Lake Huron wraps around Michigan’s “Thumb,” which is lined with beaches, picnic spots, and the cities of Port Sanilac, Port Hope, Port Austin and Port Huron, where the train station is a museum that honors Thomas Edison, who worked there as a lad.
This region is home to the world’s largest holiday decor store, Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland in Frankenmuth. The Bavarian themed town celebrates the heritage of its early settlers and is known for locally brewed beer and family-style chicken dinners at the Bavarian Inn and Zehnder’s restaurants.
The Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum at Saginaw Valley State holds more than 200 of the artist’s works and in Bay City the Maritime History walk along the Saginaw River recalls the port city’s history as a shipbuilding center. Sample life on the inland seas under the billowing sails of the Appledore Tall Ships, or explore the “Everglades of Michigan,” the 18,000 acre Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, an ecosystem of wetlands, rivers and bayous accessible by the flat bottom boat tours of Johnny Panther Quests Ecotours.
Nearby Midland is home to the 110-acre Dow Gardens and multi-dimensional Chippewa Nature Center, which includes walking trails along the Pine and Chippewa Rivers, a homestead farm from the 1870s, wigwam, and many programs and activities.
In Mt. Pleasant, the heart of the Lower Peninsula, the Ziibiwing Center of Anishinabe Culture & Lifeways honors the heritage of the Saginaw Chippewa Indian Tribe of Michigan through permanent and changing exhibits, programs and events.