burgers, wraps, and more. At T&C Sports Lounge, you can enjoy pizza, dinner entrees, and draft beer while watching a game on more than 50 flat-screen TVs.
Lodging and Camping in Arenac County
If there’s one thing that you won’t have trouble finding in Arenac County, it’s a camping spot. There are several to consider throughout the area:
- River View Campground & Canoe Livery
- Greenwood Family Campground
- Big Bend Family Campground
- Riverbend Campground & Canoe Rental
- City of Au Gres Riverfront Campground
- Point Au Gres Marina & Campground
- Northport Condominium Campground
We've included local campgrounds in most of the #MIAwesomeList posts to help you get the most out of your Michigan summer bucket list adventures!
No RV? No worries. You can save up to 25% on your travel costs this summer by renting an RV through RVshare!
Whether you want to pull it behind you or have it all set up at your destination, renting an RV is the best way to enjoy all your summer adventures in Michigan!
Additional Lodging Options Near Standish:
- Standish Motel
- Cozy Home Lake Huron
- Family-friendly vacation home with kitchen, near Saganing Eagles Landing Casino
- Pinconning Trail Inn Motel