Marine News from the Great Lakes

The Tip Of The Thumb - Port Austin, MI

Published: Sunday, September 1, 2019

Where can you watch the sunrise on the beach, eat breakfast at a friendly cafe, catch one of Michigan's Top Ten Farmers Markets, enjoy live music, have lunch at a local diner, visit the local history center, walk the breakwall, go fishing, kayaking, or paddleboarding, charter a boat to the Reef Lighthouse, enjoy dinner at another local restaurant, then watch the sunset from a different beach... AND never go more than a mile from your downtown motel/cabin door?

Port Austin, at the tip of Michigan’s ‘thumb,’ that’s where!

Whether you arrive by boat, car, or bike, it is easy to get around Port Austin. If you would like to explore the surrounding area, bicycles are available to rent. Thumb Area Transit is available for point to point transportation for a minimal fee.

Grindstone City, home to great restaurants and ice cream parlors as well as a beautiful harbor and campground, is less than seven miles east of Port Austin. Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse is another six miles to the east. On the other side, less than ten miles west of Port Austin, find more restaurants, an adventure golf course, Port Crescent State Park, and the Huron County Nature Center.

After watching the sun rise at Bird Creek Park, head to one of several restaurants and cafes within a few blocks of the beach for a tasty breakfast. Then, on Saturdays, walk a few blocks to one of the “Top Ten Farmers Markets” in Michigan. The market runs from 9am-1pm with live music starting at 10am. Associated with the market is the Village Green Mini Market, consisting of eight small shops. These additional vendors are open Thursdays 10am-3pm, Fridays 4pm-7pm, and Saturdays 9am-3pm.

Wander through the many interesting shops downtown. Play a game or two of putt putt golf. Visit one of the many diners for a filling mid-day meal. Take a walk on the Port Austin State Harbor breakwall or visit the Port Austin History Center to learn about local history and explore historical buildings. Catch a play at the Port Austin Community Playhouse.

Head for the water to enjoy one of many Lake Huron watersport activities. Bring your own boat or rent one while in town. Port Austin State Harbor is a great spot to launch your fishing boat and head out to catch those big ones. You can also charter a fishing boat out of Port Austin or Grindstone Harbor. The Port Austin area offers great fishing for salmon, lake trout, walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, brown trout, and steelhead.

If kayaking or paddleboarding is more your style, Port Austin is the place. Popular routes include the Pinnebog River and Broken Rocks to the west, as well as the Turnip Rock formation and various lake caves to the east. Shallow water along the coast makes for great paddling for those new to the sport. For the more experienced kayaker, Port Austin can present some challenging conditions thanks to our location at the ‘tip of the thumb.’

For those looking for a more leisurely way to visit The Port Austin Reef Lighthouse or Turnip Rock, several charter captains are ready to take you out on their boats. Port Austin is also a wonderful place to bicycle; enjoy a ride along the coastline or venture inland through our numerous farms and wind farms.

Finish your day with a great dinner at one of several wonderful and friendly restaurants ranging from family-oriented to taverns to fine-dining establishments. Then, after a quiet walk along the Veterans Waterfront Park remembering those who gave their all so you could enjoy this day, you can head down to the beach and watch the sun set a few blocks from where you started the day.

Plan your adventure at today.


This article first appeared in the Fall Issue (Sep/Oct) 2019 of Great Lakes Scuttlebutt magazine.

tags: Destination


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