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Port Huron Michigan Travel Guide: Best Things to Do Along Michigan’s Thumb Coast

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Blue Water Bridge

Discover Port Huron Michigan: Best Things to Do along the Blue Thumb Coast

The small city of Port Huron Michigan sits on the shore at the meeting point between Lake Huron and the St. Clair River.

This location and the maritime history associated with it has granted Port Huron the title of the “Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes.” Much of the culture and recreation in Port Huron revolves around the water, including a historically significant lighthouse, plenty of ship-watching, boat races, and more.

Moving away from the water, visitors are welcome to explore a broad collection of museums, downtown riverfront dining, shopping, and more. 

Port Huron is a perfect vacation getaway destination throughout the year, with pretty beaches and aqua water for swimming, wading, kayaking, and paddleboarding.  You can spend some time exploring the downtown historic district on the Blue Water Trolley, tour the Fort Gratiot Light, Michigan’s oldest lighthouse or camp at Lakeport State Park.

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Fort Gratiot Lighthouse

Best Things to Do in Port Huron Michigan

Fort Gratiot Lighthouse 
2802 Omar St, Port Huron, MI 48060

Fort Gratiot Lighthouse is Michigan’s oldest lighthouse with a history dating as far back as the 1820s and today it still operates, guiding sailors between Lake Huron and the St. Clair River.

Book a tour to climb the 94 iron stairs to the top of the lighthouse. From 82 feet up, you’ll see one of most amazing vantage points over the area, including views of Port Huron Michigan, Point Edward Ontario, the Blue Water Bridge, and the mouth of the St. Clair River.

Lighthouse Park
2900 Conger St, Port Huron, MI 48060

Historic Lighthouse Park also has a wide, sandy beach and a really cool view of the Blue Water Bridge. Located on the ground of the parks is the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. You’ll find a playground and picnic tables, as well as grills and a clean restrooms.

blue water bridge in port huron michigan

Blue Water Bridge
1410 Elmwood (entrance on 10th Ave.), Port Huron, MI 48060

Like the Ambassador Bridge in Detroit, the Blue Water Bridge in Port Huron serves as a vital link between the US and Canada, providing access for international travel to an average of 14,000 vehicles per day.

Since its construction in 1936, visitors have admired and taken advantage of how the Blue Water Bridge conveniently linked I-94 and I-69 with Canadian highway 402. This important and heavily-trafficked gateway to our northern neighbor is a must-see for anyone visiting Port Huron. 

Blue Water River Walk

For nearly one mile, the Blue Water River Walk , located in downtown Port Huron, stretches along the St. Clair River, near the Blue Water Bridge and the historic downtown area.

Members of the public are welcome to enjoy the river walk and all of its features all year round. See the views from the observation dock or cast your line at the fishing pier. Students and teachers alike love the outdoor classroom space and the public art that lines the Blue Water River Walk is a community favorite. 

Kayak at Bakers Field Park 

This sprawling new park along the Black River in Port Huron is a great place to spend the day fishing, hiking, kayaking, swimming, or simply taking in this beautiful natural area.  

You’ll find a boat launch, as well as an ADA kayak/canoe launch to the Black River. The accessible kayak launch is a great addition, and not to be missed. A walking path, portable toilets, and a fishing pier are available at this Port Huron Township park, too. 

port huron michigan
Photo by Huron Lady Cruises

Huron Lady Cruises
102 Huron Avenue, Port Huron, MI 48060

Every day, Huron Lady Cruises offers narrated sightseeing tours aboard a U.S. Coast Guard-Inspected vessel.

These cruises are perfect for couples and families alike, but for special occasions, the Huron Lady also offers dinner cruises and private catered parties.

The full bar on board offers a selection of beer, wine, and liquor as well as soda, coffee, and snacks for you to enjoy as you see the sights from the open-air upper deck.

Port huron Prowlers
Photo from the Port Huron Prowlers

McMorran Sports & Entertainment Center
701 McMorran Blvd, Port Huron, MI 48060

The McMorran Sports and Entertainment Center is downtown Port Huron’s premier venue for music, arts, sports, and community entertainment.

Check the schedule to find out when your favorite musicians are performing to catch a concert or follow the Port Huron Prowlers to see some good quality FPHL hockey games.

Vinomondo Winery
4505 Lakeshore Rd, Fort Gratiot Twp, MI 48059

Vinomondo Winery of Fort Gratiot is the oldest and most experienced winery in the area, spearheading the wine tasting trend in 2004. Today, Vinomondo Winery is a top destination for lovers of Michigan wines on the Lake Huron coast.

Step into one of their two tasting rooms to try a selection of whites or reds and maybe even order a pizza, ot dip, or other kitchen specialty. Be sure to make the gift shop a stop on your way out to take your favorite wine home in a bottle. 

Birchwood Mall
4350 24th Ave, Fort Gratiot Twp, MI 48059

Everyone loves a day at the mall, spending time shopping and relaxing, and Birchwood Mall features plenty of stores to explore.

This enclosed mall is just outside Port Huron and features over 100 stores to explore and shop in, including Dunham’s, JCPenney, and Target as anchors. Stop for lunch at the food court to recharge before continuing to shop until you drop. 

blue water trolley - port huron michigan

Ride the Blue Water Trolley

 This hour-long trolly ride is operated by the Blue Water Area Transit and local area merchants. The trolley tours the beautiful Blue Water Area, where two countries, U.S.A. and Canada, come together across the St. Clair River.

You’ll see  a panoramic glimpse of the Blue Water Bridges, the Thomas Edison Statue and Depot among other unique spots. 

Grand Trunk Marketplace
1201 4th St, Port Huron, MI 48060

Museums to Visit in Port Huron Michigan

The Port Huron Museum
1115 6th St, Port Huron, MI 48060

The Port Huron Museum is actually a collection of museums, including the Carnegie Center, Huron Lightship Museum, Thomas Edison Depot Museum, and the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse.

Each of these locations is filled with plenty of information and offers something for everyone. Learn about local legend Thomas Edison, see how a real-life functioning lightship works, visit Michigan’s oldest lighthouse, and more.

Great Lakes Maritime Center
51 Court St, Port Huron, MI 48060

Port Huron is known as the Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes, so it just makes sense that the Great Lakes Maritime Center (GLMC) is located here.

It sits at the junction of the Black River and St. Clair River, making it a great spot to view the ships cruising down the river, from massive ocean freighters to small sailboats. Admire maritime artifacts and learn about the maritime history of the Great Lakes through videos, displays, and speaker programs.

You can even watch a live underwater camera to see below the surface of the St. Clair River. 

Knowlton’s Ice Museum of North America
317 Grand River Ave #3814, Port Huron, MI 48060

Before the convenience of home freezers and refrigeration, ice harvesting was among the largest industries in the United States. Knowlton’s Ice Museum of North America aims to preserve artifacts from this era and industry.

Over 3,000 items used in the cutting, harvesting, storing, selling, and use of naturally gathered ice are on display, including ice boxes, harvesting tools, and an ice wagon used to deliver ice from door to door. Dive into history and learn about one of the biggest industries of a bygone era.

Where to Stay in Port Huron Michigan 

DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Port Huron
800 Harker St, Port Huron, MI 48060

I think it’s worth visiting Port Huron just to stay in this beautiful hotel with amazing views of the Blue Water Bridge. The Double Tree by Hilton Port Huron is just off the banks of the Saint Clair River and within walking distance of the Blue Water Convention Center.

It’s a very unique space: in addition to the spacious rooms, you’ll find a really good on-site restaurant and lounge (Freighters), a beautifully manicured garden and a swimming pool.

Hampton Inn Port Huron
1655 Yeager Street, Port Huron, MI 48060

One reason I like stayng at the Hampton Inn Port Huron is that it is consistently clean and has the most comfortable pillows! Located just off I-94, you’ll find spacious rooms, an indoor swimming pool and a really good hot breakfast each morning.

You’ll find a well-equipped workout room, as well as a small, comfortable patio area, too.

Best Western Port Huron Blue Water Bridge
2282 Water Street, Port Huron, MI 48060

Located along the Black River in Port Huron, the Best Western Port Huron/Hospitality Inn is just two miles from Lakeside Beach. The best news? If it’s too cold to swim at the beach, they offer an indoor pool. These clean and comfy rooms with a microwave, refrigerator, and desk, too.

You’ll also find a fitness center, garden, and 24-hour front desk. A complimentary full breakfast is offered each morning. Featured items include eggs, pastries, and fresh fruit.

Discover Michigan’s Blue Thumb Coast 

The eastern coast of Michigan along the St. Clair River and Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay, is known as Michigan’s Thumb Coast.

The area begins in the charming small town of Marine City, travels north through even more quaint small towns including  St. Clair and Marysville before reaching Port Huron. At Port Huron, the St. Clair River opens up into Lake Huron and you can continue north through Lexington, Port Sanilac, Harbor Beach, Port Hope, Port Austin, and Caseville. 

Is Port Huron Michigan Worth Visiting?

Port Huron Michigan, located on Michigan’s Thumb Coast at the very point where the Saint Clair River meets Lake Huron, is definitely worth a visit. In addition to the beautiful views on the Blue Water Bridge, Michigan’s heavily-traveled international bridge to Canada, you’ll find a lot to do here. Lighthouse Park is located on a wide expanse of Lake Huron shoreline, perfect for swimming and hunting for Michigan Petoskey Stones. Historic Fort Gratiot Light, Michigan’s oldest ighthouse, is located here, too, and open for tours.

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About the Author-
Bella DiMascio is a Content Editor for mymichiganbeach.com. She grew up in the Detroit suburb of Westland and later attended Western Michigan University in Kalamazoo where she majored in Communication Studies and minored in English: Writing. Creative writing has been a hobby and interest of Bella’s since she was in elementary school and she is thrilled to be using her talents to highlight the Great Lakes State. Outside of writing, Bella enjoys getting outside with her two Australian Shepherds, playing video games, and binging shows on Netflix.