Lake Huron is the second-largest of the Great Lakes and the fifth largest freshwater lake in the world. Separated from Lake Michigan by the narrow Straits of Mackinac, it shares a border with Michigan on the west and Ontario on the east. Lake Huron has the longest shoreline of the Great Lakes, and its vast, majestic beauty could be better appreciated with a visit to one of these places:
The Mackinac Bridge is currently the longest suspension bridge in the Western Hemisphere and the fifth-longest in the world. Dubbed as the ‘Mighty Mac,’ it spans the Straits of Mackinac to connect the Upper and Lower Peninsula of Michigan. The 26,372-ft. bridge was designed by the engineer Dr. David B. Steinman and opened to the public on November 1, 1957. Its towers stand 554 ft. above water and 210 ft. below bedrock, while its main bridge cables are made from 42,000 miles of wire. Mighty Mac’s deck could move as much as 35 ft. at the center, span to accommodate strong winds, temperature changes, and constant weight changes.
The Mackinac Bridge Walk is held every year during Labor Day. During that day, two of the bridge’s lanes are closed to traffic, and approximately 50-80,000 people, led by the Governor of Michigan, walk over the bridge. Bicycles are not allowed to ride across except during the Big Mac Shoreline tour, which is held in June and September. The iconic bridge has been a major tourist destination especially during summer, attracting photographers, bridge enthusiasts, and bird watchers alike.
This 4,300-sq.-mile sanctuary is located in the northeastern part of Lake Huron, extending from the western boundary of Presque Country to the southern boundary of Alcona Country. More than a hundred historically significant shipwrecks have been discovered within the area, from a 19th-century sidewheel steamer to a modern-era German freighter. Adjacent to one of the treacherous stretches of water in the Great Lakes system, Thunder Bay has witnessed the sinking of more than 200 vessels due to its unpredictable weather conditions and man-made catastrophes. Thunder Bay was established as a marine sanctuary in 2000.
Aside from the numerous shipwrecks located within its bottomlands, the sanctuary is also a host to other natural and cultural features related to maritime heritage. Thunder Bay has numerous amenities including lighthouses, fishing camps, lifesaving stations, historic vessels, working ports, and docks. Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center is affiliated to the sanctuary and holds exhibits about Great Lakes and shipwrecks. The Office of National Marine Sanctuaries (ONMS) serves as Thunder Bay’s trustee.
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
500 W. Fletcher
Alpena, Michigan 49707
Fax: (989) 354-0144
Visitor Center: Front Desk and Store At the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center
Visitor Center: the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center
Store, Tickets, Facility Rentals and Group Program Reservations
*group programs can also be reserved online: http://thunderbayfriends.org/
Cheybogan State Park is a public recreation area on the shores of Lake Huron in Cheboygan County, Michigan. It offers breathtaking views of the lake and has around five miles of shoreline and numerous lighthouses. The park receives less than 50,000 visitors every year, offering hiking trails and beachside camping. Its amenities include rustic cabins, modern lodges, day-use area, fishing sites, carry-in boat launch, and picnicking facilities.
Cheboygan State Park
4490 Beach Road, Cheboygan, MI 49721
Fax: (231) 627-2906
Worldwide Toll: (800) 447-2757