8 Things To Do And 11 Places To Stay In Port Austin Michigan - Reca Blog
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8 Things To Do And 11 Places To Stay In Port Austin Michigan

Looking for a great area to visit, explore, and play while on vacation? Consider vacationing in a town near the beach where you can watch both the dawn and sunset from the exact location. Do you own a boat? Bring your vessel to a world-class protected freshwater harbor where you can go to town for groceries and supplies for your Great Lakes voyage. The Great Lakes are one of the top boating areas in the United States. We also look at some of the ideal places to stay in Port Austin, Michigan.

If this type of town appeals to you, you should pay a visit to Port Austin, Michigan, a summer resort hamlet hidden at the tip of the thumb. Beachgoers enjoy Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay’s fine beach and mild seas, making Michigan’s thumb region a popular vacation destination.

If you enjoy exploring ancient lighthouses, finding fresh ice cream, trying a natural, old-fashioned phosphate soda, sipping a craft brew, or visiting a butterfly garden, Port Austin, Michigan, should be on your travel itinerary.

What is Port Austin, Michigan Known For?

It’s a picturesque lakeside vacation spot with one of the state’s largest outdoor farmers’ markets. Each market booth is packed with fresh in-season vegetables, flowers and homemade baked products, fresh seafood, smoked jerky, and various crafts and antique merchandise. This is a must-see attraction for everyone visiting the region. Furthermore, every Saturday morning, the Port Austin Farmers Market draws large audiences and brings in fresh veggies from surrounding farms.

The massive and accessible Port Austin State Harbor is a Port Austin landmark, replete with a big pier to travel out into the lake that juts out into the bay’s beautiful blue waters. Bird Creek County Park, located near the port, is well-known for its boardwalk-lined beach and splash pad for children.

A trip to Port Austin’s calm environment transports you back in time. Several historic structures in downtown date back to the 1800s lumbering era. They are now home to small cafés and one-of-a-kind shop enterprises along Lake Street, which leads to the harbor and the state docks on Lake Huron.

Port Austin is a coastal village with charming, small-town charm and a resort-town vibe that is fun and naturally beautiful.

Seasonal Weather in Port Austin

Because Lake Huron is near the north, Port Austin is never too hot or cold in the summer. The lake serves as a natural weather barrier. (However, in 2021, a tornado passed over the southern part of town.) During the temperate summer months of May to mid-September, the weather in the city is delightfully warm. From 70 to 90 degrees Fahrenheit, the shallow bay waters are warmed to a swimmable temperature.

Winters are also often moderate. When there is snow on the ground, temperatures range from 20F to 40F. During the annual Port Austin Winter Carnival in February, the community comes together for a weekend of excitement.

Port Austin is close to a variety of fun local attractions to visit.

Grindstone City, just east of Port Austin, was the site of one of Huron County’s first businesses. The quarry was formerly the world’s largest producer of grindstones, used to sharpen saws, knives, and other equipment. White Church Art Gallery, which represents over 30 Michigan artists, is located in the little town. 

Turnip Rock is a magnificent rock structure off the coast of Port Austin that can only be reached by kayak. However, if you have the abilities and the weather permits, you might paddle to the Port Austin Reef Lighthouse or the Broken Rocks Route, a magnificent water route. 

Port Crescent State Park is close and has one of Michigan’s most extensive beaches as well as one of the state’s Dark Sky Preserves.

The Huron County Nature Center is a 120-acre natural arboretum with trails connecting unspoiled forests, dunes, and marshlands.

Port Austin Sunrises and Sunsets

Port Austin is located on the far northern tip of Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. However, the Lake Huron coastline faces north due to its peculiar location at the end of the Michigan Thumb. This means that early risers may enjoy a sunrise from the port or beach and then watch a beautiful sunset over the sea from the exact location later in the day.

Beaches in and Around Port Austin 

The beaches at Port Austin, Michigan, are among the most picturesque in the state, and the shallow waters with little or no undertow make them suitable for children.

The Veteran’s Waterfront Park is located in the Port Austin Village. There is a tiny swimming beach, a playground, a volleyball court, picnic spaces, restrooms, and a veteran’s memorial in the park.

Take the kids to Bird Creek Park, located on the other side of the harbor, and let them enjoy the splash pad. Port Crescent State Park, located seven minutes southwest along Port Austin Road towards Caseville, is home to Lake Huron’s only dunes.

Parks such as Jenks McGraw, Oak Beach, and Philp County can still be found. Each has its amenities and wide-open beach access.

Port Austin is a great place to explore, eat, and drink

Don’t miss out on these Port Austin art cafés and pubs:

The Cove – A few years ago, a group of local artists came together to form one of the best art galleries in the state. The Port Austin Farmers Market is just a few feet away. It’s a terrific spot to locate a one-of-a-kind artwork for your cottage or Michigan art collection.

Lighthouse Cafe – A pleasant breakfast and brunch restaurant on the water’s edge where M-53 (the main highway from Bad Axe, MI) ends. There are home-cooked meals offered and a view of the lake.

PAKS Backyard is a popular summer destination with its modest and intimate cafe and beer garden. It provides a great view of the water and allows you to watch the kayaks as they move to and from Turnip Rock.

Port Austin Dime Store – Travelers have stopped by for years for souvenirs and other beach products. It still sells everything from homemade fudge to beachwear. This is a fantastic spot to pick up some Port Austin merchandise. Don’t pass on getting a real soda too. 

The Bank is one of Port Austin’s most fabulous full-service restaurants. It is housed in an ancient bank building, and the vaults are still used as decoration.

The PAK – If you’re visiting Port Austin, start here and select between renting a bike or a kayak. This location has everything you need to enjoy Port Austin. Everyone at the company is knowledgeable and willing to help you find the best hiking trails, water trails, and bicycle routes. They will also discuss the nearby Pinnebog River and the Thumb Heritage Water Trail.

Explore the Tip of the Thumb In Huron County 

Grindstone General Store – For over 130 years, this one-time general store has been in business. Now, it’s known for its ice cream business and provides the most enormous scoops of ice cream in Michigan.

The City of Harbor Beach – This tranquil lakeside hamlet in Port Austin features one of the greatest citywide trail networks, including the paved Harbor View Trail and the Backus Nature Trail, popular with hikers and cyclists. It also serves as a Thumb Heritage Water Route station, a 103-mile water trail around Saginaw Bay.

Knoblock Riding Stable – Spend the day riding trails outside of Port Austin at these riding stables.

Butterfly House – Take a meandering path among beautiful plants and flowers while learning about the many different varieties of Michigan butterflies. The Butterfly House opens in early summer. This attraction stays open until the butterflies are freed to migrate south in early October. This is also an excellent area to park if you’re going to the Port Austin Farmers Market.

Lighthouses and Water Sports Near Port Austin MI

Port Austin Reef Lighthouse – Located several miles off the shore of Port Austin, the Port Austin Lighthouse. A boat tour of this ancient lighthouse on a rocky reef in Lake Huron is available. The light is now completely automated and operating.

Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse – The Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse, located in Port Austin, is one of Michigan’s oldest operational lighthouses. Pointe Aux Barques translates as “Point of the Little Ships,” alluding to the shattered stones and rocks that litter this section of Lake Huron’s beach. The US Coast Guard maintains this operational lighthouse at Lighthouse County Park, a breathtakingly beautiful place to visit.

Turnip Rock via Kayak – For those wondering, no, you cannot walk to Turnip Rock. It is not reachable by land. Instead, you must take a kayak to this remarkable rock structure near Michigan’s Thumb’s extreme northernmost tip. The best local advice is to start your paddle early in the morning and return in time for lunch. Kayaks may be rented at PAKs or brought to Bird Creek County Park.

Places to Stay in Port Austin Michigan include hotels, motels, and inns.

Port Austin, Michigan, features 11 hotels that provide a range of accommodations. There is accommodation for a long weekend to a month of vacation. These range from romantic bed and breakfast rooms to comfy cottages and coastal flats. As a year-round attraction, we looked for the best locations to stay in Port Austin that big travel websites frequently ignore. Furthermore, port with Austin offers a calm respite from the summer crowds during the offseason.


A Michigan author has covered the Great Lakes state for over 10 years in various print, web, and news organizations.

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