We kicked off Betsy’s birthday week celebration with a trip to Port Huron in an attempt to satisfy her two birthday requests: beach time and adventure time. Technically she had a third request, a Kate Spade purse, but that doesn’t really line up well with our travel blog does it?
Fort Gratiot Lighthouse
Last year we went on a Michigan Fall Color and Lighthouse Tour so we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to explore the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse. It is located just a short drive off of I-94 along Lake Huron. The Fort Gratiot’s Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in Michigan and the 2nd oldest on the Great Lakes. The lighthouse is open year round but the hours vary based upon the season. It is free to view the lighthouse and tour the grounds but there is a fee for the official tour and to climb the lighthouse. Unfortunately we were not able to partake in the tour and climb because we were both wearing sandals and closed toe shoes were required. We did however, take in the sights and stop in at the gift shop. For those of you who are beach buffs like Betsy, there is a small beach near the lighthouse.
Lakeport State Park
We opted to forgo the beach near the lighthouse and instead made our way over to Lakeport State Park which is where Chris spent a lot of time during his childhood. Lakeport State Park is a Michigan State Park that offers beach access and camping. A Recreation Passport is required to enter ($11 annual fee) or you can purchase a daily pass for $9. We entered the park on the east side of Lakeshore Rd and walked over the bridge to the park. In addition to the beach there is a large grassy area with picnic tables, grills, play areas, bathrooms etc. The beach area is not large but it is clean and scenic. An added bonus is that you can see freighters going by in the distance. This was Betsy’s first time at Lakeport but it won’t be her last. You should give it a try too!
Freighters Eatery & Taproom
We love restaurants that provide an experience and not just a meal. Freighters Eatery & Taproom was the perfect fit for our lunch as it sits along the St Clair River overlooking the Blue Water Bridge. We were seated at a great table by the windows so we were able to see the freighters as they passed by. The food was excellent too and the menu had a wide variety of offerings with a focus on local Michigan items. Betsy had the Chicken Caesar Salad and Chirs had the Mac and Cheese. Both were excellent choices. We also both had a Faygo Float.
The restaurant is connected to a hotel which is near the Blue Water River Walk. We recommend parking down by the River Walk and then walking across the street to the restaurant. After lunch we walked the River Walk and saw several more freighters as well as many pieces of artwork. It is a fun little area to visit!
Our last stop of our day trip was a visit to Lexington. Lexington is a small beach town just north of Port Huron. We heard that it was a good place to visit so we thought we would give it a try.
We discovered that it has a cute downtown area with unique shops and small restaurants. We also visited the beach area which was very small and very crowded when we visited. The beach had a nice boardwalk to walk on, a playground area, a marina and an ice cream shop. While we had a good time in Lexington it was a little too crowded for our tastes. We preferred the beach at Lakeport State Park and our time in Port Huron over the craziness of Lexington.
Betsy: I was surprised with how much I liked Port Huron. I had only passed through before on my way to Canada and I didn’t realize it had so much to offer. I grew up just south of Mackinaw City so I spent much of my summers at the beach. While I love living in the Detroit Area, I ‘ve always missed having a nice beach to go to. Lakeport is small but nice so I will definitely be spending a lot of time there now that I am aware of it. I also loved the River Walk in Port Huron. It was fun seeing the freighters up close while taking a leisurely walk along the water. Lexington on the other hand was not a good fit for me.
Chris: While technically, we’re just minutes from Lake St Clair… the beach nearby really isn’t a great place to go swimming. Lake Huron is so much “cleaner” and it’s really not that far of a drive for us… I can’t believe I haven’t taken Betsy up there sooner. Growing up we’d go to Lakeport every summer but I haven’t been back there in years so I was surprised how much Port Huron has changed since way back when. I’m sure we’ll make multiple treks up that way this summer for sure.