Six Autumn Experiences for a Fall Getaway in the Oscoda Area

This summer has been a memorable one, but we can’t wait for fall! Whether you want to enjoy the changing leaves or learn about unique Michigan history, the Oscoda area offers an unforgettable experience. Read more on just six of the many things to check out when visiting Oscoda, via The Oscoda Area Convention and Visitors Bureau.

The chance to experience Michigan’s beauty doesn’t end once fall brings about seasonal changes.

Photo Courtesy of The Oscoda Convention and Visitors Bureau

Photo Courtesy of The Oscoda Convention and Visitors Bureau

The lush greens of spring and summer turn to hues of orange, yellow and brown. Sandals, shorts and T-shirts are replaced by walking shoes, jackets and long pants to more comfortably explore Michigan’s natural beauty.

One perfect Michigan destination for day trippers and weekend explorers is the Oscoda area. Located on the east side of the state and on the south side of the Au Sable River in Iosco County, the Oscoda area features some of the state’s signature sites and experiences.

Here are some sites and experiences the Oscoda area offers for you next Pure Michigan adventure:

  • The 22-mile River Road National Scenic Byway is a great way to take in all the color Northeast Michigan has to offer. It stretches westward from Lake Huron into the Huron-Manistee National Forests. While visiting, don’t forget to drop by the 14-foot bronze Lumberman’s Monument statue and its accompanying visitor’s center. Travelers will also find numerous recreation opportunities, from motorized trails for off-road vehicles to quiet hiking trails.
  • The Iargo Springs Interpretive Site, also located on the River Road Scenic Byway, offers a breathtaking view of the Au Sable River Valley from its observation deck that is 300 feet above the river. The adventurous can also walk down a flight of 294 steps to experience where the underground springs come together and form cold water streams.
Photo Courtesy of The Oscoda Convention and Visitors Bureau

Photo Courtesy of The Oscoda Convention and Visitors Bureau

  • There are more than 3,500 acres of Michigan hiking trails in and around the Oscoda area. Visitors can head out on the Reid Lake Trail and see natural sites like a beaver pond, marshes and bogs, as well as an abundance of birds and wildlife. The Highbanks Trail is a 7-mile trail that gives hikers and backpackers a great view of the Au Sable River. The Highbanks Trail is also where you’ll see the MCRA Canoer’s Memorial Monument, which was erected in memory of canoe racers who have died.
Photo Courtesy of George Falkenhagen of Oscoda

Photo Courtesy of George Falkenhagen of Oscoda

  • The Au Sable and Oscoda Historical Society and Museum is where you’ll find Native American artifacts, as well as information about the region’s history concerning commercial fishing, ship wrecks and the railroad industry. The museum also has information about the Au Sable River, its dams and the notorious fire of 1911 that caused mass destruction to the community.
  • The Au Sable River Queen is the only paddle-wheel boat that runs from summer into fall, allowing passengers to take in the autumn colors from its decks. Passengers can enjoy a two-hour round trip on the Au Sable River, but should dress warm for those fall evenings and call in advance to reserve a spot.
  • Paul Bunyan Days will be held September 23-25 in downtown Oscoda. Come on out and bring the whole family for a day of fun, including carnival rides, craft vendors, a classic car show, a pie eating contest, kids activities and a hospitality tent with live music Friday night and Saturday night from 6 p.m. to 10 p.m. There is a $5.00 admission fee, but children 16 and under can enter for free. Gates open Friday from 4 p.m.-10 p.m., Saturday from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and Sunday from 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Call 989-739-0900 for more information.

For more information about the Oscoda area and the attractions you’ll find there, go to

What do you plan to do in the Oscoda area this fall?

Michigan’s Seven Best Paddling Trips

Guest blogger Jennifer Hamilton of the Awesome Mitten shares seven of the best destinations for paddling in Michigan. Read from her below and find more places to visit on

Summer may be rapidly coming to a close, but there is still plenty of time for a kayak trip in one of Michigan’s famous bodies of water. Whether you are seeking lakes or rivers, I have had the pleasure of polling fellow Awesome Mitten writers and compiling a list of Michigan’s favorite waterways.

1) Onekama to Arcadia via Lake Michigan – This is probably one of the most peaceful waterway treks in our Great Lakes State. Travelers have the opportunity to view Arcadia Bluffs from the water as they paddle by and scope out potential golfing opportunities. Since this area is part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, there are great dune adventures to have at almost every point along the way if you want to stop and picnic.

2) The Backwaters at Tippy Dam – The Backwaters at Tippy Dam are for the adventurous hoping to catch a glimpse of wildlife. Great fishing is available here if you are seeking walleye or small-mouthed bass. Experienced fishermen say that the panfish are abundant as well. Due to the wooded surroundings, there is a good chance that visitors will spot at least one eagle during their adventure. The peacefulness of these Backwaters is great for an escape from civilization and to truly get a Northern Michigan experience.

3) Canals of Detroit – While Detroit may not be the first place you think of to enjoy a water-filled experience; one particular Awesome Mitten-er offers a unique perspective on its waterways. Ms. Joanna Dueweke swears by touring Detroit’s canals via kayak or stand-up paddleboard. It’s a great way to enjoy the historical buildings and homes from a completely different point of view than the general public. Some of the best and most convenient places to launch are at Alter Road, St. Jean, or Belle Isle.

Turnip Rock, photographed by Lars Jensen

4) Turnip Rock Port Austin – If you have not had the pleasure of experiencing Turnip Rock via Lake Huron, I insist that you head there immediately. This enormous rock received its turnip connotation from thousands of years of erosion from storm waves. Now, it is an island with a few trees and little other vegetation. The land nearby is all privately owned, so the only way to view it is by waterway or trekking across a frozen Lake Huron in the winter. It is quite the comedic, awe-inspiring landmark, located at the tip of Michigan’s thumb.

5) The Platte River – The Platte River is a personal favorite and though it may not be a secret, it is worth a mention to remind you to traverse its calm, strangely warm waters. The Platte is a great place to take families as it is easy to navigate and always warm enough to tube if kayaks are not readily available. As part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, it is no surprise that the Platte River is absolutely stunning. Its ending pours out into Lake Michigan with a mini peninsula jutting out between the two, dividing the playful river and the wild waves.

6) Huron River near Ann Arbor – This is the only state-designated Country Scenic Natural River in Southeast Michigan. It is a huge river that covers five counties, with each portion being strikingly worthwhile. During various portions of the river, floaters can expect to come across an abundance of dams; there are 96 total, to be exact. Many of these dams were built for mill or hydroelectric power, making them fairly large. Due to the size of these dams, many new lakes have formed along the Huron River, making for exciting sites to see almost every portion of the way.

7) Two Hearted River, Eastern Upper Peninsula – Any river that has a beer named after it clearly needs to be traversed. It is a fairly short river that empties into Lake Superior, and it does a great job of capturing the Upper Peninsula’s natural beauty. At the mouth of the river, travelers can see a Michigan Historic Marker; formally known as the Two-Hearted Life Saving Station, which then became part of the United States Coast Guard in 1915. The Two-Hearted River is exceptionally famous for a great place to leisurely fish, probably while enjoying a nice Two-Hearted Ale from Bell’s Brewery.

Jennifer Hamilton is a feature writer for The Awesome Mitten. Jennifer lives in Traverse City where she works for Addiction Treatment Services and is earning her Master of Social Work and Master of Arts in Alcohol and Drug Addiction.

Do you have a favorite Michigan paddling trip that’s not on the list? Share with us below!

Five 5Ks You Can’t Miss in Michigan

Summer is beginning to wrap up in Michigan, but that doesn’t mean the fun runs have to end! From glow-in-the-dark dance parties to zombie chases, the cooler weather brings a variety of themed runs all over Michigan that runners of all ages can enjoy.

Read more on a few themed runs you can look forward to this autumn courtesy of guest blogger Katie Dillman.

1. Color Vibe 
Ann ArborAugust 28 (not quite fall, we know!)

Paint a rainbow across Ann Arbor at the Color Vibe 5K, featuring color throws and a dance party. Tickets for this all-ages event include entry, a race bib, and a color pack. You’ll also have the option of purchasing some heavily discounted Color Vibe Party Packs that include a t-shirt, a bandana, neon sunglasses, socks–even a tutu! This run is all about fun so walk, skip, and dance your way all around the course until you arrive at the explosive dance party at the finish line.

The Colorvibe run is a can't-miss in Ann Arbor

Photo Courtesy of Katie Dillman

2. Night Nation
DetroitSeptember 17

The world’s first running music festival, Detroit’s Night Nation is a 5k like you’ve never experienced before. This after hours fun run takes you through a course glowing with neon as you experience multiple DJs sets along the way. At the end of your journey, head to the main stage and celebrate with an over-the-top dance party with DJs and special celebrity guests. Registration includes a bib, Night Nation t-shirt, after-party admission, and of course, a glow necklace so you can light up the raceway. This is a can’t-miss event for any lover of electronic dance music, so grab your glow sticks and sign up before all the bibs are gone!

Night-Nation is a wild experience in Detroit

Photo Courtesy of Katie Dillman

3. The Zombie Dash 
Grand RapidsOctober 22

Run for your life at the Grand Rapids-exclusive Zombie Dash. In this role-playing 5K, you will join a small band of survivors on a mission to investigate the quarantined urban center after sundown. When you arrive, you’ll be given three “life strips” to tuck into your clothes. As you encounter zombies, they will attempt to snatch these life strips from you, deducting one minute from your chip-counted finish time. Losing them all doesn’t disqualify you, and you may opt to run without the strips if you’d rather not be chased by zombies. Remember, this is all for fun! Rather not run but still want to participate? Put on your best undead garb and sign up to be a zombie! The top three best dressed will win a prize after the race.

The Zombie Dash lets you live a syfy fantasy while running

Photo Courtesy of Katie Dillman

4. The Great Beerd Run
Acme, November 12

Love beer and beards? Head to Acme’s Great Beerd Run on November 12th and celebrate them both! Registration includes entrance, a race medal that doubles as a bottle opener, beer samples, a full pint at the after party, and your very own bearded beanie to keep you warm in the Michigan air. Prizes will be awarded after the scenic race for the best natural beard as well as the best “assisted” beard at 11 AM. As this is a fun run, the race isn’t timed, but the fastest male and female runners will still be awarded prizes.

Beards? Beer? Fun? Check!

Photo Courtesy of Katie Dillman

5. Dashing Through the Snow 
FowlervilleDecember 3

Bundle up for the 10th annual Dashing Through the Snow 5K in Fowlerville! This professionally timed run (or walk, if you prefer) is on a perfectly flat course and features a post-race Christmas parade as well as a festive hot air balloon with pyrotechnics to cheer racers on. Registration covers entry to the event, and if you sign up before November 18th, you’ll also receive a cozy winter hat embroidered with the race’s logo. After your chilly journey and the holiday celebration that follows, warm up with a hearty chicken dinner at the registration site.

Katie1What is your favorite race to run or walk in Pure Michigan? Share with us by commenting below!

Katie Dillman is a Communications Coordinator with Premier Glow, an online retailer of glow products. She enjoys working with businesses through copywriting to share ideas that connect with their audience.