Us-23 Road Trip
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Explore Beautiful Northern Michigan on a US-23 Road Trip

With the warm weather approaching, it is a clear sign that spring is here. The flowers are blooming and we are getting closer and closer to those warm summer months. Summer is quickly approaching which means the perfect summer activity is to take a road trip.

What better way to start off summer than a drive along US-23 and Lake Huron. This drive is filled with beautiful sights, many different things to do, and amazing stops along the way.

Whether you are going on a family road trip, a solo road trip, or just a fun drive with friends there is something to do for everyone along this drive that will provide the most fun memories.

From Picconning to Alpena there are many places to stop on this beautiful route to make the most perfect summer road trip along Lake Huron. This drive is perfect for quick stops, pull-off spots for picnics, or even just for a quick bite of food or ice cream.

I spent my childhood growing up and taking this drive many times as we would head to our grandparents’ cabin up north. Now, we own a cabin up north and the tradition of going up here a few times every summer continues.

This drive and these unique spots never get old and I am so happy to share them. I hope while reading this you find some of your favorite spots and even find something new to try.

Turkey Roost
Turkey Roost | photo by Kassandra Olschanski

Turkey Roost in Kawkawlin

One spectacular place that locals love is Turkey Roost. Anyone who has spent any time driving up north will tell you that this place is an absolute must-do. Turkey Roost is located in Kawkawlin along M-13 which turns into US-23 shortly after.

The charming pink building is inviting and has been a staple as a road trip stop for many years now. My parents grew up stopping when they were kids, and the tradition passed onto me and we would stop on our trips as well. My favorite thing to order is the French toast meal.

Wilson's Cheese Shoppe
Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe | photo by Kassandra Olschanski

Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe in Pinconning

As a little kid, I spent many summer weekends driving up M-13 which turns into US-23 and our first stop was always in Pinconning. This is the place to go when you are looking for some cheese to bring on your road trip and your up north adventure.

A mouse holding a piece of cheese is the perfect sign that you have reached Wilson’s Cheese Shoppe. They have a great selection of cheeses that are perfect for any family gathering or summer picnic that you may be having along your road trip.

I remember always stopping here any time we made a trip up north with my family. It is one of my fondest memories and my favorite place I have ever purchased cheese from.

My favorite cheese to purchase is the port wine cheese spread which is also one of my Grandma’s favorites too. They have an assortment of different kinds of cheeses as well as anything else you may need on your road trip as it doubles as a convenience store as well.

Tawas Beach
Tawas Beach | photo by Kassandra Olschanski

Beaches & Ice Cream in Tawas City

Continuing the drive along US-23 will bring you to Tawas City. Some of my favorite beaches in Michigan are located in Tawas City, including Tawas Beach.

These beaches have the softest sand, and the downtown area is filled with ice cream shops that I remember vividly visiting as a kid. These ice cream shops include Marion’s Dairy Bar and the classic Dairy Queen.

The water is super inviting and lined with large rocks that give you the most perfect photo spot on your drive. It is a spectacular view and a spectacular town to stop in that gives you that perfect small beach town feel.

Lake Huron Sunrise
Lake Huron sunrise | photo by Kassandra Olschanski

Sunrise in Oscoda

If you continue along US-23 you will eventually hit Oscoda which has the best beaches for sunrise viewing. Any beach along US-23 in Oscoda is the best place for the most beautiful sunrises, like the Lake Huron MDOT roadside park.

As the sunrise is typically very bright and early, there are only a few people watching every morning which gives the most quiet and relaxing view as the sun rises over Lake Huron. Although the sun may rise early, it is worth the drive and the trip to see the most gorgeous sunrises over Lake Huron.

This is my favorite spot along Lake Huron to stop and view the sunrise. The view is breathtaking and gorgeous. 

Sturgeon Point Lighthouse
Sturgeon Point Lighthouse | photo by Kassandra Olschanski

Sturgeon Point Lighthouse in Harrisville

Another unique stop along the water is the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse. This lighthouse is located right along Lake Huron. The grounds of this wonderful lighthouse are open all year.

Between Memorial Day and mid-September, the inside of the lighthouse is a maritime museum. Whether you go before Memorial Day weekend or after, there is plenty to enjoy on the grounds alone, along with the beautiful lighthouse on Lake Huron.

Dinosaur Gardens
Dinosaur Gardens | photo by Kassandra Olschanski

Dinosaur Gardens in Ossineke

If you continue on US-23 you will be greeted with Dinosaur Gardens. This is something that is a unique and family-fun activity. Everyone of all ages will enjoy this activity. You can spend time looking at life-like dinosaur sculptures while walking around outside and enjoying the great outdoors.

This is truly a hidden gem. However, this place is the most fantastic spot to make those lasting memories that will carry you through the summer and keep you coming back for more.

Adorable Downtown in Alpena

Alpena has a lot to offer, including a cute downtown area with lots of restaurants that include Mangos Tequila Bar, Hopside Brewery, and Red Brick Tap & Barrel.

There are a few coffee shops downtown including the classic Biggby coffee we all know and love. As well as another coffee shop called Cabin Creek Coffee. This is the perfect place to end a road trip along US-23 and enjoy the small-town charm and wonderful eats.

Us-23 Road Trip
US-23 Road Trip | photos by Kassandra Olschanski

Make Lasting Memories on Your Next US-23 Road Trip

There are a lot of fun spots along US-23 and along Lake Huron. Whether you choose to do this road trip in spring or summer, all of these activities can be done with your family, friends, a significant other, or even as a solo trip.

Each stop and the city listed above is worth checking out and who knows, maybe you will find your own hidden gems along the way and create special long-lasting memories.

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