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Higgins Lake MI 2023: 9 Best Things to Do

higgins lake michigan
Higgins Lake at Sunset

Higgins Lake MI is pure Michigan fun at its best.

This beautiful lake in Michigan has long been a favorite vacation destination for visitors drawn to the clear water and family-friendly things to do.

Located in Roscommon County, in central Northern Michigan, Higgins Lake is a short drive away from Roscommon and Houghton Lake. Surrounded by natural beauty, the water is spring-fed and clear and activities abound. Camping, hiking, golf and wildlife viewing are all wonderful ways to pass the time.

They even have an ADA beach-access chair, making Higgins Lake more widely available for
year-round fun.

Read on for nine great things to do in Higgins Lake, Michigan.

Map of higgins lake michigan

Higgins Lake Water Activities: Swimming, Boating, Beaching and More

Higgins Lake is paradise for water lovers.

Whether you’re swimming, boating, kayaking, fishing, or just sitting at the edge of the water, listening to the gentle lapping of the wave, there’s endless opportunities to enjoy the beautiful water.

With nine boat launches, you’re not short on options for getting on the lake. Make sure to hit up the boat-washing station to prevent the spread of invasive species and help take care of this precious natural resource.

Higgins Lake Boat Rentals

Places like Campbell’s Canoe Livery and James Morgan Boat Rentals outfit you with watercraft like canoes, pontoon boats, kayaks, and fishing or recreational boats. James Morgan Boat Rentals will even bring your rental to the launch of your choice if it’s in Roscommon County. Topping it all off, B&B Sports Marina has stand-up paddleboards.

If you’ve got the need for speed, Go Fast has you covered with Jet Ski rentals. On the calmer end of things, Higgins Lake has pike, bass, and trout fishing.

You can also grab an inner tube and hang out on the lake, enjoying the fresh air and sunshine.

There’s something so magical about floating near the beach, looking at a sunset from in the water
(especially at South Higgins Lake State Park, where the beach is on the southern end of the lake
and you have a prime spot for watching the sun rise or set

Dock at higgins lake  michigan
Dock at Higgins Lake

Camping at Higgins Lake

North, south, or a little bit east, you’ll find a place for camping near Higgins Lake.

The North Higgins Lake State Park has a year-round campground found right next to the Higgins Lake Nursery and CCC Museum, where there was once an enormous seedling nursery. There are hiking trails, boat launches, picnic spots and oodles of fun.

On the other end of the water, the South Higgins Lake State Park is one of my favorite spots in the entire state. It has RV and tent camping, a boat launch, a camp store, a beach and some really fun swings. What makes this campground special, though, is the incredible combination of clear water, pine trees, and summer-camp feel.

Paddle Brave Campground and Canoe’s three-season campsite has RV, rustic, and cabin options. You
could even rent a camper for the night. There are stations for hot showers, clean water, and
. Locally sourced wood is available for purchase, and WiFi reaches throughout.

Paddle Brave has spots for volleyball and horseshoe as well as boasting a playground. Group sites can
fit multiple tents or three trailers. Paddleboarding trips, and canoe or kayak rentals are one of the
many fun-filled options at this campground.

Not to be confused with either of the state parks, the Higgins Lake Campground has an option for any type of camper. There are RV (including Big Rig) spots, tent sites, cabins and lodges (complete with mini kitchens) and the glamping yurts. These delightful structures have beds, a bathtub, a mini kitchen, and a fire ring, and sleep up to five. One of the yurts even has a patio and a French press!

Higgins Lake Michigan drone view
Higgons Lake

Do Some Hiking Near Higgins Lake, MI

North and South Higgins Lake State Park offer miles of woodsy trails for your hiking pleasure. Eight miles’ worth of trails wind their way through the northern-end woods, and the southern state park shares five and a half miles of paths with nearby Marl Lake.

Imagine walking through pine forest, hearing birdsong and squirrels, and catching glimpses of the water through the trees, and you’ve got a great idea of how lovely it is to hike near Higgins Lake.

20 top Michigan golf courses

Tee-Off: Golfing at Higgins Lake

Calling all golfers: Forest Dunes Golf Club is must-see. Like the olden days of the Old Course at St. Andrews, Forest Dunes has a course that can be played in two directions. On day one, players of
The Loop take on “Black”, heading clockwise.

Day two brings the counter-clockwise “Red” course. Both Black and Red are on the list of top 50 public golf courses in the country, and here’s also a top-25 course at Forest Dunes.

Bonus: Players who stay in the lodge are only 35 yards from Forest Dune’s first tee.

At Ye Olde Country Club, golfers have the pleasure of playing nine holes on a locally-owned course that was founded in 1925. Make sure to keep an eye out for some of the stunning sunsets that grace the sky above the course.

A four-star course, The Quest Golf Club near Houghton Lake was designed by PGA pro Ken Green and has 18 championship-level holes waiting for you. For a memorable round, play in the fall when the trees on each side of the green provide a stunning color show. For before and after the game, the clubhouse has all the works: the Pro Shop and a restaurant with seating for 100.

The practice complex features a driving range, two putting greens, and a sand bunker to get you
ready to go.

the beach at higgins lake mi
The beach at Higgins Lake MI

Explore Wildlife and Nature in Higgins Lake

More than just fishing, the Higgins Lake area is home to a diversity of wildlife. Every year, Roscommon hosts the Kirtland’s Warbler Festival at the beginning of June. This event celebrates the rare songbird, which was considered endangered by the federal government until 2019.

The Marguerite Gahagan Nature Preserve sits on the ten-acre former home of Michigan journalist Marguerite Gahagan, founder of The North Woods Call. 50 more acres were added after the endowment, meaning that there is a wide swath of wetlands and pine forest to explore.

There are six trails, one of which is known for deer sightings. You can visit Marguerite’s cabin to
learn all about the preserve.

Side Trip to Houghton Lake and Roscommon

Houghton Lake is only a 14-minute drive from Higgins Lake, and the biggest town on the lake is Roscommon.

Roscommon has dining, shopping and various festivals throughout the year. There’s the Arts and
Crafts Festival in July, Christmas in the Village, the Summer Concert Series, and more.

things to do in Michigan in winter

Visit Higgins Lake in the Winter

Summer doesn’t have a monopoly on the Higgins Lake fun; there are many options for the colder

Cross Country Ski Headquarters has 11+ miles of groomed trails, and skiers of all levels will find a trail to enjoy. Their grooming machine is the same as the ones used in the Olympics. They offer a condition-checker online, so that you can know how the trails are before you head out.

Trappers Cabin is open on weekends for snacking and warming up by the fire. Stone Turtle Cafe offers warm and delicious dishes for a post-trail hangout.

Speaking of festivals, Higgins Lake’s WinterFest offers a plethora of fun-filled activities for the whole family, from broom-hockey to face painting to chili-eating. Sledding, snowshoeing, and a fishing contest add to the good times.

ice cream at higgins lake

Try Some Ice Cream at Higgins Lake

For all of us who love a good ice cream cone while walking by the lake, Higgins Lake has an
abundance of options.
Check out the Polar Parlor Pizza & Ice Cream for soft-serve (including
Dole Whip) and other desserts, or Nibbles Ice Cream Shop, which is very close to South Higgins
Lake State Park. Little Cottage Ice Cream offers “dockside delivery” to the southern state park in
their distinctive blue car.

Tube the Cut River

Located in Roscommon MI, the Cut River is a short river that flows between Higgins Lake and Houghton Lake. This gentle river is the perfect spot for a river tubing trip. Start in south Higgins Lake, pass through Marl Lake and follow the river about 10 miles until you reach Houghton Lake.

the northern lights in northern michigan
See the Northern Lights at Higgins Lake

See the Northern Lights at Higgins Lake

Last but far, far from least is the chance to see the Northern Lights from Higgins Lake. Now that we’re near the peak of the 11-year solar cycle, when we’re most likely to see the aurora borealis, these stunning ribbons of color have been sighted over Higgins Lake. For the best chance of seeing them, look at the Space Weather Forecast. Clear nights around the time of the new moon offer the best conditions for Northern Lights viewing (and stargazing too).

More Things to Do in Northern Michigan

21 Awesome day trips in michigan
15 best food festivals in michigan
10 best Michigan girlfriends getaways
guide to northport michigan

About the Author-

Sydney Weber is a Feature Writer for and a graduate of Indiana University. She grew up in the Detroit and Lansing areas and spent many weekends going down side streets to see what’s what. Sydney loves finding little gems of places wherever she goes.