5 Ways to Add Water To Your Blue Water Area Vacation

There’s something about water and vacation that just goes together.  Maybe it’s the sense of renewal that water brings to the human soul, or maybe it’s that water gives us a free pass to get silly, to splash, jump and throw rocks.  Whatever the reason, the Blue Water Area welcomes you to the eastern shores of Michigan where water and great vaca to-dos go hand-in-hand.  Guest blogger, Danielle Kreger of the Blue Water Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, shares these five ways (amongst the many) to add water to your vacation in the Blue!    

1. Get Wet! 

Get your feet wet at any of the Blue’s sandy beaches.  The immensity of Lake Huron can be embraced whole-heartedly when there’s blue water as far as the eye can see and the waves rush in to lap at your ankles.  Beaches bring you right to the water’s edge and exist in most of the Blue’s waterfront towns.  Some beaches are tucked in along quiet coves and offer a lighter crowd, while others are busy with picnickers and activity.  For families looking for fun amenities, Lakeside Beach, in Port Huron has a newly installed splashpad.  The water sprinklers pay tribute to the area with water showering from a lighthouse, a Blue Water Bridge replica and other water infused structures.  Port Austin’s beaches offer a one-of-a-kind view because of their position at the tip of Michigan’s mitten thumb.  Being in this particular location, the sun rises in the east over Lake Huron and sets in the west over Lake Huron.  So, no matter if you’re enjoying the beach at daybreak or nightfall, you’ll still catch a fabulous show of glowing sunbeams at the horizon.

2. Dock and Dine 

One of the best parts of vacation is scouting new places to eat!  The Blue Water Area doesn’t make you travel too far from the water.  In fact, many waterfront locales have boat docks so boaters can pull right up and tie off.  Brown’s Bar of Harsens Island, has enough slips for a couple dozen boats and always welcomes a good time.  Tucked on the Middle Channel of Harsens Island, just north of Lake St. Clair, it has been a favored place amongst boaters (and ferry-goers) since 1946.  Patrons praise their come-as-you-are attitude and their signature Madison burger.  Other “dock and dine” locations in the Blue include downtown St. Clair for a quick walk to several bars and restaurants like Pepper Joe’s, the Voyageur or Murphy’s Inn, also the River Crab just north of St. Clair, Junction Buoy in Marysville, Thumbcoast Brewing Company, The H.A.C. and Zebra Lounge in Port Huron, The Windjammer in Lexington and Uri’s Landing in Port Sanilac.

Boats gather at Browns Bar on Harsens Island

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Water Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

3. Sightseeing from the Water 

Step aboard the Huron Lady II for a sightseeing tour and cruise past some of Port Huron’s landmarks and special attractions.  This narrated, two-level cruise boat takes passengers along the St. Clair River, beneath the Blue Water Bridges and into Lake Huron.  Along the way it will pass the Huron Lightship, Blue Water Convention Center, Thomas Edison Depot Museum, Fort Gratiot Lighthouse and, if timing is right, alongside a churning Great Lakes Freighter.  Stand at the bow and feel the rush of the crisp lake breeze!  The upper level of the boat is open to the fresh air while the lower deck is enclosed with spacious windows.  The Captain and friendly staff are ready to show you the sites from a new perspective.

A Great Lakes freighter passes by on Lake Huron

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Water Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

4. Paddle Around 

Paddle the watery roads that nature has created.  Traveling by way of kayak, paddle board or canoe is a great way to experience the landscape and terrific water trails that weave through the Blue Water communities.  Discover a variety of routes ranging from tranquil inland rivers, and urban waterways to the dynamic challenge of the St. Clair River or the expanse of Lake Huron.  Missy Campau, resident paddler and owner of Missy’s Kayak Connection in Port Huron says, “Paddling, in and of itself, is a relatively easy task.  Anyone can paddle.”  She strongly suggests first-timers and novice paddlers head out with someone experienced and be familiar with the waterway and the challenges it can present.  She, along with PoHo Paddle Company rent paddle boards on weekends at Lakeside Beach in Port Huron so beginners can test-run in the shallow water just beyond shore.  Another waterway option is the Tip of the Thumb Heritage Water Trail that extends along the Lake Huron shoreline from Lexington to Port Austin.  There are many access points along the trail and paddlers will view earthy rock formations, caves and stacks.   For a fun and invigorating activity, add paddling to your vacation bucket list.

5. Walk Leisurely 

To stroll is to walk leisurely.  The Blue’s riverwalks invite you to stroll, ramble and wander along their paths to enjoy gorgeous waterfront views and shoreline activity.  Palmer Park in St. Clair boasts the longest freshwater wooden boardwalk in the world.  It’s a leisurely walk along the St. Clair River and its wide expanse of grass and shade trees provide excellent picnic and lounging space. Riverwalks also stretch along Marine City and Algonac waterfronts where the Great Lakes freighters pass so close they seem touchable.  Great efforts have been put in place to restore shorelines along riverwalk areas into healthy habitats for native plants and animals.  Marysville’s once eroding riverfront now has cobble and plants to restore aquatic habitats.  The Blue Water Riverwalk in Port Huron was formerly an industrial site and now thrives with a natural shoreline.  It features a former ferry dock that is now a lookout deck and many art sculptures depicting the area’s waterfront heritage.  Whether you stroll, sit or explore, be sure to enjoy!

It's easy to relax along the shores of Marine City

Photo Courtesy of the Blue Water Area Convention and Visitors Bureau

Visit the Blue Water Area’s eastern shores of Michigan where splashing, jumping and lounging are encouraged!  For more details and info about the Blue, visit the website and Facebook page.

About the author:  Danielle Kreger lives and works in the Blue Water Area.  Though it is her home, she still sees the Blue as her getaway spot, loving the true-blue water and quaint hometown ambiance of each shoreline community.  She gets her kicks photographing her family as they make their own ventures every day.

Five Gorgeous Instagram Photos from Our Fans in May 2016

It’s almost summertime and we’re looking forward to more Tiger’s games, boating, golf and many more quintessential Michigan experiences. All of these outdoor activities lead to gorgeous photos of our fantastic state, which our Pure Michigan Instagram community perfectly captured last month. From the beautiful skyline of Detroit, the Comeback City, to Turnip Rock in Port Austin, take a look at a few favorites shared with us in May.

A beautiful shot of a beautiful city.  Make sure you get out and explore Detroit this summer.

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @rickthird

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @rickthird

A kayak trip to Turnip Rock in Port Austin is a must!

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @forehand67

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @forehand67

Celebrate the 50th year of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore this summer! Can’t go wrong with these views.

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @smilesbeek

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @smilesbeek

Woah, these colorful skies never get old. This shot was taken near Lake Orion.

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @iamandrewchristian

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @iamandrewchristian

A stairway to adventure on Mackinac Island.

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @micaelraephotography

Photo Courtesy of Instagrammer @micaelraephotography

If you’re on Instagram, follow us @PureMichigan! If you’d like us to share your photos from across the state, tag them with #PureMichigan to give us permission to “re-gram.”

Tell us which image is your favorite in the comments!

Dive into Pure Michigan Shipwrecks at These 5 Preserves

Since Michigan is surrounded by large bodies of water, it is one of the best places to explore shipwrecks. Experience history firsthand by visiting one of the sites this summer! Even if you aren’t a diver, there are options for charter tours with glass bottoms perfect for making memories while staying dry! To get you started, here are five water preserves that offer many shipwreck dives and tours. 

Thunder Bay Shipwreck Dive

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Located on Lake Huron, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary holds nearly 200 historic shipwrecks in and around the bay. The cold, fresh water preserves the wrecks intact and frozen in time. There are several ranging depths, from a few inches to 200 feet, so it’s perfect for both diving beginners and experts or even snorkelers. Visit the headquarters at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center to learn more about the wrecks before getting into the water. A few of the sites to visit include the Monohansett, the Grecian, the schooner Defiance and the brig John J. Audubon.

If you don’t want to get wet but still want to explore, look into Alpena Shipwreck Tours. Take off from Alpena into Lake Huron’s Shipwreck Alley. With “glass-bottom” viewing wells, these cruises are the perfect option for non-divers or for families with children. While cruising and checking out the wrecks, you’ll hear about the history and legends of Thunder Bay.

Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve

Head over to the Traverse City area for some great sites. Grand Traverse Bay is strategically located, which means many ships have sailed through for commerce activities. The Bay holds several lost ships near the shorelines making it a great destination for diving. The Grand Traverse Bay Underwater Preserve has worked hard to keep these wrecks intact for your viewing and learning pleasure. Check out Metropolis, a schooner that was lost in a snow storm in 1886. Some of the debris is only in eight feet of water, but there are deeper portions in 120 feet of water. Another schooner, the Yuba is only in 15 feet of water, making it a viable option for beginning divers. A third option, out of many, is the A.J. Rogers, built in 1862 that sank in 1898 while attempting to reach Old Mission Point. This schooner is located 53 feet under water.

If you’re looking to learn how to scuba dive or go with a group, check out Scuba North. A full service diving center, Scuba North has several options for charters, group travel and training.

shipwreck

Alger Underwater Preserve

For another Michigan location to explore, go further north to Munising. The Alger Underwater Preserve is located on the south shore of Lake Superior which includes Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and Grand Island. In addition to shipwrecks, there are “sea caves” and underwater interpretative trails. A couple of the popular sites are the Smith Moore, resting at 70 to 105 feet of water, and the Bermuda, popular with sport divers at a depth of 12 feet.

For a great tour, go with Exploring the North for narrated tours of the Lake Superior Shipwrecks with glass-bottom viewing panes perfect for observing the wrecks. They also offer diving for any type of diver, from beginner to expert.

Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve

Visit the Thumb and check out the Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve in Lake Huron. There are several family fun activities as well, like the Port Sanilac Lighthouse, Sanilac Petroglyphs and the Lake Huron Shipwreck Museum. This Preserve is popular with sport divers as there are several options within recreational diving limits and at least 16 shipwrecks are above 120 feet. Visit Sport, the first steel tug on the Great Lakes. Sport has an abundance of relics and tools scattered throughout the site. Undiscovered until 1986, Regina is another great option with cargo scattered along the lake floor.

Go through Rec & Tec Dive Charters for an easier way of getting to the wrecks. Take a look at their website for more information on schedules and the area.

shipwreck 2

Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve

The Southwest Michigan Underwater Preserve is another great location on Lake Michigan to find fantastic shipwrecks. Visit the wreck Havana, a schooner that sunk in 1887, for great viewing of the ship’s construction. The hull, keelson, centerboard, hanging knees and more can be observed by divers. Another wreck is the Rockaway, lost in a storm in 1891 while sailing from Ludington to Benton Harbor. Make sure you stop in at the Michigan Maritime Museum in South Haven for some cool information surrounding the wrecks.

Shipwreck Explorers is one company you can go through for scheduling your diving tours. In the southeast region of Lake Michigan, the company can take you to the wrecks Hennepin, S.S. Michigan, Hamilton, and H.C. Ackley off the shores of Saugatuck and South Haven.

Be sure to check out our website for more trip ideas if you visit one of these locations!

What shipwrecks are your favorite to dive or view? Share with us in the comments!