May 28, 2024
Things To Do In Oscoda Mi.

10 Things to Do in Oscoda MI – A Real Insiders Guide to the Best Attractions and Activities

Oscoda, Michigan, located on the beautiful shores of Lake Huron, offers a delightful mix of natural beauty, outdoor recreation, and cultural experiences. From the long stretches of sandy beaches to the scenic trails of the Huron National Forest, Oscoda is a prime destination for anyone looking to explore the Sunrise Side of Michigan. Here, we dive into the top attractions and activities that make Oscoda a great destination for visitors of all ages and interests.

Outdoor Adventures

Oscoda Beach Park

Oscoda Beach Park, with its beautiful beach, is a gem on the shores of Lake Huron. This park offers visitors a chance to enjoy the sandy beaches and crystal clear azure-striped waters of Lake Huron. Oscoda Beach Park, located just two blocks from downtown Oscoda, boasts 1,025 ft of Lake Huron lakeshore, perfect for sunbathing. It also offers an observation deck, a lighted boardwalk along the shoreline, and access to a streetscape pathway.

Furthermore, the park provides some of the best ADA and Wheelchair access to the Lake Huron shoreline in northern Michigan. Facilities include wooden ramps, a wide boardwalk, and a paved pier for up-close views of Lake Huron. The park also features a skateboard park, a small basketball court, a band shell, a pavilion, children’s play equipment and a splash pad, picnic tables and grills, benches, and a bathhouse with restrooms. A paved parking area is also available, and all facilities are handicapped accessible.

AuSable River Queen

The AuSable River Queen offers a unique experience on the Au Sable River, one of the top things to do in Oscoda. This paddlewheel riverboat, the only one in Northern Michigan, takes visitors on a scenic cruise offering breathtaking views of the surrounding natural beauty. The river cruise is not just about the views; it’s a great way to learn about the local ecosystem and the area’s history through the guided tour provided.

The boat features a heated lower deck, making it comfortable regardless of the weather, and a snack bar to enhance the cruising experience. The AuSable River Queen is a fantastic way for families, couples, and nature lovers to explore the tranquil waters and scenic shores of the Au Sable River.

Iargo Springs

Au Sable River Basin
Au Sable River Basin At Iargo Springs

Iargo Springs is a stunning natural attraction along the River Road National Scenic Byway in Oscoda, Michigan. This site offers a breathtaking view of the Au Sable River from observation decks connected by boardwalks and stairways that descend steeply to the natural springs below. Known for its picturesque scenic overlook, Iargo Springs features several large springs feeding small streams that flow into the river, creating a serene and almost mystical environment.

Visitors to Iargo Springs can enjoy the clear, cold waters historically revered by the Native Americans for their spiritual significance. The area is surrounded by lush forest, providing a fantastic, shaded retreat during the warmer months. Nature lovers will appreciate the abundance of flora and fauna, making it an excellent spot for bird-watching and nature photography. The site’s accessibility is enhanced by well-maintained wooden ramps and stairs, ensuring visitors can comfortably navigate the natural terrain and enjoy the panoramic views of the river and surrounding forest.

Lumberman’s Monument

Lumberman's Monument - Things To Do In Oscoda Mi

Lumberman’s Monument is a tribute to the loggers who played a crucial role in Michigan’s logging boom in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Situated also along the River Road National Scenic Byway, this monument provides insight into the history and impact of the logging industry in North America, particularly in Michigan. The site features a large statue of lumberjacks, which stands as a focal point amidst the scenic overlooks of the Au Sable River.

The monument area includes informative displays and exhibits that tell the story of the life of a lumberjack and the tools and techniques they used to fell, transport, and process timber. There is also a visitor center where guests can learn more through interactive exhibits and educational programs. Surrounding the monument are several hiking trails that lead visitors through the recovering forest landscape, which was once heavily logged but now serves as a reminder of natural regeneration and conservation.

Both Iargo Springs and Lumberman’s Monument offer unique opportunities to connect with Oscoda’s natural and historical heritage. They are ideal destinations for educational trips, relaxing outings, and picturesque walks, providing visitors with a deeper appreciation for Michigan’s rich history and the natural beauty of the Huron-Manistee National Forests.

Highbanks Trail

For hiking enthusiasts, the Highbanks Trail offers miles of trails through the lush forests of the Huron National Forest. This trail provides panoramic views of Lake Huron and is known for its vibrant fall colors and diverse wildlife, making it a fun spot for nature lovers to explore and spot wildlife (Travel Lens). The Highbanks Trail is one of the premier hiking destinations in Oscoda, Michigan, offering stunning views and a deep connection with the natural environment. Located within the Huron-Manistee National Forests, this trail is particularly famous for its elevated views over the Au Sable River, hence the name “Highbanks.”

Features and Scenery

The Highbanks Trail stretches for approximately 7 miles along the high banks of the Au Sable River, providing hikers with spectacular vistas of the river and the surrounding forested landscape. The trail is renowned for its breathtaking overlooks, where the river appears as a brilliant ribbon winding through the lush greenery. During the fall, these views are further enhanced by the vibrant autumn colors, making it a popular spot for photographers and nature enthusiasts.

Wildlife and Nature

The area is rich with diverse flora and fauna. Hikers can spot wildlife such as white-tailed deer, wild turkeys, and a variety of bird species, including the majestic bald eagles that nest in the region. The trail is also home to an array of plant species, from towering pines and oaks to delicate wildflowers that bloom in the spring and summer.

Recreational Activities

Beyond hiking, the Highbanks Trail offers several other recreational opportunities. It is a popular spot for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the winter, thanks to Michigan’s snowy season which transforms the trail into a winter wonderland. The trail also provides access points for fishing and canoeing along the Au Sable River, making it a well-rounded destination for outdoor sports enthusiasts.

Accessibility and Usage

The trail is well-maintained and marked, suitable for hikers of various skill levels. While the terrain is mostly gentle, there are sections with steeper inclines that offer a bit of a challenge. Parking lots are available at several points along the trail, providing easy access for visitors to start their hike at different sections of the trail.

Conservation and Community Involvement

The Highbanks Trail is not only a place for recreation but also an area of environmental importance. It is managed by the U.S. Forest Service, which conducts efforts to preserve the delicate ecosystems along the Au Sable River. Local community groups and volunteers also participate in maintaining the trail and ensuring that it remains a safe and welcoming place for all visitors.

For those visiting Oscoda, the Highbanks Trail represents a chance to experience the beauty of Northern Michigan’s outdoors. Whether you’re seeking a peaceful stroll beneath the trees, an exciting wildlife sighting, or a vigorous hike, the Highbanks Trail delivers with its natural beauty and serene atmosphere.

Au Sable River Road Scenic Byway

Au Sable River Road Scenic Byway

The River Road National Scenic Byway, stretching along the Au Sable River in Michigan, offers a remarkable journey through one of the state’s most beautiful landscapes. This 22-mile route winds from Oscoda on the shores of Lake Huron westward into the Huron-Manistee National Forests, providing scenic views and access to a wealth of recreational activities.

Water Adventures

Canoeing

Oscoda Canoe Rental

Take advantage of Oscoda’s crystal clear waters with a visit to Oscoda Canoe Rental. Located on the scenic Au Sable River, visitors can rent canoes or kayaks and glide along the water, enjoying the Lazy River of the North and the natural beauty surrounding them. This is an excellent activity for all skill levels, whether you’re looking for a leisurely ride or a bit of adventure. Situated along the river, this rental service offers a variety of options for enjoying one of Michigan’s most picturesque waterways, renowned for its clear, gentle waters and rich natural surroundings.

Canoe, Kayak and Tubing Tours on the Au Sable River

Oscoda Canoe Rental offers a variety of watercraft trips along the Au Sable River, with options ranging from 2 to 4 hours for canoes, kayaks, and tubing. They emphasize safety by regularly inspecting and licensing equipment and have strict policies against the intoxicated operation of watercraft. Reservations are recommended, especially on weekends, to ensure availability. The rental experience is enhanced by their knowledgeable staff and well-maintained equipment, making it a popular choice for both residents and visitors. For more details, you can visit their website.

Reservations are highly recommended to secure your spot for canoe, tube, or kayak rentals. Full payment for each is necessary, and there will be additional fees if you don’t reach your destination. Reservations are mandatory for weekend trips. A 30-day notice is needed for cancellations. One-day rentals must be returned by 6:00 p.m. to avoid late fees, as per U.S. Forest Service Regulation. Unfortunately, no refunds will be given for bad weather.

Cultural and Historical Attractions

Eric Friedebach, Cc By 2.0, Via Wikimedia Commons
F-89J “Scorpion” – Eric FriedebachCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Wurtsmith Air Museum

For aviation enthusiasts, the Wurtsmith Air Museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of military aviation associated with the Oscoda area. The museum features a collection of aircraft and memorabilia that highlights the significant role of Wurtsmith Air Force Base in national defense.

Wurtsmith Air Museum is a significant cultural and historical attraction in Oscoda, Michigan, dedicated to preserving and showcasing the history of the Wurtsmith Air Force Base and its role in U.S. military aviation. The museum is located on the grounds of the former Wurtsmith Air Force Base, which played a crucial role during the Cold War era and was operational until its closure in 1993.

Exhibits and Collections

The museum’s collection includes a variety of aircraft, artifacts, and displays that tell the story of the base’s operational history, the people who served there, and the impact it had on local and national history. Among the aircraft on display are fighters, bombers, and cargo planes, some of which played pivotal roles during significant military conflicts. These static aircraft displays are a major draw for aviation enthusiasts and provide an up-close look at the technology and engineering of different eras.

Interactive and Educational Displays

Wurtsmith Air Force Base Main Gate
Wurtsmith Air Force Base Main Gate c1972 – United States Air Force, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons

Wurtsmith Air Museum offers a range of interactive displays and educational exhibits designed to engage visitors of all ages. These exhibits cover topics such as the base’s strategic importance during the Cold War, daily life on the base, and the technological advancements in aviation developed during its operation. The museum also provides insights into the roles of various military personnel and the challenges they faced during their service.

The Wurtsmith Air Museum houses thousands of artifacts, including a WWI uniform with documented history, a local WWI pilot’s flight manual and dog tags, the Norden Bomb Sight, submarine models, and information on the Tuskegee Airmen Training in Oscoda. The museum also features materials related to the movie “Fighter Squadron”, the Korean War, the Coast Guard and Merchant Marine, and the Vietnam War – including uniforms, medals, patches, and a local 4-star general display.

It showcases the role of women in the military and information about the KC-135 crash at Wurtsmith in 1988. The museum also details Kalitta Air’s history and offers a “Bombs Away” DVD by Ric Mixter, which includes his flight on the last B-52 to leave WAFB, “Old Crow Express”.

Visiting the Museum

The museum is open to the public during the warmer months of the year, from May through October, and offers guided tours that are informative and tailored to the interests of different visitor groups. Its location in Oscoda makes it easily accessible for tourists visiting the area, and it serves as an educational complement to the recreational activities available in the region. Admission is $7 for adults, $3 for kids, Children 5 and under are free.

Dining and Shopping

Downtown Oscoda - Tenpoundhammer, Cc By 2.0, Via Wikimedia Commons
Downtown Oscoda Mi – TenPoundHammerCC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

Dining, Pubs and Pizza in Oscoda

Oscoda presents a wide array of options, from casual bites to more refined cuisine. You can enjoy everything from classic American dishes and Italian favorites to fresh seafood and steaks. Notable mentions include Tait’s Bill of Fare, known for its cozy atmosphere and varied menu featuring American classics​ ​, and G’s Pizzeria & Deli which offers delicious Italian dishes and pizza​​. For those looking for a casual dining experience with sports and live music, The Office Lounge & Grill offers a range of pub foods and a friendly atmosphere​.

Shopping – Gifts and Java

When it comes to shopping, Downtown Oscoda delights with its shops, offering everything from local art and unique gift items to specialty foods and yoga classes. Noteworthy spots include To the Moon & Back, which sells local art and unique gifts and doubles as a yoga studio​. Additionally, Sunrise Kava Cafe, an espresso bar, provides a great spot to relax and enjoy various specialty coffee drinks and fresh pastries, perfect for starting your day or taking a shopping break​.

Unique Businesses

For something unique, visit Enchanted Blooms for fresh flowers and distinct garden gifts. This shop is especially popular for its display gardens, showcasing plants that thrive in the local climate​.

Whether you’re looking for a tasty meal or a unique shopping experience, Downtown Oscoda provides a welcoming atmosphere with plenty to offer. Visitors often enjoy the mix of friendly local businesses and the beautiful natural surroundings that make Oscoda memorable.

Seasonal Events and Activities

Oscoda is vibrant with activities year-round, hosting events catering to various interests. From the thrilling Au Sable River Canoe Marathon, elite paddlers from around the globe take on a challenging, relentless 120-mile canoe race that begins in Grayling and concludes in Oscoda. They grapple with portages, darkness, and exhaustion while journeying through the picturesque and demanding route.

To the Oscoda Arts & Crafts Show, the town always has something exciting going on. For over 40 years this even has offered Art On The Beach.

Summer

Summer in Oscoda is bustling with activities, particularly at Oscoda Beach Park. The park hosts the “Art on the Beach” event, a longstanding tradition featuring original artworks from regional artists. Additionally, every Thursday from July through August, you can enjoy live music for free at the Oscoda Rotary Bandshell. For movie enthusiasts, the “Movies by the Pier” series offers free films on the beach on Wednesday nights in July and August. Also, anglers might be interested in participating in or watching the Michigan Walleye Tour Tournament in July​ (oscoda)​.

Fall

The autumn season is particularly beautiful, marked by the changing leaves along the River Road National Scenic Byway. This is a perfect time to visit the various overlooks and enjoy the vibrant fall colors. Events like the Oscoda Rockfest in September celebrate local and national rock music and contribute to community projects like the Veteran Memorial Park Fund. Additionally, the quirky and fun Bigfoot Bash offers a unique blend of expert talks and family-friendly activities centered around the legendary forest creature​ (oscoda)​​ (oscodachamber)​​ (oscodachamber)​.

Winter and Spring

While specific winter events weren’t highlighted in the search results, Oscoda’s proximity to natural landscapes like the Huron National Forest makes it ideal for winter sports such as snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. The area offers robust outdoor activities as spring arrives, from hiking on local trails to enjoying the burgeoning wildlife​ (Michigan)​.

Each season in Oscoda offers residents and visitors a chance to engage with the community and enjoy the natural beauty of this region of Michigan. Whether you’re interested in arts, music, outdoor activities, or unique local events, Oscoda provides a year-round calendar filled with opportunities to explore and enjoy.

Final Thoughts about Finding Things To Do in Oscoda Mi

Oscoda, Michigan, is a destination with endless adventure, relaxation, and cultural enrichment opportunities. Whether you’re lounging on the beautiful beaches, exploring scenic trails, or enjoying the local dining scene, Oscoda provides a perfect backdrop for making lasting memories. So, pack your bags and head to this charming town on the Sunrise Side of Michigan for an unforgettable escape. Don’t forget to check the Oscoda Chamber of Commerce website for the latest updates on attractions and events.

Avatar Of Michaela Nolte

Michaela Nolte

Michaela is a history buff and loves to export historical markers and old buildings and seeks stories about Michigan and Great Lakes history. When she is not writing, you can find her with a good book sipping wine on the beach.

View all posts by Michaela Nolte →

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