Summer morning fishing on Lake Huron in Presque Isle.
Lake Huron

Lake Huron was originally called La Mer Douce, or “the freshwater sea,” by French explorers.

It later got its name from the Huron people who lived along its shores. It forms the eastern outline of Michigan's "Mitten," including the distinctive "Thumb" which is dotted with port towns and shelters Saginaw Bay. 

The Lake Huron shoreline of the Lower Peninsula is referred to as the "Sunrise Side" because of the stunning sunrises that can be viewed over the water. Lake Huron also touch the eastern Upper Peninsula, meeting Lake Superior to the north via the St. Marys River at Sault Ste. Marie, as well as Lake Michigan at the Straits of Mackinac.Dozens of recreational areas dot Michigan's eastern Great Lake regions, from lakefront state parks in the Thumb to the Mackinac Bridge in the north. The automobile-free, Victorian resort destination of Mackinac Island, which is also Michigan’s first state park, continues to welcome visitors to the Straits of Mackinac as it has since the late 1800s when city dwellers began to discover the refreshing qualities of a Michigan Great Lakes escape.

Lake Huron is the second largest Great Lake with a surface area of 23,000 square miles. First paddled by Native Americans, and then voyageurs, traders and missionaries in the late 1600s, Lake Huron became a vital shipping route. The waters of this Great Lake, however, could be treacherous and its storms deadly. At the bottom of Lake Huron rests more than 1,000 known shipwrecks with about 200 of them located off the northeastern shore near Alpena. The underwater historic sites are protected by the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, and are destinations for scuba divers, snorkelers and kayakers to explore. On land, visitors can tour the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena and several lighthouses in the region.


Lake Huron celebrates its many lighthouses, and the lighthouses of all the Great Lakes, with the Annual Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival in Alpena. No matter your Lake Huron destination, there are a plenty of lighthouses waiting to be explored.

Lighthouses on Lake Huron
Dark Skies
After you’ve spent the day on Lake Huron, look up as the dark skies unveil one of the most spectacular star shows in the continental United States. Learn where you can find Michigan’s dark skies near Lake Huron.
Dark Skies on Lake Huron
The best way to explore all that Lake Huron has to offer is by boat. Find the perfect place to rent, charter or launch a boat on Lake Huron.
Boating on Lake Huron
Paddle Sports
From kayaking to stand up paddleboarding, find the perfect place for your paddle sports adventure on Lake Huron. If you need equipment, there are a variety of rental facilities to help you get out on the water.
Paddle Sports on Lake Huron
Heritage Route 23
US 23 stretches for 200 miles along the northern coastline of Lake Huron, from Standish to Mackinaw City. Plan a picturesque road trip along the “Sunrise Side.”
Heritage Route 23
Mackinac Island
Where bikes and horse-drawn carriages are the main forms of transportation, and the smell of fudge wafts through the air, Mackinac Island is the perfect summer destination for anyone looking to seemingly travel through time. Discover all that Mackinac Island has to offer.
Mackinac Island
State Parks
A trip to Michigan is not complete without sleeping under the stars in a Michigan State Park. Find the perfect campsite and fall asleep to the sound of the waves crashing against the shore of Lake Huron. Don’t forget all the ingredients for s’mores!
State Parks
11 Fabulous Things to Do on Mackinac Island in the Fall
Fall is Mackinac Island's sweetest secret. The air is clear, waters are calm and shorelines are lined with reds and golds as the trees reach their peak color. 
9 Highlights of the Thumb
The mitten-shape lower peninsula has a peninsula of its own: the thumb, a region wrapped around Saginaw Bay that’s (aptly) full of hands-on attractions. 
5 Kayak Trips For Exploring the Eastern Shores of Michigan

Looking to explore eastern Michigan by way of water? Here are 5 water trails to explore in the thumb region and along the Lake Huron shoreline.

23 Beautiful Stops for a Road Trip through the Sunrise Coast
The historic Heritage Route along US-23 features Lake Huron, mysterious shipwrecks, beautiful lighthouses, and miles of breathtaking beaches.
Things to Do in the Thumb Area: The Ultimate Pure Michigan Guide
The thumb area of Michigan’s mitten-shaped Lower Peninsula juts into Lake Huron, and offers visitors stunning views, lakeside vistas, and small town charm. 
Everything You Need to Know About Drummond Island ORV and ATV Trails
If it’s true that the best trips lie off the beaten path, then the best trips lie on Michigan’s Drummond Island—especially if you’re an ORV or ATV aficionado.