16 Best Things to Do in Cheboygan, MI

Cheboygan, MI

As someone who's spent a lifetime relishing the charm of Cheboygan, Michigan, I can assure you that this humble town nestled in the northern Lower Peninsula is a treasure trove of experiences waiting to be discovered.

It's easy to fall in love with the stunning natural landscapes, the laid-back lifestyle, and the friendly locals who are always eager to share a smile or a story.

Whether it's the vibrant summer sunsets or the pristine winter snowscapes, Cheboygan offers a unique sense of wonder in every season.

Brace yourself because you're about to delve into a world of fascinating culture, mesmerizing sights, and unforgettable adventures this quintessential Midwestern town offers.

Let's uncover the best things to do in Cheboygan, Michigan, together!

About this article: This article was written by a local contributor based on their own experiences and those around them. While this list showcases some remarkable places, it's important to note that this is an opinion piece, and there are many other exceptional places to visit that are not featured here.
Our aim is not just to guide you to popular places but to encourage you to venture out and experience the city for yourself.

Enjoy a Regular Day by Cheboygan Crib Light

Entryway to Cheboygan Crib Lighthouse
haveseen / Shutterstock.com

Something is soothing about starting my mornings with a casual stroll by the Cheboygan Crib Light.

It's not extraordinary or unique, but it has a simple charm that never fails to put a smile on my face.

The fresh air, the seagulls' harmonious squawking, and the waves gently lapping against the shore make my daily wake-up routine all the more enjoyable.

Now, if you're a lighthouse enthusiast like me, you're in for a treat.

From this quaint little spot, you can catch sight of three different lighthouses at once!

Shoreline at Cheboygan Crib Lighthouse
Edwin Verin / Shutterstock.com

And when you're not marveling at the structures, you can let your gaze wander into the distance, where the magnificent Mackinaw Bridge stretches across the horizon.

It's a breathtaking sight.

Whether the sunlit panorama during the day or the twinkling spectacle at night, the Cheboygan Crib Light view never fails to take my breath away.

It may not be the most grand or extravagant attraction in the area, but it's a quiet little piece of paradise that I wouldn't trade for the world.

Grab Fresh Produce at Harvest Thyme Farm

Every year, without fail, I find myself drawn back to the wholesome offerings of Harvest Thyme Farm.

It's a ritual, stopping by the farm and filling my basket with their produce.

The crunch of the fresh lettuce, the sweet aroma of ripe strawberries, and the vibrant colors of their flowers.

One bite of their produce, and you'll understand why they're the best in town and probably the best I've ever had.

The quality is simply unmatched—fresh, organic, and flavorful--bringing the soil's goodness directly to my table.

And let's not forget about the flowers. They have the magical ability to brighten up any room and lift your spirits instantly.

If you haven't had a chance, do yourself a favor and visit Harvest Thyme Farm.

You won't be disappointed. After all, there's nothing like eating clean and supporting locals.

Explore the Trails of Black Mountain Forest Recreation Area

It's hard to describe the exhilarating feeling of biking through the trails of Black Mountain Forest Recreation Area.

There's something incredibly liberating about the rush of the wind on my face, the crunch of leaves under my wheels, and the occasional challenges the terrain presents.

My mountain bike and I have conquered quite a few trails, but the sandy, hilly terrain at Black Mountain is always a thrilling ride.

The vast expanse of forested areas is a treasure trove for outdoor enthusiasts.

Whether you prefer hiking, biking, or off-roading, you'll find plenty of opportunities to quench your thirst for adventure.

It's a large area you can explore at your own pace, and each visit seems to reveal a new path, a new vista, and a new experience.

One thing I love about Black Mountain is that no matter how often you visit, it never loses its charm.

The seasons bring their character to the place, making each visit a unique experience.

Moreover, the forest is beautiful, especially during autumn when the leaves are a riot of colors.

It's a sight to behold and one you'll carry in your heart long after leaving the trails.

Remember, there's no experience like exploring Black Mountain Forest Recreation Area. So, gear up and head on out. Adventure awaits!

Enjoy a Night at the Cheboygan Opera House

Exterior view of Cheboygan Opera House
rossograph, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

There's something exceptional about the Cheboygan Opera House.

Nestled in the heart of our charming town, it's an iconic piece of local history and a beacon of the arts.

The Opera House has been a part of my life since childhood — from watching Christmas performances to participating in concert band concerts.

Now, I enjoy attending movie premieres there, and it's always a joy to witness the crowd's excitement.

However, the Opera House also offers a variety of high-quality programs and entertainment.

I remember attending a high school musical performance; the acoustics were incredible.

The vintage charm of the 1920's style theater, coupled with the comfortable seats, made for an unforgettable evening.

Visiting the Opera House is always an enjoyable experience. It truly is the Gem of the North.

Every seat in the house provides a good view, making it an ideal spot for any event. I strongly encourage you to check it out yourself.

Who knows? You may see me there, soaking in the history and culture of our beloved Cheboygan Opera House.

Enjoy Shipwrecks with Captain Jennifer

Nothing quite like spending a day with Captain Jennifer on the water.

Whenever I join one of her tours at Nautical North Family Adventures, I am continually captivated by her infectious enthusiasm that lights up even the gloomiest days.

Her business may have started from humble beginnings, but I can personally vouch for your first-class experience under her care.

The shipwreck tours are my family's absolute favorite! They blend fascinating history, nautical knowledge, and sheer fun.

We marvel at the underwater shipwrecks, and our kids get a kick out of helping steer the boat at the end of the tour!

It's a special kind of magic that makes you appreciate Lake Huron on a whole new level.

Every visit to Captain Jennifer's tour is a testament to their passion for the water and the community.

It's a memory maker, a family bonding opportunity, and a delightful time on the water.

Explore the Serene Grass Bay Preserve

I wake up every day with the privilege of witnessing the beauty of my surroundings here at Grass Bay Preserve.

It's an inspiring sight, the endless green grass gently swaying in rhythm with the wind against the backdrop of the bright blue sky.

I often visit the Preserve early in the morning, just as the sun starts to paint the sky with hues of orange and red.

The tranquility the place offers calms my mind, preparing me for the day ahead.

The smell of wet earth and grass after a light rain is something that I look forward to.

It's a distinct, earthy aroma that brings a sense of peace and serenity.

The Preserve is a haven for many species of birds, and their melodic songs are my constant companion during my morning walks.

I sometimes pause to watch a few of them flitting about, adding a beautiful vibrancy to the otherwise peaceful landscape.

But the Grass Bay Preserve is not just about the morning walks.

It is a place that offers so much more.

Throughout the year, the preserve transforms itself with the changing seasons.

The wildflowers in spring are a sight to behold, painting the landscape with a riot of colors.

And as the seasons change, so do the colors of the preserve, each as beautiful as the other.

The Grass Bay Preserve is more than just a beautiful place; it holds immense ecological value too.

Many native species find sanctuary here, and it's lovely to see them thrive in their natural habitat.

The Preserve is a testament to the delicate balance of nature, and it's truly a privilege to witness it.

Living close to the Grass Bay Preserve is like having a slice of paradise in your backyard.

Every day brings with it a new sight, a new sound, and a new experience. It truly is a treasure, a place that is beautiful in its simplicity and profound importance.

Explore Cheboygan State Park

Landscape of Cheboygan State Park
Focused Adventures / Shutterstock.com

Have you ever wondered what natural beauty looks like up close?

Picture this: A peaceful morning stroll on the woodland trails at Cheboygan State Park, the smell of pines, and the gentle whisper of Lake Huron waving hello.

That's my routine at this 1,250-acre haven.

This serene park provides the perfect start to my day, and it's just a stone's throw away from home.

When the sun is at its zenith, I often launch my kayak from the park's handy area and glide to the marshy patches to spot the bustling wildlife.

The park's waterways are a haven for kayakers and canoers alike, offering the opportunity to explore its corners uniquely.

But, the trails within the park are not to be missed either.

I often recommend visitors start on the yellow trail from the campground and then make their way to the blue.

And then, if they're up for a bit more adventure, they can explore the east side of the park and the water's edge on the green trail.

For those seeking a peaceful retreat, this park is a quiet sanctuary.

Lakeshore at Cheboygan State Park
Focused Adventures / Shutterstock.com

Although the campsites aren't huge, their close location to the bay makes up for it.

I particularly enjoy the secluded sites nestled within the woods.

It feels incredibly rustic, capturing the essence of being 'up north.'

One little hitch - there's no beach at the campground. But don’t worry, a quick drive will get you there.

And on clear days, you can see the Mackinaw Bridge from the beach about 3 miles from the campground.

Cheboygan State Park is a natural sanctuary that provides a fantastic escape from the everyday hustle.

Whether you're a local like me or a visitor stopping by, this tranquil oasis will indeed offer you a slice of the authentic Michigan experience.

Beach at Cheboygan State Park
prettyemmy, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Spend a Peaceful Retreat at the Waterways Campground

Last weekend, I decided to unwind at the Waterways Campground, a hidden gem that has always been my favorite escape.

The park is impeccably clean and tranquil, allowing me to truly disconnect from the bustling city life and reconnect with Mother Nature.

My favorite feature of the park is the direct access to the river.

Enjoying the peaceful sound of the river flow while preparing my evening meal is a pleasure beyond words.

I had a fantastic time kayaking over the weekend.

With its gentle current, the river leads directly into Mullet Lake, making it a kayaker's paradise.

When I'm not kayaking, I usually enjoy the hiking and biking trails. The scenic views along the route are indeed a sight to behold.

I chose tent camping during my stay, but the site accommodates RVs.

Every site has electricity, wifi, showers, and bathrooms, ensuring a comfortable camping experience.

Despite being close to the highway, the noise is hardly noticeable, and the tranquility remains undisturbed.

If you're planning a trip to Mackinac Island, the Waterways Campground is an excellent place to stop and recharge.

This serene environment offers more than just a camping experience - a peaceful retreat that rejuvenates the soul.

Become a Regular at Cheboygan Brewing Company

Every town has a heartbeat, a social hub where locals and visitors come together.

In our wonderful little town, that place is the Cheboygan Brewing Company.

Now, I'm not saying I'm a beer connoisseur or anything, but I know a good brew when I taste one.

And boy, does Cheboygan Brewing know how to make them good.

Whether it's a blazing summer afternoon or a chilly winter evening, stopping by the brewery is always an experience to look forward to.

Outside, they have this fantastic deck and patio that's perfect when the weather's warm.

And when it's not? The indoors offers a cozy atmosphere that makes you feel at home.

They also serve free popcorn – a perfect partner for their various delicious beers.

Now, if you're someone like me who enjoys their brews, I highly recommend signing up for their Mug Club.

The benefits are fantastic – perks, deals, and the chance to try all their different beers on tap.

And it's not just the beers that stand out. The staff here at Cheboygan Brewing are always friendly and eager to help.

Plus, they've got board games and a bunch of events happening all week.

Whether you're here for a quick visit or planning to stay a bit longer, it's a great place to hang out.

One bonus: they offer these neat little 7oz glasses.

Perfect for those times when you're not in the mood for a whole pint but could still do with a refreshing sip of your favorite brew.

And did I mention the views?

You haven't truly experienced our town until you've seen it from their roof deck. It's a sight to behold.

So, if you're ever in the area or just around downtown, you might want to swing by the brewery.

A pint at Cheboygan Brewing is a savor of our town in a glass. Come on in. It's always a good time.

Visit The Cheboygan Front Range Light

Aerial view of The Cheboygan Front Range Light
Dennis MacDonald / Shutterstock.com

Growing up in the shadows of the Cheboygan Front Range Light, I've always been fascinated by this incredible beacon of history.

The charm of this lighthouse is inescapable.

It stands tall, bearing testimony to the past, and serves as a constant reminder of Cheboygan's rich maritime history.

Visiting the lighthouse is like stepping back in time.

I enjoy spending my weekends there, learning about the lighthouse keepers of yore and the ships they guided.

The gift shop never fails to amuse me with its unique trinkets and souvenirs, all at very reasonable prices.

I've found some of my favorite maritime-themed decorations there. The place also allows donating and contributing to preserving this historical relic.

The Michigan Lighthouse tour takes place every October, and it’s quite the spectacle.

This isn't your typical lighthouse perched on a cliff overlooking the sea. Its unique location away from the water adds to its charm.

Spend the Day Out at Gordon Turner Park

Waking up to a sunny day in Cheboygan, one of my favorite things to do is to head out to Gordon Turner Park.

It's a place that captures the spirit of our town and offers a beautiful view of the great lakes.

I can't help but marvel at the sparkling water, the grandeur of the lighthouse, and the tranquil wetlands every time I set foot in the park.

It's also a great spot to sit back, enjoy ice cream, and leisurely watch the barges drift through the water.

The beach at the park is another delight altogether. It's incredibly sandy and perfect for sun, sand, and splash!

Nestled along Lake Huron's shores, I often spend hours wading in the gentle water, soaking in the sun, or building sandcastles.

The water is never too deep, making it a safe and enjoyable spot for everyone.

Moreover, the park is also home to a lovely boardwalk, where I take strolls, soaking in the tranquil vibes of the place.

It leads to the fascinating crib light, a sight to behold.

Further ahead is the pier that takes you to the pier light, a journey that is as serene as it is scenic.

Adding to the charm of Gordon Turner Park is a kids' playground, which makes it a perfect place for family outings.

And if you need to freshen up, the park even has restrooms.

So, if you're ever in Cheboygan, check out Gordon Turner Park.

Visit Aloha State Park

Every summer, my family and I make it a tradition to visit Aloha State Park.

This is where my childhood memories were made; now, my children are creating their memories.

The atmosphere at Aloha State Park is simply unrivaled, and the lake access is sublime.

Over the years, the camping area has grown and changed, though I feel nostalgic about the south loop being turned into an RV park.

The park is well-maintained, with large campsites and clean bathrooms, making it a family-friendly spot.

However, the recent lack of maintenance on the jetty was quite noticeable during our last visit. Nevertheless, the park's charm remains untouched.

You can visit their official page for more information about the park's amenities.

Our favorite spots are site 31, especially during the 4th of July celebrations.

The site is nestled amidst the trees, providing ample shade, and the adjoining beach is simply heavenly.

Direct access to the beach is excellent, but if you can't snag a lakefront site, the other sites seem bare, and the campground beach can get crowded.

If you're visiting with children, remember that there's limited playground equipment - just a volleyball area and a set of swings.

But the beautiful trails and breathtaking sunsets compensate for the lack of a playground.

My top tip? Don't miss out on the camp store donuts - they're the best!

Also, if you have some extra time, take a 30-minute drive to Ocqueoc Falls.

As a resident, I've seen Aloha State Park changing and evolving, but its captivating aura remains the same, and it continues to be a cornerstone of our family tradition.

Take a Walk Down Memory Lane at the Historical Cheboygan County Museum

Exterior of the Cheboygan County Museum
Bobak Ha'Eri, CC BY 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Whenever I set foot in the Historical Cheboygan County Museum, my heart swelled with nostalgia and pride.

From the Native American maple syrup camp display to the deep-rooted artifacts of the county, it’s a treasure trove for history enthusiasts like me.

The museum hosted a memorial for our dear Doug Dailey one day. That day, the museum was more than a collection of historical artifacts.

It was a gathering place of community, love, and shared memories.

The stories that floated around the room were not just about Doug but about the county itself.

Everyone at the museum shared their memories and made me realize the importance of this place in preserving and sharing our collective history.

My favorite exhibit, though, has to be the John Houser family artifacts from the Tallman Schoolhouse.

Their story is a fascinating piece of Cheboygan's past that captivates me.

Visiting the museum is like stepping back in time, a gentle reminder of where we came from.

During my last visit, I remember thinking how lucky I am to have such a wealth of history on my doorstep.

The museum is not just for those who grew up here.

It's a place for everyone who has a keen interest in learning about our fascinating history.

So if you happen to be in town, or even if you're passing through, I highly recommend visiting the Historical Cheboygan County Museum.

Enter a Treasure Trove at Sea Shell City

Every time I visit Sea Shell City, it feels like stepping into a wonderland filled with nautical marvels.

A bit of magic is hidden at every corner, whether the beautifully crafted shells, the alluring wildlife choices, or the stunning array of postcards, shirts, books, and magnets.

The place is teeming with charm and character, and no matter how many times I've been there, it always amazes me.

Delving into their extensive collection of nautical decor, I always find myself lost in their assortment of wolves, bears, and eagles.

The selection is immense, and something new and unique always catches my eye. It's like an ever-evolving emporium for all things maritime.

Moreover, the prices are gentle on the pocket, too, making it a favorite stop for picking up a souvenir or two.

One of my unique traditions is getting a pearl, a T-shirt, or any nick-nack items when I'm there.

It's about bringing back a piece of Sea Shell City with me, and it's an excellent stopover, especially when heading towards the Mac Bridge, a fun detour.

And let's not forget the memories. I've been visiting since childhood, and it's become part of my summer routine.

The clean, sweet bathrooms with their charming little rugs in each stall and the kind ladies who run the place all add to the nostalgia.

It's a Michigan summer staple, a tradition that has stood the test of time.

I'm glad that Sea Shell City is still standing firm, bringing joy to everyone who walks through its doors.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Climb Aboard the Historic Mackinaw

Front view of Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum
ehrlif / Shutterstock.com

There's something genuinely thrilling about standing on the deck of a vessel that's seen more of history than most of us ever will.

That's exactly how I felt the first time I set foot on the 1944 USCSC Mackinaw, now home to the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum.

You can almost feel the vibrations of the past, the essence of the brave souls that once manned this impressive icebreaker during World War II.

Stepping aboard, you instantly feel dwarfed by the grandeur of the ship.

The well-preserved interiors, the intricate details of the ship’s equipment, and the low headers in the stairways seem to tell a tale.

Moreover, the self-guided tour lets one explore leisurely, absorbing the rich maritime history from every corner.

As a Mackinaw City resident, I've been privileged to visit this floating museum quite often, and each visit is a unique experience.

View of Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum
Peter K Burian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

What makes it even more special are the dedicated volunteers who devote their time to maintaining this gem of our city’s history.

Often, you might even find a former crew member on board, ready to share first-hand accounts of life on the Mackinaw, adding a deeper layer to the narrative.

Whether you're a history buff, a nautical enthusiast, or someone looking for a unique way to spend a day, the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum is a must-visit.

And to those in service or who have served, do remember to bring your military ID for a special discounted entry.

It's a little way for the museum to thank you for your service.

So next time you're in Mackinaw City or heading to Mackinac Island and see a sign for the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum, don't just pass it by.

Hop aboard and take a step back into history.

Visit The Mackinaw Bridge Museum

Just above the bustling pizza joint of Mama Mia's, nestled in the heart of our little town, you'll find a slice of history that always amuses me - The Mackinaw Bridge Museum.

I've always found the concept rather endearing, a museum on the top floor of a pizza place.

The museum is a treasure trove of memorabilia and photographs from the construction of the Mackinaw Bridge.

I always find myself drawn to these exhibits, especially during the quieter hours when they're easier to navigate.

The museum is not just confined to the usual displays.

There are also a few vintage arcade cabinets tucked away at the back. It's a neat little nod to the past that always makes me smile.

One of my favorite parts is the film screenings.

While they can be noisy to listen to during busy times, they offer fascinating insights into the bridge's construction.

I remember watching these films with friends, all huddled around a table with our pizzas, captivated by the old footage.

The museum holds a special place in the hearts of the locals, especially those in the ironworking community.

I've heard stories of ironworkers visiting the museum and being completely enthralled by the history it houses.

They even get a discount with their membership card, which is a nice touch.

So, the Mackinaw Bridge Museum is a must-visit whether you're a history lover, a foodie, or just looking for a fun place to spend an afternoon.

Final Thoughts

I can't help but feel a sense of pride and joy in calling Cheboygan, Michigan, home.

The city's charm lies in its simplicity, connection to the natural world, and rich history.

There’s always something new to discover, and I can't wait to see what else I’ll stumble upon in the years to come.

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