The Blue Water Bridge from the Thomas Edison Parkway Boardwalk. Photo by Chamira Young
If you are looking for one last excursion before summer ends--good news. There is no shortage of interesting locations in Port Huron to have that final summer family day with the children before they go back to school. Whether your taste leans toward discovering Michigan’s historical highlights or simply relaxing on the beach, there are plenty of options around town available. Here are the top ten attractions in and around the city to make your end-of-summer better than ever.
The Great Lakes Maritime Center
Located at Vantage Point where the St. Clair River and Black River meet, the Great Lakes Maritime Center is a great place to grab a coffee, settle down in their spacious viewing room or large outdoor deck, and watch massive freighters pass by. The world headquarters for BoatNerd.com, the center also offers displays and programs about the rich history of the area, as well as a live underwater camera for those who want a first-hand peek at the activity happening within the St. Clair River. In addition, on Tuesdays and Thursdays through October, they host a thriving Farmer’s Market that features only Michigan products, from fresh vegetables to local honey.
Blue Water River Walk
http://bluewater.org/main/Location?LocationID=839&MasterCatID=7&Name=Blue%20Water%20River%20Walk&Community=Port%20HuronThe Blue Water River Walk. Photo by Chamira Young
The Blue Water River Walk is a beautiful restoration project of recent years facilitated by local philanthropist James C. Acheson and the Community Foundation of St. Clair County. A scenic, nearly mile-long paved path along the St. Clair River, it is frequently used by leisurely walkers and active joggers alike. Just steps from the Great Lakes Maritime Center, it features numerous scenic spots to sit, and also connects to the Bridge to Bay Trail. For a unique view over the St. Clair River, step onto the sizeable Observation Dock, which previously served as a railroad ferry dock in the 1900s.
Thomas Edison Parkway Boardwalk
For one of the most breathtaking views of the Blue Water Bridge, head over to the Thomas Edison Parkway Boardwalk. Extending alongside and directly beneath the Blue Water Bridge where the St. Clair River and Lake Huron meet, the Thomas Edison Parkway Boardwalk is one of the most popular spots in the city for strolling, jogging, biking, and fishing. With its 4,700 feet of waterfront, you can watch the freighters pass by and even wave at our Canadian neighbors across the river if you are so inclined.
Lighthouse Beach and Park
For a good spot to have one last picnic before the summer ends, the historic Lighthouse Beach and Park is a great place to bring the family. With 900 feet of waterfront available to the public, it also features a grassy park area and public restroom. However, be careful when out in the water because the current is swift. Nearby, you will find the stately Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, which is Michigan’s oldest lighthouse, and also one of the multiple branches of the Port Huron Museum.
The Port Huron Museum
The Port Huron Museum is actually comprised of four museum locations over Port Huron. The main location is the Carnegie Center on 6th Street, while additional locations include the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, the Thomas Edison Depot Museum, and the Huron Lightship. Each location offers its own unique treasure trove of history about the area, from artifacts from Thomas Edison’s early days to fascinating information about Michigan’s shipping history. Each of these sites are perfect if you have a free afternoon and are looking to learn more about the area’s rich history.
Pine Grove Park
Pine Grove Park is one of the oldest and most prominent parks in the area. With 1,500 feet along the St. Clair River, you will have a stellar view of freighters and boats passing by. It also features a large gazebo, softball diamond, picnic area, shuffleboard courts, and playground equipment. During the summer, there are a variety of events at the park, with highlights including Date Night in the Park, Tiny Tot Sports, Yoga in the Park and the popular Feast of Ste Claire.
Lakeside Beach and Park
A well-known popular location for hanging out at the beach, Lakeside Beach and Park is across from the Lakeside Cemetery and is a great spot to spend time with the family. With a splash pad, playground, plentiful picnic area, and restrooms, you will quickly see why this is a beach-goers dream destination. But be warned--this spot is popular and can get crowded on nice days.
Catch a ride on the trolley to learn more about Port Huron's rich history. Photo by Chamira Young.The Huron Lady Cruises
If you would like a different, distinctive way to take in stellar views of Port Huron from the water, then the Huron Lady Cruises is the adventure to consider. Always operated by a licensed Great Lakes Captain, they offer daily cruises May through September.
In addition to their public sightseeing tours, they offer other services, as well. For those with an appetite on a Monday or Tuesday, book an all-inclusive cruise that includes dinner at the River Crab restaurant in nearby St. Clair. For those who would like to book a wedding reception or throw a party, the Huron Lady can be booked for a private charter, as well.
The Blue Water Trolley
Take a leisurely tour through Port Huron’s historical sites and attractions aboard the Blue Water Trolley. For 10 cents (or five cents for seniors), guests are given a one–hour tour that starts at 331 Huron Ave. and includes additional pickup locations along the way, such as the Blue Water Area Convention Center and Vantage Point. For an additional fare, the trolley will also connect with Port Huron’s city-wide transit system for those who would like access to major shopping areas in the city. Running June through September, this is a perfect, cost-effective way to see the city.
While this seasonal barbeque joint is located north of Port Huron in nearby Lakeport, the Lakeshore Smokehouse gets an honorable mention because of its incredible food and equally impressive outdoor dining ambiance. Their menu selection includes (but is not limited to) barbecue, sandwiches, and fries that gets rave reviews online. Additionally, the one-of-a-kind outdoor seating area is a cross between a large outdoor dining patio and an artistic, unique garden. If you are looking to experience this rare dining spot, do it soon. It is open Thursday through Sunday and closes for the fall and winter seasons.