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Oscoda, MI is undeniably our top pick along the entire Michigan coastline. It’s not just because we’ve had our happiest moments on the pristine shores of Lake Huron, where we’ve enjoyed swimming and splashing in the crystal-clear water, indulging in paddleboarding and sailing amidst the breathtaking blue expanse, and scouring the sandy beach for precious Petoskey stones and other treasures.

Oscoda’s Natural Beauty

What truly captivates us is the unassuming charm of Oscoda’s Lake Huron shoreline, stretching from Tawas to Cheboygan. This stretch boasts some of the most naturally beautiful vacation spots in pure Michigan. In the Oscoda area, which also includes Harrisville and Greenbush, you’ll find everything you need for a rejuvenating and enjoyable Michigan getaway.

beach in oscoda

Discovering Oscoda, MI

Oscoda is a town completely surrounded by water. To the east lies Lake Huron, while the west is embraced by the AuSable River and its expansive reservoirs. To the north, Van Etten Lake, a paradise for fishing enthusiasts, awaits. The downtown area is dotted with delightful ice cream parlors, restaurants, cozy bars, and charming small stores. Additionally, a lovely beachfront park with over 1,000 feet of soft sand coastline adds to the town’s allure.

beaches oscoda

An Overview of Oscoda, MI

Oscoda, located in Iosco County, boasts long stretches of sandy beaches and shallow, azure-striped waters that are remarkably clear. The overall relaxed atmosphere, combined with the stunning beauty of Lake Huron, makes it an ideal destination for a memorable beach vacation in Michigan. Notably, Oscoda is situated at the mouth of the AuSable River, which meanders nearly 140 miles through the Huron National Forest in Oscoda County before reaching Lake Huron.

Outdoor Activities and Attractions

Nature lovers will be enthralled by the Huron Manistee National Forest, a playground offering trails, dunes for hiking, scenic overlooks, dam-formed ponds resembling lakes, and even natural springs. All these wonders are located within Oscoda Township, and a drive along River Road, a nationally recognized scenic byway, reveals abundant opportunities for various outdoor recreational activities.

Honoring History and Aviation

Once home to Wurtsmith Air Force Base, Oscoda pays tribute to its past through the Wurtsmith Air Museum, dedicated to preserving the area’s aviation history and the legacy of the air force base. This museum is an enjoyable and educational destination for visitors of all ages.

things to do in oscoda mi

Notable Features of Oscoda, MI

The beaches in Oscoda, as well as nearby Greenbush and Harrisville, are among Michigan’s best-kept secrets. Families from all over the country and beyond flock to these serene and welcoming beaches. Oscoda Beach Park, located in downtown Oscoda, offers excellent ADA and wheelchair access to the Lake Huron shoreline. With its wooden ramps, a wide boardwalk, a pathway to the water’s edge, and a paved pier for fishing or observing the lake, the park is a beautiful spot to relax and enjoy the lake’s splendors.

Events and Natural Wonders

One notable event is the Au Sable River Canoe Marathon, a 120-mile canoe race that commences in Grayling, MI and concludes near the shores of Lake Huron in downtown Oscoda. This annual July event attracts participants and spectators from around the globe. Moreover, the Huron National Forest, spanning nearly one million acres of public land, offers abundant opportunities for outdoor recreation such as hunting, hiking, camping, nature-viewing, bicycling, snowmobiling, swimming, cross-country skiing, boating, and fishing.

A Glimpse of History

Within the Huron-Manistee National Forest, the Lumbermans Monument stands as a 14-foot tall bronze statue paying homage to the area’s rich logging history. Explore the scenic area by following the hiking trail, details of which can be accessed here or obtained from the visitors bureau. Traveling along the River Road Scenic Byway will lead you to this remarkable monument.

oscoda michigan

Harrisville and Greenbush

If you relish the experience of swimming and frolicking along a shoreline where the water is so clear that every sandy ripple is visible, Harrisville and Greenbush are your ideal destinations.

Harrisville, MI

Harrisville is a charming harbor town that entices visitors with its natural charm and beauty. Despite its small size, it offers everything you need for a delightful visit. You can enjoy fantastic coffee at the local coffee shop, savor a sandwich at the nearby deli, and treat yourself to delicious ice cream, all within a leisurely walk from the harbor. Harrisville State Park, with its pet-friendly shoreline, ranks among Michigan’s most popular state parks.

Greenbush, MI

Greenbush, located in Alcona County, is a true paradise for vacationers. With its stunning sandy beaches, clear and warm shallow waters, it has been a beloved destination for those in the know for many years. While much of the shoreline is privately owned, there are public access points available. Fortunately, travelers can find reasonably priced resorts and rentals that cater to their needs.

Ideal Weather in Oscoda

Oscoda boasts dreamlike weather during the warm summer months, from May through mid-September. Pleasantly warm temperatures range from 70°F to 90°F, creating an inviting environment for swimming in the shallow bays, where the water reaches the perfect temperature for a refreshing dip.

Michigan’s Sunrise Side

Lake Huron is famously known as Michigan’s “Sunrise Side” due to its east-facing coast. Witnessing the radiant sun emerge from the water is an awe-inspiring sight, best experienced by rising just before dawn. The vast, open beaches of Oscoda, Greenbush, and Harrisville provide ideal vantage points for visitors to behold this breathtaking natural wonder.

Top Beaches in the Oscoda, MI Area

Au Sable Shoreline Park

Features: Beach, Swimming, Restrooms, Playground, Picnic Area, Grills, Gazebo

Greenbush Public Access Beach

Features: Beach, Swimming

Harrisville State Park

Features: Beach, ADA-Accessible, Swimming, Dog-Friendly, Picnic Area, Softball Diamond, Horseshoe Pits, Volleyball Court, Basketball Court, Playground

Oscoda Park Beach

Features: Beach, ADA-Accessible, Swimming, Restrooms, Splash Pad, Playground, Picnic Area, Skateboard Park, Basketball Court, Band shell, Pavilion, Grills, Benches, Bathhouse

Three Mile Beach Park

Features: Beach, Swimming, Restrooms, Picnic Tables, Grills

Beaches with ADA Accessibility in Oscoda and Harrisville

Oscoda Beach Park

Description: This beautiful park is situated along the Lake Huron shore and provides universal access to over 1,000 feet of pristine sandy beach. A wide wooden ramp leads from the parking lot to an even wider boardwalk that extends across the beach. Additionally, a wheelchair-friendly beach mat stretches along the beach and leads directly to the water. At the north end of the park, there is a universally accessible fishing pier and observation deck with benches.

Harrisville State Park

Description: Access to Lake Huron is made possible through an accessible walkway that leads to the water’s edge.

Dog-Friendly Beaches in the Oscoda Area

Harrisville State Park

Description: Dogs on leashes are permitted on trails and in a designated section of the beach.

Oscoda Beach Park

Description: Leashed dogs are welcome at this stunning park.

Best Lake Huron Beachtowns

Visitors to Oscoda, Greenbush, and Harrisville, MI are in for a delightful experience, especially those traveling by car. As you drive north on the main highway, US 23, you’ll be mesmerized by the breathtaking views of Lake Huron. Oscoda and Harrisville have done an excellent job of maintaining open and accessible shorelines for visitors.

One of the prime beach areas is Three Mile Beach Park, which offers ample space for the public to enjoy miles of soft sand for swimming and play. The park also provides amenities such as grills, picnic tables, and restrooms for added convenience.

Downtown Oscoda, MI

Oscoda, MI is a perfect destination for family fun. Situated along the shores of Lake Huron and intersected by the Au Sable River, there are abundant opportunities for water sports like swimming, boating, paddling, tubing, and more.

The downtown shopping area offers something for everyone, including ice cream shops, a fantastic bakery/café, restaurants, and more, all within walking distance from the beachfront. Take a leisurely stroll through the beautifully landscaped downtown Oscoda streets adorned with flower baskets overflowing with vibrant petunias. Here are three must-visit spots in Oscoda, MI:

Enchanted Blooms: This lovely shop, just steps from the beach, offers a variety of fresh-cut and garden flowers, as well as other delightful gifts. Take a moment to wander through their garden path and explore their impressive collection of healthy perennial plants.

Parkside Dairy: Located next to a charming little park with benches, Parkside Dairy serves hand-dipped and soft-serve ice cream. It’s a perfect spot to satisfy your sweet tooth.

Sunrise Kava Cafe: Known for serving some of the best coffee in the area, Sunrise Kava Cafe also offers freshly-baked cookies, brownies, and other delicious treats. Don’t miss their sandwiches, wraps, and breakfast burritos, which are highlights of their menu.

Downtown Harrisville, MI

Experience the charm of an old-fashioned town and be sure to visit these three spots in Harrisville, MI:

Alcona Coffee Company: Located on Main Street, Alcona Coffee Company prides itself on offering the finest coffee in the region. They meticulously roast their coffee in small batches, including a range of house blends and rare varietals.

Dockside Cafe: Situated on beautiful Main Street in Harrisville, Dockside Cafe serves breakfast and lunch all day. Their menu offers a great selection, from Sausage Burritos and Biscuits and Gravy to Turkey Paninis and Homemade soups.

Dragonfly Art Gallery: This gallery showcases a diverse collection of artwork created by local artists. The exhibited works include oils, acrylics, pastels, watercolors, pen and ink, mixed media, photography, pottery, and jewelry. Many of the artists have received recognition at regional and national levels for their exceptional art.

Where to Stay in Oscoda, Greenbush, and Harrisville, MI

The family-friendly shores of Lake Huron offer a range of independently-owned and operated rental cabins to suit various budgets. For a list of places to stay in Oscoda, visit the Oscoda Area Convention and Visitors Bureau website. Additionally, you can find privately-owned beachfront cabins available for rent on platforms like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO.

lake huron lighthouse

Things to Do in the Oscoda Area

Sturgeon Point Lighthouse: This nearly 150-year-old lighthouse continues to illuminate the shoreline with its custom-made fresnel lens from France, which is still maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. The former light keeper’s house now serves as a maritime museum, open to the public from Memorial Day to mid-September. Visitors can explore the lighthouse tower, walk the grounds, and also visit the nearby Bailey School, a one-room schoolhouse dating back to 1907. The long spit of sand and rock at Sturgeon Point offers magnificent views of the Lake Huron shoreline.

Au Sable River Canoe Marathon: Known as one of the greatest canoe races in the world, the Au Sable River Canoe Marathon covers 120 miles of paddling and portaging over rivers and dams, including challenging uphill and downhill sections. Starting in Grayling, MI, and ending along the shores of Lake Huron, this July event is a highlight for visitors. More than 50,000 spectators line the Au Sable riverbanks to cheer on the paddling teams. The event features additional activities such as youth canoe races, a 10K run, concerts, an antique car show, a parade, concessions, and an arts & crafts show. Even if canoeing isn’t your interest, the festive atmosphere and exciting finish make it a must-attend event.