Great Lakes Direct

Port Austin, Michigan

Where is Port Austin?

Port Austin is a small village in Huron County located at the tip of what is commonly known as 'the thumb' in the 'mitten' shape of Michigan.

Its location right on the shores of Lake Huron allows residents and visitors to experience both sunrise and sunset over the water.

Port Austin has a population of less than 700 inhabitants, while the surrounding Port Austin township includes settlements east along the lakeshore towards Grindstone City and the famous Turnip Rock (although that is actually part of the tiny Pointe Aux Barques township).

Turnip Rock near Port Austin, Michigan
Turnip Rock near Port Austin, Michigan

The Port Austin township also includes some of the quiet sandy beaches to the west on the way to Port Crescent State Park.

How to get to Port Austin

Nearest airport to Port Austin

The most convenient airport for Port Austin is Detroit Metro Airport, which is the largest and busiest in the state. It is the only one worth considering for long-distance and international flights.

Smaller alternatives are available at Flint, Lansing and Grand Rapids.

Distance to Bishop International Airport (Flint): 110 miles
Distance to Detroit Metro Airport: 141 miles
Distance to Capital Region International Airport (Lansing): 163 miles
Distance to Gerald R. Ford International Airport (Grand Rapids): 213 miles

Driving to Port Austin

The M-25 highway heads west along the shoreline of the 'thumb' in the direction of Bay City and east around towards Port Huron.

The M-53 highway leads due south from Port Austin towards Detroit.

Things to see and do in Port Austin

Visitors to the area should first make a stop at the Port Austin Welcome Center is located in front of the Port Austin State Harbor. It is open every day for visitors to pick up brochures and staffed four mornings a week.

Port Austin History Center

The History Center is located on the road out of Port Austin towards Pointe aux Barques and is open in the summer months. It includes some historic buildings and displays of local history and crafts.

Turnip Rock

The famous Turnip Rock can only be reached by water as the land access is on private property. Those taking a boat or kayak have a seven-mile round trip to the area with its rock formations and sea caves. They will also pass the Port Austin Reef Light. Normally open for tours, the offshore lighthouse is closed for restoration at the time of writing.

Short video from Pure Michigan showing a kayak trip to Turnip Rock

Kayaks can be rented and boat tours to Turnip Rock can be booked from providers in Port Austin.

Port Crescent State Park

Port Crescent State Park is five miles southwest of Port Austin and has a three-mile sandy beach with a short hiking trail. It is a Dark Sky Preserve once the sun goes down and offers cross-country ski trails in the winter.

Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse

The Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse is situated about 13 miles to the east of Port Austin in Port Hope. It is one of the oldest lighthouses in Michigan, dating back to 1848, and is still active. The museum and gift shop are open in the summer months and the tower can be climbed on certain dates.

Pointe aux Barques lighthouse in Port Hope
Pointe aux Barques lighthouse in Port Hope

Other Lake Huron Towns in Michigan

Mackinaw City, MI

Mackinaw City

Mackinaw City is a popular tourist destination located at the northern tip of Michigan's Lower Peninsula and is a gateway to the Upper Peninsula as well as nearby Mackinac Island. Visitors can also explore the nearby Colonial Michilimackinac State Park, which offesrs historic sites and reenactments.

Alpena, MI


Alpena is a city located on the Thunder Bay River, which flows into Lake Huron. It is the main gateway for the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, which is home to more than 100 shipwrecks protected by the cold waters of the lake. The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena is the visitor center for the sanctuary.

Port Sanilac, MI

Port Sanilac

Once a lumber settlement, Port Sanilac is said to have been named in honor of a Wyandotte chief, Sanilac. The town is home to the Port Sanilac Lighthouse, which has been in operation since 1886, and an 1850 Victorian mansion that now serves as a museum. A number of shipwrecks lie off the coast of Port Sanilac.

Port Huron, MI

Port Huron

Located at the southern end of Lake Huron, Port Huron is a charming city with many activities for visitors. The Blue Water Bridge connects Port Huron to Canada, making it an international gateway. Visitors can enjoy a stroll along the boardwalk, visit the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse or explore the Huron Lightship Museum.

Port Austin Links

Huron County:
Port Austin Chamber of Commerce:
Port Austin Kayak:
Port Crescent State Park:
Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse: