15 Best Things to Do in Cheboygan, MI - Travel Lens (2024)

Charming beaches and tall lighthouses have already become part of the identity of the city of Cheboygan, Michigan.

Bounded by the enormous Lake Huron, Cheboygan promises great water adventures and activities for travelers.

In the early 1800s, the county seat of Cheboygan County was called Duncan, then, later on, changed its name to “Cheboygan,” a term believed to mean “the river that comes out of the ground.”

This Michigan city also became a center of commerce, tourism, and manufacturing development.

Best visited during summer, Cheboygan is also home to many parks and open spaces where you can stroll, hike, or walk with your pets.

It is a lovely place to explore.

If you are planning your next trip, here are the best things to do in Cheboygan, Michigan:

Take a Stroll to the Cheboygan Crib Lighthouse

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Another main attraction at Gordon Turner Park is the iconic Cheboygan Crib Lighthouse.

The structure has appeared in several Cheboygan postcards, showing its importance to the city.

Started in the 1880s, the Cheboygan Crib Lighthouse was initially erected on a landfill and used light powered by kerosene.

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Over the years, lighting here was improved until automated light was installed.

You can walk along the beach to visit the lighthouse and spend a few minutes on the boardwalk to enjoy the beauty of Lake Huron.

Guided tours to the Cheboygan Crib Lighthouse are also offered to visitors.

Enjoy Nature at Gordon Turner Park

Gordon Turner Park promises its visitors a serene place to be with nature.

The city park along N Huron Street got its name from journalist and historian Gordon Turner.

He worked as a reporter for the Cheboygan Daily Tribune, writing meaningful pieces about the city.

You can enjoy a vast picnic area at the park, a spot for swimming on the beach, a boardwalk, and a playground for kids.

Gordon Turner Park also has an observation tower for bird and wildlife watching.

A vast cattail marsh is also one of the park’s highlights where these tall plants thrive.

These are harvested and used for cow bedding.

Buy Fresh Produce at the Cheboygan Farmers Market

Are you looking for fresh produce in Cheboygan?

Head to its new location in Downtown Cheboygan at Festival Square and discover the Cheboygan Farmers Market, which offers fresh farm products to customers.

More than 20 vendors have stalls here and sell vegetables, fruits, dairy products, plants, fish, pastries, and other baked goodies.

Depending on the season, fruits and vegetables are sold at the farmers’ market.

Some typical offerings are beets, cabbage, carrots, cucumber, eggplants, tomatoes, and squash.

Local produce abounds in this market, supporting local farmers and promoting their products.

Camp and Hike at the Cheboygan State Park

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Situated along Beach Road, Cheboygan State Park is a must-visit destination for campers and adventurers.

The beach view and the lighthouse scenery are incomparable sights when camping.

Cheboygan State Park has more than 70 campsites which all have electricity.

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Focused Adventures / Shutterstock.com

You can set up traditional tents and RVs at the park, but there is a limit of two vehicles per site.

While camping, you can also try fishing on Grass Bay and the adjacent Little Bill Elliott Creek, teeming with pan fish, trout, smallmouth bass, and largemouth bass.

Dogs are allowed at the Cheboygan State Park, provided they are kept on a leash.

The beach area, however, prohibits animals from entering.

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prettyemmy, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Take Home Souvenirs from Sea Shell City

Gift your loved ones at home with quality souvenirs from the Sea Shell City along Levering Road.

The quaint store has almost all kinds of seashells, like chank shells, nautilus shells, decorative shells, and other novelties.

Relocated to Cheboygan in 1963, Sea Shell City is a paradise for collectors of sea shells and novelty items.

Postcards, wind chimes, wood figures, figurines, and other unique gift items.

If you want to buy some novelty items, Sea Shell City is open daily from April 1 until the 3rd week of October.

Do not miss some great things you can take home after your trip to Sea Shell City.

Explore the Bottom of Lake Huron with Nautical North Family Adventures

A glass-bottom shipwreck adventure awaits you at the Nautical North Family Adventures in Cheboygan Village Marina.

The tour company offers narrated shipwrecked tours on Lake Huron.

Hopping aboard the Yankee Sunshine vessel, you will explore shipwrecks from way back in the 1890s.

The glass bottom of the Yankee Sunshine allows adventurers to peek into these shipwrecks and also learn about the history of each wreck.

You can also try snorkeling to see the wreckages up close while your other companions watch you from the vessel.

Aside from the shipwreck tours, Nautical North Family Adventures also offer river cruises, lighthouse tours, scuba diving, and kayaking.

These activities are tailor-made for your adventurous souls.

Discover Local History at the Cheboygan County History Center

Along Huron Street is a museum complex with historical structures reliving the past of Cheboygan County through architecture and other memorabilia.

Inside the Cheboygan County History Center, you will find the Spies Heritage Hall highlighting the various industries that thrived in Cheboygan, including logging, tourism, and lighting.

Another attraction here is the native American log cabin which symbolizes native communities in Cheboygan.

For the 1912 Jail and 1880 Sheriff Residence, you will see a restored structure that served as a residence for sheriffs and their families.

Tours are available for groups visiting the museum complex.

Bring your friends or your entire family for a great historical experience at the Cheboygan County History Center.

Watch Entertaining Performances at the Cheboygan Opera House

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If you love watching theatrical plays and shows, the Cheboygan Opera House is the best place to visit in the city.

Established in the late 1870s, the opera house was a vital part of Cheboygan’s history at a time when lumber was its primary source of income.

The Victorian theater was gutted by fire twice before it was restored and remodeled in 1984.

Now, the theater continues to be a big part of the community as it offers different forms of entertainment to the people, like musicals, movie screenings, and concerts.

The Cheboygan Area Arts Council now runs the Cheboygan Opera House and continues to promote the city’s culture through the arts.

Hike and Ski at the Black Mountain Recreation Area

The Black Mountain Recreation Area along Old State Road is a place to explore if you love the outdoors.

The recreation area is home to more than 30 miles of trails for hiking and skiing, with levels ranging from easy to complex.

Adventurers taking these trails for a hike or ski will enjoy charming views of the lake, pine trees, and majestic landscape surrounding the Black Mountain Recreation Area.

Apart from hiking or skiing, you can also try horseback riding along the trails.

During the winter, snowmobiling is also a favorite activity in this tourist attraction.

You can also go bird hunting at the Black Mountain Recreation Area or go out of the Black Lake for a fishing adventure.

The Black Mountain Recreation Area has more than enough exciting activities to try and explore during your visit.

Appreciate Nature’s Beauty at the Grass Bay Preserve

Wildlife and various plant species flourish in the two-mile area of the Grass Bay Preserve along US 23.

Several wildflower varieties also thrive in the area, whose wetlands, swamps, forests, and shorelines are always worth the visit.

Discovered in 1978, the Grass Bay Preserve is also the perfect spot to go birdwatching for migratory ones.

The place is also where unique orchid and tree species are abundant.

Drop by this attraction in Cheboygan during your trip.

However, the place does not allow pets and reminds visitors to avoid swimming, removing rocks, trees, and camping.

Set up Camp at the Waterways Campground

Scenic landscape views of the Cheboygan River will greet you at the Waterways Campground along M-33.

You can either set up your tents or bring your RVs to their spacious campsite.

The place is also full of amenities, including provision for electricity, picnic tables, firewood, playgrounds, free WiFi Access, restrooms, and showers.

While camping, you can also try other activities at the camp, like hiking, biking, fishing, and boating.

Pets are also allowed on the property but should be limited to two people per group of eight.

Enjoy a night campfire while munching on marshmallows, crackers, and chocolate at the Waterways Campground.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Cheboygan also sits amid beautiful destinations just a few minutes away.

Most of these attractions offer unique experiences to visitors traveling solo or with big groups.

They are guaranteed to make your trip to Cheboygan more exciting and fun.

Side trips to nearby destinations will also give you a broader understanding of the place’s history and beauty.

If you are up to exploring other places aside from Cheboygan, here are some of the things you can do in adjacent cities and localities.

Explore the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum

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Established in 2006, the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum is a former icebreaker used during World War II to carry arms and other war-related materials.

Located 23 minutes from Cheboygan, the Icebreaker Mackinaw Maritime Museum sits along S Huron Avenue, Mackinaw City.

The 290-foot-long icebreaker was decommissioned after more than 60 years of being used as a shipping vessel.

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Peter K Burian, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Mackinaw City residents took the initiative to preserve the ship and turn it into a museum.

A visit to the museum will take you on a tour of impressive maritime displays, including engines, charts, tools, and equipment of the USCG Cutter Mackinaw WAGB 8.

While onboard this maritime museum, you can also explore the other rooms on deck, like the mess hall, engine room, and captain’s quarters.

Check Out the Artifacts at the Mackinaw Bridge Museum

Located about 20 minutes from Cheboygan, the Mackinaw Bridge Museum houses tools and equipment used to build the Mackinac Bridge.

The museum began with its first collections: the spinning wheel used to build the bridge and a film on its construction.

From there, donations of items related to the bridge building started pouring in, like photographs, documents, and diving gear.

Admission to the Mackinaw Bridge Museum is free.

You can also dine at the adjacent Mama Mia’s Pizza which serves tacos, pasta, subs, and homemade pizzas.

The museum is at Mackinaw City, Michigan, 21 minutes from Cheboygan.

Visit the Cross in the Woods National Shrine

Cheboygan is home to one of the well-known religious shrines in Michigan, the Cross in the Woods National Shrine in Indian River, Michigan, 27 minutes from Cheboygan.

Started in 1954, the shrine took its inspiration from a Mohawk-turned-Christian who made crosses and placed them in the woods to allow people to pray in front of them.

After a 20-minute drive from Cheboygan, you will see the 55-foot cross with the bronze image of Jesus on the Indian River.

It is part of the national shrine with a Way of the Cross, including other statues like Saint Peregrine, Saint Francis of Assisi, the Holy Family, Our Lady of the Highway, and many others.

Aside from the shrines of saints, there is also a doll museum at the Cross in the Woods National Shrine.

It houses more than 500 dolls of nuns and priests from different orders and clergy.

Final Thoughts

History and nature take precedence during a trip to Cheboygan, Michigan.

The community is full of nature experiences and activities for people who love to seek adventure.

It is also rich in historical tours and landmarks, cementing the city’s identity in history books.

Check out the best things to do in Cheboygan!

15 Best Things to Do in Cheboygan, MI - Travel Lens (2024)

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