Tour the ‘Sunrise Side’ of Michigan with 8 Fun Stops Along US-23

West Michigan gets a lot of attention from a tourist perspective, but the northeast side of the mitten also has a ton to offer.

A number of state lawmakers will embark on a US-23 Heritage Tour starting this Thursday. We took a peek at their itinerary and are excited about the possibilities a vacation on the sunrise side of the state holds. Here are a few of our top picks if you’re ever in northeast lower Michigan.

Modern Craft Winery in Au Gres: A unique winery on the east side of the state. Opened by Tom Nixon in his hometown, he crafts wines he likes to drink, which tend toward fruit, smooth, and sweet wines balanced with a little zing. Modern Craft bottles in Au Gres, but tasting rooms can also be found in Harrisville and West Branch.

East Tawas State Dock in East Tawas: This beautiful harbor offers more than a great place for boaters to stay. There’s a beautiful swimming beach just south of the dock and the location has become a gathering point for local festivals and events. Its convenient and scenic location at the foot of the Newman Street Shopping District is a natural draw for visitors.

Wiltse’s Brew Pub and Family Restaurant in Oscoda: Established in 1994, this brewpub was the third to open in Michigan, although the restaurant side of the business opened in 1979. Stop in for a pint of Paul Bunyan ale or Blue Ox stout and grab a bite while you’re there.

Wurtsmith Air Museum in Oscoda: Fascinated by flight? Check out this volunteer-run museum dedicated to preserving the history of Wurtsmith Air Force Base and aviation in northeast Michigan.

Harrisville State Park in Harrisville: This Michigan Activity Pass destination is one of Michigan’s oldest state parks, established in 1921. You’ll find a campground and day-use area nestled along the shores of Lake Huron and within walking distance to the resort town of Harrisville.

Laser Team Challenge in Alpena: The 90-year-old National Guard Armory that this laser tag spot is located in makes for an interesting and historic place to play. Play outdoors or inside the 45,000-square-foot, three-level facility.

Thunder Bay Theatre in Alpena: Catch a play in a historic, century-old building in the Old Town section of Alpena. The theatre is the only year-round professional theatre in northern Michigan.

Port Calcite Collaborative in Rogers City: Visit the world’s largest shipping port, located on the northwestern shore of Lake Huron. The port is centrally located in the Great Lakes and is in close proximity to regional mineral mines and processing facilities, making it a midpoint of the major Great Lakes shipping lanes.

Other stops on the lawmakers’ tour include Saganing Eagles Landing Casino in Standish, the Secretary of State’s office, JJ’s Steak and Pizza House, Neiman’s Family Market, and LaFarge North America in Alpena, Mulligan’s Restaurant, the Michigan State Police post, and McLaren Northern Michigan Hospital in Cheboygan, and JoAnn’s Fudge Shop in Mackinaw City.

The tour also coincides with the start of the 41st annual Brown Trout Festival in Alpena.

Do you prefer sunrises or sunsets? Either way, make sure to enjoy tourist destinations on both sides of our beautiful state.

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Photo credit: derekp

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    1. Thanks for pointing this out! I never realized there was a difference in the city’s spelling. It’s been corrected.

      1. Every “Mackinac” north of the Lower Peninsula is spelled with a “c” (the Straits, Bridge, County, etc.). Every “Mackinaw” in the Lower Peninsula is spelled with a “w” …except for two structures: Fort Michilimackinac and the Old Mackinac Point Light[house].

  1. I was born & raised in Michigan. I grew up in Greenbush. Went to Oscoda Schools. My parents owned a resort in Greenbush. I loved it. I always enjoy reading about places near where I grew up .

  2. We vacation in the Oscoda / Greenbush area every summer, and would also recommend checking out Negwegon State Park. It is a few miles off of US-23 about half way between Harrisville and Alpena, and offers incredible hiking trails, as well as backcountry camping right on the shores of Lake Huron. It can be tricky to get to and requires driving down a narrow, sandy road, so if you are inclined to visit, make sure your vehicle is suitable for the road conditions.

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