7 Things You Didn’t Know About the Blue Water Area

Are you looking for a new area to explore in Pure Michigan? The Blue Water Area is a getaway to be discovered along the eastern shores of the Great Lakes state. Guest blogger, Danielle Kreger from the Blue Water Convention & Visitors Bureau shares seven things you didn’t know about the Blue and its 140 miles of shoreline.

1) The Blue has six lighthouses to visit; some locations offer a guided tour and tower climb while others simply pose for great photo opportunities.  The nautical stories and current duties of each light station are different, however they have all stood their ground, placed for the purpose of guiding ships and their crew through rough waters.

Harbor Beach Lighthouse Tour, Blue Water Area CVB

Photo Courtesy of Danielle Kreger

2) The Blue has a nationally recognized water trail. The Island Loop Route National Water Trail, is a 10.2-mile looping water trail and is well suited to recreational paddlers, kayaks, canoes and paddle boards. It is the first nationally recognized water trail in Michigan and one of only 14 in the nation. The trail navigates through rivers, canals and lake and passes the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse amongst other favored locales.

3) The Blue has a dark sky preserve.  Port Crescent State Park, in Port Austin, has a designated area where no electric light exists for miles, giving star-gazers an unobstructed view of the night sky.  The dark sky preserve is located in the day-use area where there’s a charge for parking, but no overnight reservations are needed.  Sit back and enjoy the wonders of the universe right in the Blue.

4) The Blue hosts an incredible amount of festivals, free waterfront concerts and summertime events to enjoy like when 300 or more sailboats gather in the marinas of Port Huron to compete in the Port Huron to Mackinac Race.  On race day, it is a continuous flow of sailboats as they pilot into Lake Huron in a race to Mackinac Island.

Photo Courtesy of Danielle Kreger

Photo Courtesy of Danielle Kreger

5) The Blue has a 54-mile paved pedestrian/bike path that runs along the water’s edge as well as a bit inland, winding around parks and neighborhoods.  The Bridge to Bay Trail begins north of the Blue Water Bridge and extends to Anchor Bay in Algonac.  Where some of the trail links are still being developed, helpful signage will lead you to the next path.

6) The Blue has seven ADA accessible kayak launches.  These launches provide an easier and safer way for people with physical disabilities to launch a kayak.  They are located along waterways throughout the Blue.

St. Clair River, Blue Water Area CVB, credit Harry  Burkholder, Liaa

Photo Courtesy of Danielle Kreger

7) The Blue is the terminus of U.S. Bicycle Route 20, which is a cross-country bike trail that runs along M-29 into downtown Marine City. From there, riders have the ability to take the car/pedestrian ferry to Canada for a cross-continental journey.

Discover these things about the Blue Water Area and let them lead you on an experience you’ll treasure for a lifetime.  For more details and info about the Blue, visit the website and Facebook page.

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.

Have you ever visited the Blue Water area? Comment with your experience below!

Labor Day Weekend Ideas for Every Personality

The end of summer is near but there is still plenty of time to enjoy the warm weather. Whether you plan to relax on the lake or attend a festival this weekend, there is something for everyone. We put together a few ideas on how to spend your Labor Day weekend in Pure Michigan.

The magnificent Tahquamenon Falls. As seen on Google maps street view.

The magnificent Tahquamenon Falls. As seen on Google maps street view.

For The Road Tripper

Take a road trip to the Upper Peninsula and visit Tahquamenon Falls, one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. This waterfall always leaves us awestruck.  After your hike, get refreshed at the Tahquamenon Falls Brewery.

Looking to head over to the West side of the state? Check out Grand Rapids for a variety of offerings. Dazzling art and culture, awesome dining and nightlife, inspiring natural beauty and exhilarating community spirit. Stroll downtown where you will find more than 100 restaurants, clubs, theaters and museums.

Have a beach weekend getaway at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes. The magnificent dunes are divided into three sections, the northern section is for off-road vehicles, the center is for hiking/walking, including Lake Michigan and Silver Lake beaches and the southern is home to Mac Woods Dune Rides. There is something for everyone and a definite beach paradise.

Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room

Michigan By The Bottle Tasting Room

For The Relaxer

Rich with history and natural beauty, Belle Isle Park is a Detroit gem. The 987-acre island park features a nature zoo, conservatory, golf practice facility, maritime museum, an aquarium, picnic areas and more. The park includes three lakes, 150 acres of wooded area and spectacular views of the Detroit and Windsor skyline.

Get ready to watch the sunset at Tunnel Park. Located on the shores of Lake Michigan, it is a great place to catch a sunset and take a swim. Climb the stairs to the top of the dune or take the concrete tunnel through the dune to get to the beach.

Do you love wine? Then with more than 100 wineries nestled among 15,000 acres of scenic vineyards, Michigan truly is wine country. Paired with fresh, local ingredients found in local cuisine, a Pure Michigan wine tasting trip is something you can’t find anywhere else.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Photo courtesy of @dsliceoflife.

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Photo courtesy of @dsliceoflife.

For The Photographer

Explore Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore! You will find multicolored sandstone cliffs, waterfalls, wildlife and much more on Lake Superior.  Whether you decide to take a boat ride, hike or swim you will have breathtaking views wherever you are.

Check out striking views of the Porcupine Mountains. Parallel to the Lake Superior shore and overlooking Lake of the Clouds, enjoy scenic vistas, waterfalls and old growth forest. Take your camera and start exploring, you won’t regret it.

Find Keweenaw Peninsula’s rock formation, Bare Bluff, looping around a three mile hiking trail. The views from the top of the bluff are stunning and on a clear day you can see all the way to the tip of the Keweenaw.

Take a different approach to getting a wonderful picture and head to Port Austin. With spectacular shorelines, views, amazing cliffs and rock formations, Port Austin is a must kayak destination.  Grab your camera and don’t forget to set time aside to kayak to Turnip Rock, a must see!

Pyramid Point at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Photo courtesy of @beatbeat.heartbeat

Pyramid Point at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Photo courtesy of @beatbeat.heartbeat

For The Active Vacationer

Explore Isle Royale, a rugged, isolated island, far from the sights and sounds of civilization. Surrounded by Lake Superior, Isle Royale offers unparalleled solitude and adventures for backpackers, hikers, boaters, kayakers, canoeists and scuba divers. Here, amid stunning scenic beauty, you’ll find opportunities for reflection and discovery, and make memories that last a lifetime.

Climb to the top of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore! And if that isn’t your thing  swim at one of the many beaches, or take a hike through the Maple/Beech forest to some beautiful overlooks. Or spend some time in the museums and tour Port Oneida to learn about the rich history and culture of the area.

Arts, Beats & Eats. Photo courtesy of Jason Vaughn.

Arts, Beats & Eats. Photo courtesy of Jason Vaughn.

For The Festival Goer

If you like art, music or food, we have the place for you! Arts, Beats & Eats will feature more than 200 performances, an art show and local restaurants.  It’s something fun for the entire family.

Enjoy the 35th annual Detroit Jazz Festival which occupies two million square feet of downtown Detroit from Hart Plaza on the riverfront, three blocks north to beautiful Campus Martius Park. Bring a lawn chair and enjoy the variety of festive music.

Indulge in the Fruits of Labor over the long holiday weekend. Find your favorite specialty cocktail, wine or craft brew while live bands will be clocking in for your entertainment. Drink specials and delicious fare from our Grille will be offered. Bring the whole family and enjoy the bounce house, inflatable slide and yard games.

What do you plan to do this Labor Day weekend? Let us know in the comments below!

PS: Want to shake up your fitness routine this Labor Day? The Michigan Fitness Foundation offers events all year to keep you moving, and the Annual Labor Day Mackinac Bridge Walk is no exception.

A Couple, Dog and Eco-Friendly RV Touring the Great Lakes Shoreline

Today, guest blogger Mike Wendland from Roadtreking.com shares his RV journey across Michigan’s endless coastline. 


Photo courtesy of Mike Wendland – Blue Water Bridge

When Michigan says it’s the Great Lakes State, it isn’t kidding. All you have to do is start driving the shoreline of the Great Lakes to see that Michigan is the heart and soul of the area.

With the exception only of Lake Ontario, Michigan is encircled by the other four. And when you look at the shoreline, Michigan’s 2,147 miles of mainland shoreline dwarfs the other seven states surrounding the five lakes. Plus, Michigan has another 905 miles of island shoreline. That puts the total at more than 3,000 miles. Next closest is Wisconsin with 802.

With my wife, Jennifer, and our Norwegian Elkhound, Tai, I’m now deep into the Verizon Great Lakes Roadtreking Tour, which will eventually be a 3,500 mile trip along the U.S. shoreline of the Great Lakes. I’ll be documenting the interesting people and places we encounter. We’re driving an eco-friendly Roadtrek E-Trek motorhome, which is 24 feet long and boasts solar power that runs the appliances.

We started under cloudy skies last week in upstate New York and made our way around Ontario, picking up Lake Erie in Pennsylvania, following through Ohio and ending our first leg at the mouth of Lake Erie, where the Detroit River flows into it at the Lake Erie Metropark in Gibraltar Township.

Now we’re on to Lake Huron, starting at Port Huron and making our way up the “Sunrise Side” to the Mighty Mackinac Bridge and over to the eastern UP.

Photo courtesy of Mike Wendland - Port Huron

Photo courtesy of Mike Wendland – Port Huron

I love Port Huron. Parked right under the Blue Water Bridge, which leads to the Ontario, Canada city of Sarnia, I marveled at the swift-moving St. Clair River flowing out of Lake Huron.

The river is one of the busiest water routes in the Great Lakes, connecting Lake Huron just north of the Blue Water Bridge to Lake St. Clair, a couple dozen miles downstream. Port Huron’s Riverfront is a mecca for big boat watchers. From Lake St. Clair, the big freighters and ocean going vessels make their way into the Detroit River, which in turn connects to Lake Erie.

But it is also a great fishing river. The fish of choice is walleye, and the river serves as a travel corridor for walleye moving between Lake Erie and their spawning grounds in Saginaw Bay, 100 miles up Lake Huron.

Fish biologists believe walleye treat the whole Lake Huron/Erie waters as one system. Walleye can cruise from one body of water to another in days. The St. Clair River is deep and cold, which also helps in holding walleye.

In all, Port Huron has 17 waterfront areas containing 102 acres and 3.5 miles of water frontage. This includes two public beaches and six parks with picnic facilities. The city has nine scenic turnout sites containing more than 250 parking spaces.

If you can’t get in, make your way north following the signs to Lighthouse Park, right at the mouth of the river. This park has 900 feet of waterfront and beach, and the water is clean for good swimming. But be warned, if you venture out very far, the current is swift, as the river starts flowing right from there.

While at Lighthouse Park, walk a few hundred yards south and tour the historic Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. In 1814, military Fort Gratiot was established to guard the juncture of Lake Huron and the St. Clair River. With a surge of vessel traffic on Lake Huron in the early 1800s, the need for a light station to guide vessels into the river became very important.

Photo courtesy of Mike Wendland - Blue Water Bridge

Photo courtesy of Mike Wendland – Blue Water Bridge

For food, the outdoor patio of Freighter’s Restaurant offers up great river and bridge views. It’s part of the Doubletree Inn Hotel complex and is right in the heart of the riverfront action, a few hundred yards south of the bridge.

One more attraction: The Thomas Edison Depot Museum is down there, too. The famed inventor lived in Port Huron and worked on a railroad car for his first job from 1859-1863. The museum includes a restored baggage car resting on a short spur of railroad track and has some exhibits about Edison and his early beginnings.

You can easily spend three or four hours in Port Huron. After lunch and looking around, I found the day half over and hundreds more miles for us to cover. So off we set along M-25 up toward the Michigan thumb, hugging the shoreline all the way.

My Great Lakes shoreline tour will continue throughout the next month. Check out the first video of our visits to Lakes Ontario and Erie.

Send me your tips on what we should stop and see! I’m reachable at mike@roadtreking.com, on Twitter at @roadtreking, and I’ll be tweeting with the #VZGreatLakes, #vzwmidwest and #roadtreking hashtags.

Have you ever taken a long Michigan road trip? Tell us about it. 


Mike Wendland is a veteran journalist who travels North America in a Type B motorhome and blogs at Roadtreking.com. Currently on the road for the Verizon Wireless Midwest Area Great Lakes Tour in a Roadtrek E-Trek motorhome, Mike is driving much of the U.S. shorelines that touch the five Great Lakes.