I want to…hit the road.
The River Road National Scenic Byway runs 22 miles along the AuSable River between Lake Huron and the Huron National Forest. Fall colors reflect vividly off the AuSable at stops like the Foote Pond Overlook. Stop at Lumberman’s Monument near Oscoda, a 14-foot bronze sculpture honoring the pioneer lumbermen who helped build not only the state but also the nation.
At the monument, descend 260 steps to a wanigan (replica of a logger’s floating kitchen) or take a short trail to the observation deck for panoramic views.
Foote Pond Overlook
I want to…find peace.
Pack your hiking boots and head to Ocqueoc to see the falls. While relatively small—a drop of 10 feet over a series of three ledges—compared to Upper Peninsula falls, these are the largest in the Lower Peninsula. Adventure-minded visitors can explore 6 miles of hiking and biking trails on the Ocqueoc Falls Pathway.
If you head for the falls, you may spot salmon swimming through the limestone channels. (They run through October.)
I want to…wet a line.
Lake Huron and its environs offer some of the best salmon and lake trout fishing in the world, and boat charters are available into the cooler months. Calypso Charters, just one of many in Oscoda, offers custom fishing trips for enthusiasts and novices alike.
In Lincoln, Backwoods Bistro—a Michigan DNR Catch and Cook participant—is happy to prepare and serve your catch. Just arrange in advance with the charter.
I want to…kick back with a local drink.
Discover almost a dozen craft breweries and wineries along the Sunrise Side Wine and Hops Trail. At Modern Craft Wine in Au Gres, taste the vineyard’s unique wines (ice wines and wines with flavors like smoky cherry-maple). Then continue north toward Alpena’s Thunder Bay Winery or Austin Brothers Beer Company, or south to Rose City, where vineyards offer white blends and fruit wines.
Modern Craft operates several tasting rooms, including one in West Branch that shares space with The Silver Lining, a boutique full of gift items such as pottery and silver jewelry.
I want to…visit history.
At the base of the Mackinac Bridge in Mackinaw City sits Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse and Colonial Michilimackinac, a reconstructed 18th-century fort and fur trading village with guides in period dress. Three miles east, Historic Mill Creek Discovery Park gives sawmill demos that show how soldiers built the fort on Mackinac Island. All are part of Mackinac State Historic Parks, a collection of living-history museums.
Go out with a bang: Demonstrations at Colonial Michilimackinac include cannon and musket firings.
I want to…get spooked.
Pointe aux Barques, which juts into the lake off the top of the Thumb, houses one of the state’s oldest lighthouses. So, of course, it has a ghost. According to local lore, the first keeper’s mourning wife walks the cliffs searching for her husband, who drowned. Two lights sit north of Alpena: Old and New Presque Isle lights. A former caretaker reportedly haunts the Old Lighthouse, built in 1840. And at the New Lighthouse, the screams of a former keeper’s isolated wife are said to echo through the night.
The parapet of the 1870 New Presque Isle Lighthouse—138 steps above the ground—offers 360-degree views.
Old Presque Isle Lighthouse
More information: michigan.org