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Michigan Thumb Tour Lake St. Clair, St. Clair River, & Lower Lake Huron


Anyone who knows a Michigander has seen him or her use their hand as a map of Michigan's Lower Peninsula. Conveniently, Michigan is shaped like a mitten, and in our minds, it effectively eliminates the need for maps. Well, maybe not quite that, but it certainly makes it easier to describe a general location! This tour highlights the "Michigan Thumb" from the Detroit River and its transition to the St. Clair River to the north tip in Port Austin. You will experience the adventure of going from town-to-town along what was once an Indian foot path with its menagerie of small harbor towns, pretty roadside parks, quaint villages, Victorian homes, antique shops, and shoreline sun rises to remember.




Lake St. Clair & Anchor Bay Region [A - B]

Jefferson Avenue & M-29 from Mt. Clemens to Algonac


A short drive north of the Nautical Mile in St. Clair Shores is Mt. Clemens, once known as "Bath City". From the 1860s until the 1940s, thousands descended on this small Michigan town on the banks of the Clinton River seeking healing and rejuvenation based on stories they heard about the medicinal qualities of the water here. Dozens of bath houses and hotels operated thriving and high-profile businesses during this era, drawing the likes of Babe Ruth, Clark Gable, Mae West, and William Randolph Hearst to soak in the mineral baths of Mt. Clemens. By the 1940s the industry had faded away, but today the City remains lively and dynamic, drawing visitors to downtown events and riverside entertainment. Just to the east of Mt. Clemens is Selfridge Air National Guard Base, the only military base open in Michigan. In 1971, Selfridge became the first major active Air Force base to come under control of the Air National Guard and is now home to many diversified units such as the Air Force Reserve, Air National Guard, Army, Air Force, Navy, Marine Corps, and Coast Guard. Stop in and check out the Selfridge Military Air Museum and, if you're timing's just right, the Selfridge Airshow. Hop on M-29 north of Selfridge to begin your trip around Anchor Bay and through the small towns of New Baltimore, Anchorville, and Fair Haven.






St. Clair River Region [B - C]

M-29 from Algonac to Port Huron


M-29 turns north in Algonac, the perfect place to enjoy a sunrise over the St. Clair River. Watch the tall ships, freighters, and ocean liners along the City's half-mile boardwalk, one of the longest freshwater boardwalks in the country. Consider taking the ferry to Harsen's Island and hiring a local charter captain for some of Michigan's best walleye fishing. Just up the River is the charming small town of St. Clair with a well-known boardwalk of its own and nearby shopping and recreation. Stay the night or grab a bite to eat at the St. Clair Inn, a National Historic Site. Enjoy the richness and warmth of this English country establishment located on its picturesque waterfront setting. Next stop is Port Huron, the self-proclaimed Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes. While here, learn about the area's maritime history at the Port Huron Museum and climb the steps of the Fort Gratiot lighthouse which watches over one of the busiest waterways in the world. In July, the city kicks off the Port Huron to Mackinac yacht race, a decades-old tradition that draws thousands of visitors to each summer. Dash across the Blue Water Bridge into Sarnia, Ontario (Canada) for some shopping and casino action before continuing north along the tour route.




Lower Lake Huron Region [C - D]

M-25 from Port Huron to Port Austin


Catch M-25 on the north side of Port Huron, exploring charming Lexington and Port Sanilac along the way. The waters off Port Sanilac contain a number of shipwrecks and are the home to the Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve popular with scuba divers. Harbor Beach is next with the largest man-made freshwater harbor in the world, two museums, a lighthouse, and a downtown that has maintained its old world allure. Port Hope is "The Little Town with the Big Welcome" and offers visitors the choice of 11 registered historic sites. Last but certainly not least, the tour concludes in Port Austin. Because of its unique location at the tip of the Thumb, spectacular sunsets and equally beautiful sunrises are trademarks. The greater Port Austin area includes many historic sites, including Grindstone City and harbor, the restored lumber town of Huron City (now a museum), and Lighthouse Park featuring the Pointe Aux Barques lighthouse.




Tour Map

Number of Destinations: 3 Regions

Overall Tour Time: 1-2 days




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Related Tours

Can't get enough of the water? Check out the tours below:


Detroit Riverfront Tour

Grosse Pointe & Nautical Mile Tour

Huron River Drive

Lakes Area Driving Tour

US-12 & Irish Hills

Resources & Links


Harsen's Island

Huron City Museums


Mount Clemens

New Baltimore

Port Austin

Port Hope

Port Huron

Port Huron Museum

Port Sanilac

Sarnia, Ontario (Canada)

Selfridge Military Air Museum

St. Clair

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