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Your guide to Port Austin
All About Port Austin
Known as the Tip of Michigan’s Thumb, Port Austin is a popular vacation destination along the warm waters of Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay. This resort village combines historic buildings, lighthouses, boutiques, and rolling farmland. Just around the headland in vast Lake Huron, you’ll see the famous Turnip Rock formation, where kayakers, sailors, and swimmers come to follow a scenic water trail from the shore and around the famous landmark. Bird Creek Park is surrounded by water on three sides and has a scenic boardwalk and sandy beach for leisurely sunny afternoons.
The region’s majestic natural landscape is reflected in the work of local artists at multiple galleries, and the Port Austin History Center shines a light on the town’s farming heritage with a display of tools and artifacts from former residents. You can sample locally grown produce at the weekly farmers’ market downtown.
When is the best time to stay in a vacation rental in Port Austin?
A good time to book Port Austin vacation rentals is between May and mid-September, when the weather in Michigan is warm and sunny, providing ideal swimming temperatures. This is a popular time of year for sailing on Lake Huron. If you visit around Labor Day weekend, you’ll find art shows showcasing photography and oil paintings alongside glasswork, jewelry, and pottery. In late summer, the town of Kinde, just 10 minutes inland, hosts its annual Polka Festival, a four-day celebration of Polish heritage including traditional dishes, music, and dancing.
Port Austin is a sight to behold in the winter, sitting under sparkling blankets of ice and snow between December and March. You’ll find breathtaking ice formations on and around the frozen lake. This season also offers opportunities for ice fishing and cross-country skiing.
What are the top things to do in Port Austin?
The journey to Turnip Rock is a tranquil kayak trip with rugged rock formations and impressive views across Lake Huron. Depending on weather conditions and river flow, kayaking the Pointe aux Barques trail can be a serene experience or a more challenging adventure. The shallow waters provide a clear look at the waterbed and its variety of marine life — you might spot brown trout or steelhead.
Thumb Area Bottomland Preserve
The waters of Lower Lake Huron span more than 250 square miles and are home to more than 20 shipwrecks, which divers come from far and wide to explore. You could even make your own discovery, as the visibility here is excellent, allowing you to see as far as 50 feet below the surface.
Bird Creek Park
Right on the coast of Lake Huron, just outside of Port Austin’s downtown area, Bird Creek Park is a seven-acre park with a sandy beach. Here you’ll find a wooden boardwalk that stretches along the coastline, a large pavilion, a sheltered picnic area, and volleyball and basketball courts. There is also a playground and splash park for children. This is the perfect place to begin a kayaking trip to Turnip Rock or along the Broken Rocks kayak trail, which passes by interesting rock formations and sea caves — although you’ll have to bring your own kayak, as rentals are not available in the park.