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Oscoda Michigan Travel Guide

oscoda michigan beach

Discover Oscoda, MI

We’re going to get right down to it: Oscoda, MI just might be our favorite spot along the entire Michigan coast.

It’s not just because we’ve spent some of our happiest times on these Lake Huron shores; splashing and swimming in the crystal clear water; paddling and sailing on water so blue it has to be seen to be believed; and combing the beach for Petoskey stones and other gems that wash up onto the sandy shore.

It’s because the unassuming Lake Huron shoreline – from Tawas north to Cheboygan – boasts some most naturally pretty pure Michigan vacation land around. You’ll find just about everything you need for a relaxing Michigan good time here in the Oscoda area (we’re including Harrisville and Greenbush, too).

Oscoda is a town literally surrounded by water: Lake Huron to east; the AuSable River and its large reservoirs to the west and Van Etten Lake – a fisherman’s paradise – to the north. The downtown in the area features ice cream shops, restaurants and bars and small stores, as well as a lovely beachfront park with over 1,000 feet of soft sand coastline.

Read on to discover why we love this area so much, and start planning your trip now.

Oscoda beach park

About Oscoda, MI

Long stretches of soft, sandy beaches and shallow, crystal clear azure-striped waters are the hallmarks of this area.

Combine the overall relaxed atmosphere and quietly beautiful Lake Huron at its most stunning, and you’ve found a perfect location for your Michigan beach vacation.

This Lake Huron beachtown in Iosco County offers more than just beautiful pure Michigan coastline. Oscoda sits at the mouth of the AuSable River, which meanders almost 140 miles through the Huron National Forest in Oscoda county before reaching Lake Huron.

The forest, part of the Huron Manistee National Forest is a playground for nature lovers, featuring trails and dunes for hiking; scenic overlooks and dams that form lake-like ponds and even natural springs. All of this is located in Oscoda Township, and a drive along River Road, a national scenic byway unveils opportunities for numerous outdoor recreational activities.

Once the home of Wurtsmith Air Force Base, this town pays homage to its past with the Wurtsmith Air Museum, dedicated to preserving the history of Wurtsmith Air Force Base and aviation in the area alive. It’s a fun spot to explore for all ages.

best things to do in oscoda mi

Oscoda, MI is Known For…

The beaches in Oscoda, as well as nearby Greenbush and Harrisville, are truly Michigan’s best-kept secret. This area is Great Lakes beach heaven at its best: families from across the country and beyond flock to these lovely, laid-back beaches.

Some of the best ADA and Wheelchair access to the Lake Huron shoreline in northern Michigan are located at the Oscoda Beach Park in downtown Oscoda. This beautiful park has wooden ramps, a wide boardwalk, a pathway to the water’s edge and a paved pier from which to fish or observe Lake Huron.

The Au Sable River Canoe Marathon, a 120-mile canoe race that begins in Grayling, MI and ends near the shores of Lake Huron in downtown Oscoda. This annual July event attracts both participants and spectators form around the globe.

Huron National Forest, almost one million acres of public land offering outdoor recreational opportunities such as hunting, hiking, camping, nature-viewing, bicycling, snowmobiling, swimming, cross-country skiing, boating and fishing.

Lumbermans Monument in the Huron-Manistee National Forest, is 14-foot tall bronze stature playing tribute to the area’s rich logging history. Explore the scenic area via hiking trail,a map of which you can access here or pick up at the visitors bureau. Follow the River Road Scenic Byway to get here.

Harrisville and Greenbush

If you love swimming and splashing along the shoreline in water so clear you can see every sandy ripple on the bottom, this is your spot.

Just north of Oscoda, you’ll find Harrisville and Greenbush Township, both home to some of the best Michigan freshwater coastline on Lake Huron.

Visit Harrisville, MI

The harbor town of Harrisville is a quaint little village that draws visitors with its natural charm and beauty. It’s small, but has everything you need: a fantastic coffee shop, a sandwich shop and ice cream store…all within walking distance of the harbor. Harrisville State Park, with a PET-FRIENDLY shoreline, is one of Michigan’s most popular state parks.

Visit Greenbush, MI

Greenbush, MI, in Alcona County is a true vacation-land paradise. Greenbush features some of the best swimming in the Great Lakes. Wide, sparkling sand beaches that meet shallow, warm and crystal clear waters have made Greenbush vacation tradition for “those-in-the-know” for years. While much of the shoreline is private, there are some beach access points and fortunately for travelers, many moderately priced resort and rentals are abundant.

Oscoda Weather

Oscoda’s weather throughout the warm summer months, May through mid- September, is the stuff dreams are made of. Delightfully warm summer temperatures can range from 70 F to 90 F, warming the shallow bay waters to a perfectly swim-able temperature.

Michigan’s Sunrise Side

Lake Huron is known as the “Sunrise Side” of Michigan because the coast faces east toward the morning sun. There is nothing quite as spectacular as rising just before dawn to watch as the glowing sun rises up and out of the water. The wide, open beaches along Oscoda, Greenbush and Harrisville offer perfect viewing spots for visitors to view this true natural wonder.

Best Beaches in the Oscoda, MI Area

Au Sable Shoreline Park

Beach, Swimming, Restrooms, Playground, Picnic Area, Grills, Gazebo

Greenbush Public Access Beach

Beach, Swimming

Harrisville State Park

Beach, ADA-Acccessible, Swimming, Dog-Friendly, Picnic Area, Softball Diamond, Horseshoe Pits, Volleyball Court, Basketball Court, Playground

Oscoda Park Beach

Beach, ADA-Accessible, Swimming, Restrooms, Splash Pad, Playground, Picnic Area, Skateboard Park, Basketball Court, Band shell, Pavilion, Grills, Benches, Bathhouse

Three Mile Beach Park

Beach, Swimming, Restrooms, Picnic Tables, Grills

ADA and Wheelchair Accessible Beaches in Oscoda and Harrisville

Oscoda Beach Park
This beautiful park, set alongside the Lake Huron shore offers universal access to more than 1,000 feet of sugar-sand beachfront. A wide, wooden ramp leads from the parking lot to an even wider boardwalk that extends across the beach. A wheelchair-friendly beach mat spans the beach and leads right to the water’s edge. At the north end of the park, a fishing pier and observation deck – complete with benches – are also universally accessible.

Harrisville State Park
Access to Lake Huron is provided though an accessible walkway to the water’s edge.

Dog-friendly Beaches in Oscoda Area

Harrisville State Park
On-leash dogs are allowed on trails and in a small section of the beach.

Oscoda Beach Park
Leashed dogs are allowed at this beautiful park.

Best Lake Huron Beachtowns

Visitors to Oscoda, Greenbush and Harrisville, MI are in for a special treat, especially those traveling by vehicle. As you head north of town along the main highway, US 23, you’ll be captivated by the panoramic views of Lake Huron. Both Oscoda and Harrisville have done a fabulous job of keeping shoreline open and accessible for visitors.

Prime beach space is wide open and accessible to the public at Three Mile Beach Park, offering miles of sugar sand to swim and play to your heart’s content. Grills, picnic tables and restrooms add to to comforts.

Downtown Oscoda, MI

Oscoda, MI was made for family fun. Perfectly located along the shores of Lake Huron, and bisected by the Au Sable River, opportunities for water sports such as swimming, boating, paddling, tubing, and more are abundant.

The downtown shopping area offers fun for all ages, too: ice cream shops, a fabulous bakery/cafe, restaurants and more are all in walking distance to the beachfront. Beautifully landscaped with flower baskets that simply overflow with brightly-colored petunias, strolling the downtown Oscoda streets is a great way to pass the day. Be sure and stop in these 3 fun little spots when you visit Oscoda, MI:

Enchanted Blooms offers both fresh-cut and garden flowers as well as other gifts in their lovely shops just steps from the beach. take a momemt to meander through a garden path and check out their very-healthy perennial collection…someone has a very green thumb!

Parkside Dairy serves hand-dipped and soft-serve ice cream, right next to a charming little park with benches for

Sunrise Kava Cafe has some of the best coffee in the area, as well as freshly-baked cookies, brownies and other sweet treats. Sandwiches, wraps and breakfast burritos are also highlights of this tasty spot.

Downtown Harrisville, MI

Catch a glimpse of an old-fashioned town and include these three Harrisville, MI and stop in these cute spots:

Alcona Coffee Company Offering the “Finest Coffee in the North,” the Alcona Coffee Company is located on Main Street. The coffee is painstakingly roasted in small batches and includes both house blends to the hardest-to-find varietals.

Dockside Cafe This charming Cafe is located down beautiful Main St in Harrisville, serving breakfast and lunch all day. Great choices from Sausage Burritos, Biscuits and Gravy to Turkey Paninis and Home Made soups.

Dragonfly Art Gallery All works in the Gallery – currently including oils, acrylics, pastels, watercolors, pen and ink, mixed media, photography, pottery, and jewelry – are created by local artists, several of whom have received regional and national recognition for their art.

Where to Stay in Oscoda, Greenbush and Harrsville, MI

The family-friendly Lake Huron shores are lined with independently-owned and operated rental cabins at a wide variety of price points.

Click here to visit the Oscoda Area Convention and Visitors Bureau for a list of places to stay in Oscoda

Privately-owned beachfront cabins available for rent can be found at:

  • Airbnb
  • Homeaway
  • VRBO
sturgeon point lighthouse

Things to Do in the Oscoda Area

Sturgeon Point Lighthouse
Almost 150 years old, the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse still sends out it’s light thanks to a custom-made fresnel lens all the way from France, still maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. The light keeper’s house is now a maritime museum, open to the public from Memorial Day to mid-September.

The lighthouse tower is open to the public, and you can stroll the grounds and visit the Bailey School, a one-room schoolhouse from the nearby town of Mikado that dates back to 1907. Take some time, too, to walk out along the long spit of sand and rock that is Sturgeon Point. The views of the Lake Huron shoreline from this vantage are truly splendid.

Au Sable River Canoe Marathon
It’s truly one of the greatest canoe races on earth: 120 miles of paddle and portage over rivers and dams, both uphill and down.

The AuSable River Canoe Marathon, a July highlight for visitors along the shores of Lake Huron, starts inland in Grayling, MI and ends up more than 14 hours later along the shores of Lake Huron. Billed as the “world’s toughest spectator sport,” more than 50,000 fans line the shore of the AuSable river banks to cheer these paddling teams on.

Paddler’s face more than eight hours of darkness as they travel along the river through the night; they are only allowed a small light on the front of their canoe. When the race teams finally pull onto land in Oscoda, they celebration is in full -gear.

With variety of other events surrounding the Marathon including youth canoe races, a 10K run, concert, antique car show, parade, concessions and an arts & crafts show, it truly is a don’t-miss event. Even if canoeing isn’t your thing, it’s hard not to have good time and join in the fun – cheering races on to the finish.