Try to Pronounce the Names of 9 More Tongue-Twisting Michigan Destinations

Last year, we challenged our fans to pronounce the names of 12 cities within the state that could be considered Michigan tongue-twisters. Since our fans didn’t break a sweat, we’re taking the gloves (or mittens) off and offering another challenge.

Can you correctly pronounce the names of these nine unique cities and towns in Michigan? Test your skills below!

Ocqueoc River Falls - Photo by Patti Potts

Ocqueoc Falls – Photo by Patti Potts

1. Ocqueoc Township
Ocqueoc is home to the largest waterfall in the Lower Peninsula. In addition to the falls, there is access to the Ocqueoc Falls Bicentennial Pathway, which includes loop lengths from six miles to three miles where you’re free to hike, cross country ski or bike. “Ah-key-ock” is the perfect place to get lost and explore the beautiful nature of Pure Michigan.

2. Ontonagon
Ontonagon County on the south shore of Lake Superior includes the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park , created in 1945. Famous locations in the park include the Lake of the Clouds, one of the most scenic spots in all of Michigan and Summit Peak Observation Tower, one of the highest points in found in the state. For history buffs, there are self-guided trails to old mining sites on the Union Mine Scenic Trail, and the Nonesuch Mine location. A trip to “On-ten-ogg-en” should be on every Michiganders bucket list!

3. Quanicassee
For fishing enthusiasts, a trip to “Qua-kna-ca-see” might be a Michigan angler’s paradise. You might catch walleye, perch or bass or even have northern pike, sunfish or catfish tugging at your line. Camping and boating options are available all along Saginaw Bay, from Bay City west of Quanicassee to Unionville heading east from the town. Check out charters and fishing guides also operate on these waters!

Michigan Iron Industry Museum

Michigan Iron Industry Museum

4. Negaunee
The discovery of iron ore by an exploratory mining party near the shore of Teal Lake in 1844 launched the birth of of “Ne-gaw-nee”. Native Americans who had long resided in and traversed the area led the explorers to the massive outcropping of ore. Their heritage lives on in the name of Negaunee, which means “pioneer” in Chippewa. Consider visiting the Michigan Iron Industry Museum and explore the first iron forge in the Lake Superior Region.

5. Sebewaing
“See-ba-wing” is a perfect summer destination as it annually hosts the Michigan Sugar Festival in June. The village features a marina, County Park, museums, shops, restaurants and bed and breakfast accommodations, among much more. Sebewaing is a great place for a weekend excursion and is known for great walleye fishing, too!

6. Onekama
In 1845, Adam Stronach built a lumber mill on the channel between Lake Michigan and Portage Lake. “Oh-neck-a-mah” (the Native American name for Portage) was settled and soon had two major railroads; the Manistee and the Northwestern. Today, the village consists of many prospering businesses including restaurants, lodging facilities, retail stores and a marina. The Historic Portage Point Inn along with other Victorian style cottages offer a glimpse back in time when tourism first started and this great resort town was developed.

Naubinway, MI - Photo by Edward Shotwell

Naubinway, MI – Photo by Edward Shotwell

7. Naubinway
Here’s an easy one. Naubinway, or “naw-bin-way”, is the northernmost community on Lake Michigan’s shoreline and the largest commercial fishing port on the Great Lakes in the Upper Peninsula.  A unique treat for visitors is the chance to purchase fish caught locally, buying the fish directly off the dock. The Native American name Naubinway means Places of Echoes. Pack up the van and spend a weekend at Hog Island Point State Forest!

8. Onondaga Township
The small town of “on-on-dah-gah” is located near Lansing in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. The township and community were named after the Iroquois nation of Onondaga, historically based in New York. A post office was first established at the place about 1844, with Perez Howland as the first postmaster. In 1847 Perez Howland built a grocery, where the post office was operated out of. Today, Onondaga offers man home-town restaurants and taverns for visitors to enjoy.  If you’re looking for something sweet, check out Balzer Blueberries of Onondaga, a U-Pick Pure Michigan treat!

Charlevoix - Photo by Alan Leese

Charlevoix – Photo by Alan Leese

9. Clio
Clee-oh? Cly-oh?  Clio, pronounced “Cli-oh”, is located near the northern border of Genesee County. The area functions as an adjunct community to the greater Flint area and has a significant amount of manufacturing and small businesses. If you’re looking for a place to unwind, visit Buell Lake County Park and drop in a line!



How many of these could you name without missing a beat? Let us know below! For more information on unique Michigan cities and attractions across the state, visit

33 thoughts on “Try to Pronounce the Names of 9 More Tongue-Twisting Michigan Destinations

  1. I’ve been all over this state and never heard of #3. Oh, and here’s another one…Topinabee…the accent isn’t where you think.

  2. Charlotte would have been a good one. In North Carolina the accent is on the first syllable, in Michigan it is on the last.

  3. Throw a couple on the “you think you know how to say it, but Michigan pronunciation” pile; Milan and Saline.

  4. The ironic thing is, it IS named after the Greek muse, who is Clee-o, at least per the Wikipedia page. I haven’t actually asked anyone who’s a native…not that they’d necessarily know.

  5. It’s pronounced Cly-oh so I guess Ohio would be Oh-hi-oh … Ah I see you were being facetious – good one!

  6. I’m from Oklahoma so I totally understand…Muskogee (mus-co-gi), Miami (mi-am-ma), Vinita, Tuskogee (Tus-co-gi), Okmulgee (ok-Mo-gi), Tecumseh (te-com-see), Quachita (Watch-a ta), etc.

  7. Sis-shwah? I remember learning how to pronounce it when we visited but not sure anymore. Been too long.

  8. I’m with others, I think a few of these are wrong:

    re: comment preceding, On-on-day-gah, I’ve never heard that, used to know some people there – but anything’s possible! the rest of us do say On-on-dah-gah.

  9. While your pronunciation for #8 is one option, that is not how those who live there pronounce it.
    They say “on-on-day-gah”.

  10. The place I can never pronounce is Seul Choix Point. Numbers 1 and 3 on the list were places I have never heard pronounced so I did not have a clue.

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