This specially designed three-hour driving tour is comprised of five towns in Michigan’s Thumb with their various attractions and amusements.
One of the most unexplored regions from a tourism perspective, Michigan’s Thumb Area offers a unique and different experience from the typically congested cities and “top destinations” of the state. The area is pristine and offers more than 150 miles of coastline. It’s really the third peninsula of our great state, and it shouldn’t escape your notice as you do your trip planning. The Thumb is not a place you travel through, it’s a place you travel to. And you’ll appreciate all it has to offer. (See for yourself in this video by Pure Michigan.)
Stop #1. Algonac: This town sits on the U.S.-Canada border and is home to the largest freshwater delta in North America. It’s often called the “Venice of Michigan” because of the many canals winding their way through the city. You can rent a canoe – sorry, no gondolas – and explore the canals for yourself. The town itself is small with only a few restaurants, and the people are kind and will show you hospitality. The natural surroundings and unique water features are what make this small town worth visiting.
Stop #2. Saint Clair: Get back on the road and head north to Saint Clair, where you can get out of the RV and walk the world’s largest freshwater boardwalk along the shores of the Saint Clair River. You can find more things to do on the Clair on the River website.
Stop #3. Port Huron: The boyhood home of the inventor Thomas Edison, Port Huron is the largest city you’ll find in the region. One of the more famous attractions is the historic Fort Gratiot Light, the oldest lighthouse in Michigan. Why was it the first? High traffic from transportation vessels traveling between Lake Huron and the Saint Clare River. It is still one of the busiest waterways in the world. When you reach the top of the lighthouse, you’ll be able to see very clearly why its presence is so important (not to mention the beautiful view). The light station is open for tours beginning in April. You also don’t want to miss the impressive Blue Water Bridge, one of the access points to Canada. Port Huron is also the newest location for a MARVAC RV Show, held in March.
Stop #4. Cass City: There is a distinctive feature in the small town of Sanilac that deserves to be seen: the Sanilac Petroglyphs – the only known prehistoric carvings in Michigan. You’ll have to drive a little east, into the Thumb, to reach this destination. According to the website, Native Americans created this unusual artwork, carved in sandstone, 300 to 1,000 years ago and provide a glimpse into the lives of an ancient woodland people who occupied Michigan’s Thumb area. Images include flying birds and other animals, and a man with a bow and arrow. You may need to call the Sanilac Petroglyphs State Historic Park about visiting; since the ancient markings are on sandstone, they are prone to erosion. Admission is free, and plan on spending around two hours exploring the petroglyphs and other historic sites in the park.
Stop #5. Port Austin: The last destination takes you to the tip of the thumb. Port Austin will give you plenty to do, namely Port Crescent State Park, which features a generous, gorgeous sandy beach; sand dunes; and a lighthouse. Take in a sunset if you can! And if you’re into fresh produce, homemade baked goods, art, and antiques enjoy one of the biggest and most successful farmer’s markets in the state (from the end of May through October)! There are more than 150 vendors every week. You’ll also want to make a stop at the Grindstone General Store to get some ice cream and other goodies to eat on the road as you leave this Blue Water Region.
What do you like to see in Michigan’s Thumb? Share your top destinations with us on Facebook. Happy traveling!