The 2020 Pandemic has forced the cancellation of the Cheeseburger in Caseville Festival this year. The festival is late summer, fun-filled family event with plenty to do and see. However, there is only so much grass skirt, trinket stands, and cheeseburgers that one can handle for the multi-weekend event. What else is there to do in Michigan’s Upper Thumb? Here are some suggestions if you, or more likely the kids, have had enough fun with the parrot head life.
Note: Due to the current health safety concerns, some tours, events, and businesses may have altered hours or closed. Check with the business or site first.
#1 Tour a Michigan Wind Farm
The entire Thumb is a recognized regional leader in renewable energy. During festivals and special events DTE may offer tours of local wind farms. Watch for schedules in festival events and get a chance to get up close to these huge wind turbines. Alternatively you can check out our Michigan Wind Farm Map to see where local wind farms are in your area.
#2 Mini-Golf, Giant Slide and Go Karts in Caseville
Open – Key North offers classic fun and great photo and video opportunities The whole family or group of friends can race down a huge multi-lane slide or race on a huge go-kart track. Great for working off that extra cheeseburger and fries. Located on the south side of Caseville toward Bay Port. Open Mondays through Sundays from 11:00 a.m. – 9:00 p.m. (989) 856-2170
#3 Cruise to Charity Island
Service Suspended – Starting the summer of 2019, a tour boat will begin cruising the southern shore of Saginaw Bay. The 50-foot “Lady of the Lakes” operated by Captain Tom of Explorer Charters Cruises will have evening sunset and dinner cruises to Charity Island each weekend during the summer season. This is a great opportunity to get a different perspective from the water and visit an island that few have ventured.
Explorer Charters also offers other cruising opportunities from Port Austin during mid week. Explorer Charters can be reached at (989) 550-1234
#4 Paddle A Kayak to Turnip Rock
If its a calm day with little or no wave action rent some kayaks in Port Austin and paddle east to Turnip Rock or explore the formations of Broken Rocks west of the harbor. Both water trails are relatively easy to do and offer some great scenery. Turnip Rock can only be seen from the water so bring your waterproof camera for some great shots.
#5 Go Carts in Port Austin And Caseville
Open – The Upper Thumb now has two full-featured go-kart tracks. In Port Austin, The track is large and it’s ideal for a tasting of real racing. As an adult, you can take the little ones on a full-throttle ride around a great winding track. Check out Family Go Karts in Port Austin (586) 630-2014 south of town off of M-53. In Caseville, Key North Mini Golf and Family Fun Center, (989) 856-2170, sports the largest track in mid-Michigan. With 15 new karts and some two-seaters so mom or dad can drive the youngsters around that are too small to do it themselves.
#6 Miniature Golf in Caseville and Port Austin
All Open – There are numerous family-friendly mini-golf courses in Port Austin and Caseville. While the adults may think of these as trite and insignificant, the kids will remember these little family jaunts for a lifetime. Take advantage of these roadside attractions before they disappear to X Box video games. The biggest of the miniature golf circuit is Sandy Dunes Adventure Golf. (989) 738-6066. It’s a short drive east of Caseville this modern course sports Huron County’s largest, (and only), waterfall in the Thumb. Kooky Golf (989) 738-8612 is located in Port Austin has a cartoon theme and great for kids. Also in Port Austin is Tip of the Thumb Mini Golf, (989) 550-3185. This is a classic former Putt-Putt that was built in 1961.
#7 Visit a Working Fish Company in Bay Port
Open Limited Hours – Bayport Fish Company (989) 656-2121 – Visit one of the few remaining operational commercial fish operations on the Great Lakes. Purchase fresh fish on-site and watch the operations. (Hope you like the smell of fish). The Bay Port Commerical Fishing District is a National Historic Landmark and several of the original building remain as they have for over 100 years. Open seven days a week.
#8 Visit a Large Outdoor Farmers Market
Open – Port Austin Farmers Market – Open Saturday mornings during the summer season. Crafts, fresh locally produced fruits, fresh and smoked fish, vegetables, craft foods, and flea market items. Considered the largest open-air market in the Thumb. Located in downtown Port Austin about 20 minutes east of Caseville Mi on M-25.
#9 Visit a Huge Octagon Barn near Gagetown
Closed – Octagon Barn – The Thumb Octagon Barn Agricultural Museum, (989) 665-0081 is located in Tuscola County approximately 1 mile east of the Village of Gagetown along Bay City Forestville Road 1 mile north on Richie Road, just south of the Huron County border. The Thumb Octagon Barn complex is an agricultural museum and educational center open to individuals, families, and student groups to educate and stimulate awareness of our agricultural heritage. Its a great family activity.
#10 Huron City’s Living Museum
Call for Details – Huron City Museum (989) 428-4123 – See Huron County has it thrived in the late 1800s. The House of Seven Gables, a beautifully preserved Victorian home, sits on a bluff overlooking Lake Huron. The General Store, a Methodist church, an inn, and barns were built during the 1880s. With a post office, general store, a rooming house, and mills, Huron City were well equipped to serve the northern county farmer. Huron City is located about 30 minutes East of Caseville Mi off of M-25 Scenic Highway.
#11 Commune With Nature
Open – Huron County Nature Center & Wilderness Arboretum (989) 551-8400 – A 280 acre Nature Center established on a tract of untouched land in Hume Township, Michigan, the Huron County Nature Center and Wilderness Arboretum have been under the tender care of the Huron County Women’s Clubs since 1941. Located halfway between Caseville and Port Austin across from Oak Beach.
#12 Play on the Beach
All Parks Open – Hit the Beach – There are numerous public beaches throughout Huron County in which to cool off, enjoy a picnic while the kids play in the playground. Most beaches offer ample parking with some picnic tables, restrooms, and changing areas and grills for making your own cheeseburger.
#13 Hands-on History in Caseville
Activities Restricted – Caseville Museum (989) 856-9090 – Located just one block from Main Street in Caseville Michigan. You can see artifacts and local treasures from yesteryear. Special events are often held weekly and it offers a quick diversion from the crowds.
#14 Rush Lake and Sand Road ORV
Located just south of Sleeper State Park this unimproved road runs from Caseville Mi. to Port Austin by way of various roads and trails. If you have a 4×4 and want to try your hand at light off-roading this is worth an hour of looking around the woods. Sand Road is found about a mile south of the cross streets of M-23 and State Park Road. Be prepared. The road is sometimes impassable after rain and the sand can get deep. Only the most adventurous find the ancient and reedy Rush Lake. There are numerous hiking and biking paths. As most of this is on state land its best to have your State Park Passport and ORV sticker in case the DNR stops you.
#15 Ice Cream in Grindstone City
Escape the crazy crowds of Caseville Mi for an hour and explore another side of the Thumb. In Grindstone City there are two renowned ice cream shops. The Grindstone General Store and Rybak’s Ice Cream Store. Grindstone General Store is known for its insanely large ice cream cones while Rybak’s is the place for high-end ice cream and homemade candy. Both are located in historic buildings from the 1800’s Rybak’s large front porch is an ideal place to chat with friends and reminisce about your Cheeseburger day.
#16 Tour the Arts in Grindstone City and Bad Axe
Call – The Upper Thumb has two galleries, in Bad Axe the Lofty Roots Gallery and Studio opened in 2015 with six local artists exhibiting. In Port Austin, the Cove, (989) 738-0229, is located next to the Farmers Market. While in Grindstone City the White Church Gallery, (989) 738-0356, draws in artists from all over Michigan and Florida. Founded by Mike and Carrie Zaitz in a renovated 1800’s church. All of these galleries are excellent diversions from the Cheeseburger hangover and Caseville Mi.
#17 Enjoy a Distillery Tasting
The Shipwreck Distillery (989) 550-7083, is located just south of the Caseville Michigan downtown area on Caseville Road. The shop opening in August of 2018 and produces a full line is distilled spirits all made from locally grown grain and sugar beets. Enjoy a small tasting of each of Jim Stein’s small-batch spirits right in Caseville Mi. We particularly enjoyed the coconut flavored rum. Open weekends.
Caseville Michigan Related Reading
Upper Thumb Cottage Road Signs – If you’re driving along M-25 along the coast of Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay in the Upper Thumb you may start to notice a decorative version of “cottage sign art” that typically gets overlooked. These little gems of folksy creativity signal of what lay beyond and out of reach for those who are not invited, guests.
Plan a Day of Paddling in a Kayak – If the weather looks to keep Saginaw Bay calm and the winds low, consider a morning of paddling the waters of the Upper Thumb. The region offers some of the finest Michigan kayaking areas for both the novice and expert. Visit unique rock formations in the morning and have lunch at a local cafe by noon.
7 Things to Know About Paddling to Turnip Rock – One of the most amazing sites in the Upper Thumb is Turnip Rock. Carved over time by the force of constant wave action the soft limestone has been shaped to its namesake and separated from the mainland over thousands of years. CNN called it one of the Most Amazing Rock Formations in America and Pure Michigan featured it on its 2016 magazine cover
History of the Remote and Mysterious Charity Island – There it sits. A lush tree-lined island on the horizon of Saginaw Bay. Big & Little Charity Islands are ten miles from the southern shore of Saginaw Bay and Caseville Michigan. Except for the seasonal residents who live and host tours at the lighthouse keepers house, the island is uninhabited. These islands are considered by the US Fish and Wildlife Services one of the more remote and least visited islands in the Michigan Island National Wildlife Sanctuary