Cheboygan is a boating and fishing destination with easy access to Lake Huron and the lengthy Inland Waterway. The community is also a major hub for two state recreational trails, the North Central State Trail and North Eastern State Trail.
Cheboygan State Park
Located about three miles east of Cheboygan, Cheboygan State Park has shoreline on Duncan Bay and Lake Huron. The park has 76 modern campsites with electrical service and modern restrooms. Rustic cabins with vault toilets and a tepee are also available. For reservations, call (800)447-2757.
Six miles of trails wind around the northern part of the park. The trails can be used for hiking, mountain biking, and cross-country skiing.
Cheboygan State Park's day-use area has a sandy swimming beach on Duncan Bay. A picnic shelter and playground equipment are located nearby.
Cheboygan has several parks for outdoor fun and recreation:
- Cheboygan Lock & Dam is a favorite with local fishermen, who cast their lines near the dam and along the river.
South of the dam, the park has a boat launch on the Cheboygan River and a large parking area.
- Gordon Turner Park is located north of downtown on Huron Street. The park has a large swimming beach on Lake Huron.
A wooden playscape, swings, and other playground equipment offer fun for kids. Two volleyball courts are in center of the park, near a picnic area. A short walking path leads to an overlook at the wetlands on the west side of park. A boardwalk leads from the parking area
past the beach to the Cheboygan Crib Light and a pier at the mouth of the Cheboygan River.
- Joseph F. Doyle Recreation Area is adjacent to Gordon Turner Park and features soccer fields.
- Kiwanis Park has a small playground and picnic shelter. The park is on the south side of Mackinaw Avenue/US-23.
- Major City Park has several ball fields for baseball and softball. A basketball court is on the southeast side of the park.
Three fishing piers are located on the Cheboygan River on the west side of the park, near the bridge across the river that leads to Washington Park. The city boat launch is located nearby.
Ottawa Park is close to downtown and has a small picnic area. The park often hosts special art displays during the summer.
- Veteran's Memorial Park has an old cannon and Vietnam War veteran's memorial.
- Washington Park is at the center of downtown Cheboygan on Main Street/M-27. The park has a band shell and picnic area. The Cheboygan Area Chamber of Commerce is located at the park.
Cheboygan Area Trails
The North Central State Trail
begins in Mackinaw City, goes east to Cheboygan, and then angles south to Indian River, Topinabee, and Gaylord. The crushed limestone trail is approximately 61 miles long and is used for biking, hiking, and snowmobiling. At the corner of Western Avenue and Lincoln Road in Cheboygan, there is a trailhead park that serves the North Central State Trail and North Eastern State Trail. The park has restrooms, a picnic shelter, and large parking area.
The North Eastern State Trail
starts south of the trailhead park at Western Avenue and Lincoln Road, splitting from the North Central State Trail. The North Eastern State Trail is approximately 71 miles long and travels through Hawks, Millersburg, Onaway, and Posen before ending on the north side of Alpena. The trail has a crushed limestone surface and is used for biking, hiking, and snowmobiling.
Huron Street Boardwalk
starts at Lake Street and leads to Gordon Turner Park and the Cheboygan Crib Light. The boardwalk is on the east side of Huron Street.
Cheboygan State Park's trails
are used for mountain biking, hiking, and cross country skiing. The trails loop around the north side of the park and connect to the campground.
Using the paved shoulders along US-23, cyclists can ride between Cheboygan and Cheboygan State Park.
The route is a little over three miles long, one way. The shoulder is two feet wide or more for most of the way. The roads in the state park are paved, but do not have paved shoulders. You can ride on the outside edge of the road in the park to the day use area or campground.
Mackinaw Avenue/US-23 has bike lanes on both sides of the road and goes from the east side of Cheboygan towards downtown.
Huron Street has paved shoulders that cyclists can use to ride to and from Gordon Turner Park and
Joseph F. Doyle Recreation Area.
Using the paved shoulders of Lincoln Road and M-27, you can ride from the trailhead park for the North Eastern State Trail and North Central State Trail to the businesses and restaurants along M-27.
When biking next to the road, stay alert and obey traffic laws.
Before you go, it's a good idea to check the
State of Michigan's construction database
to make sure there will not be any construction on the road that can interfere with your ride.
Boating and Kayaking
The Cheboygan River and the Inland Waterway can be used to travel to Mullett Lake, Burt Lake, and Crooked Lake. The entire water route is over 38 miles long and is excellent for recreational boating and kayaking. The waterway is around five feet deep and 30 feet wide. The waterway was used long ago by European traders who navigated the route to trade with local Native American tribes.
The Cheboygan River can also be used to reach Lake Huron. Scenic spots, such as the Mackinac Bridge and Bois Blanc Island, can be seen from Lake Huron.
There are three boat launches on the Cheboygan River in Cheboygan. The closest launch to Lake Huron is at Cheboygan County Marina. The city boat ramp is at Major City Park, near the Major City Park bridge over the river. The third boat launch is south of the dam at Cheboygan Dam and Lock Park on Lincoln Road.
Cheboygan County Marina is the largest marina in Cheboygan. It is on west side of the Cheboygan River, south of Gordon Turner Park on North Huron Street. The modern facility has total of 84 boat slips, with 49 transient slips. The marina offers gasoline, diesel, pump-out service, electrical service, ice, laundry, and showers. The marina can accommodate boats up to 120 feet long. The beach and facilities at Gordon Turner Park is a short distance north of the marina. Cheboygan County Marina is open from early May to October 15. For more details, call (231)627-6753.
The Cheboygan Municipal Dock offers transient dockage and is close to downtown. The dock is home to the Bois Blanc Ferry.
The Cheboygan River is known for rainbow trout, brook trout, salmon, bass, walleye, and sunfish. There are several fishing spots along the river. The most popular spot is near the dam at the Cheboygan Lock & Dam Park, where you can fish from the concrete pad along the edge of the river or at a fishing pier. Across from the boat launch at Cheboygan Lock & Dam Park, there is a long wooden fishing dock along the edge of the river. At Major City Park, there are three fishing piers on the east side of the river, south of the bridge to Washington Park. At the mouth of the Cheboygan River, fishermen can cast their lines from the long pier.
If you don't have a Michigan fishing license, you can purchase one online at the Michigan DNR E-License web site
The South Channel of Lake Huron, between Cheboygan and Bois Blanc Island, is a vital shipping route for vessels traveling to and from Lake Michigan. To help guide ships on their way, there are several lighthouses in the Cheboygan area.
Poe Reef Light and Fourteen Foot Shoal Light are located on the South Channel of Lake Huron and can be seen in the distance, to the east, from the pier at Gordon Turner Park. The Poe Reef Light is on the north side of the channel, and the other light marks the south side of the channel. Poe Reef Light was built in 1929 and has a 60-foot-tall tower that is black and white with a red top. Fourteen Foot Shoal Lighthouse was built in 1930 and is named for the depth of water where it is located. The light has a 36-foot-tall white tower with a red top.
The Cheboygan Crib Light is located at Gordon Turner Park, near the pier at the mouth of Cheboygan River. The octagonal cast-iron structure dates back to 1910. The light was originally located offshore and was moved to its current location and deactivated in 1988. To view the lighthouse up close, follow the boardwalk from the parking lot at the park and walk past the beach to the pier. There is also a pier light that can be seen at the park.
Cheboygan River Range Light is east of Water Street, near the Cheboygan River. Established in 1880, the structure has white siding and black window shutters, with a white tower that has two red vertical strips below the light. The light helps guide boats from the mouth of the river towards the center of Cheboygan.
Cheboygan has several Michigan Historical Markers that describe places and people from the town's past. The green markers are in locations that are considered significant by the Michigan Historical Commission.
- St. Mary's Church started as a temporary chapel in 1856. The current building was completed in 1870. The church was merged with the St. Charles parish and is now called St. Mary/St. Charles Church. For the church's mass schedule, see the Diocese of Gaylord.
- The Jail and Sheriff's Residence on South Huron Street served Cheboygan from 1880 to 1969. The building is now a museum and is now part of the Cheboygan County History Center.
- Old Cheboygan County Courthouse is remembered with a historical marker at 229 Court Street.
- Newton-Allaire House was built in 1871. The beautiful house is located at 337 Dresser Street.
- Jacob J Post House was built in 1886 and was designed by Frederick W. Hollister of Saginaw. The house is located at 528 South Huron Street.
The Cheboygan Opera House
hosts a variety of events during the year, as well as offers dance classes. The beautiful theater is managed by the Cheboygan Area Arts Council.
The Cheboygan County History Center
includes Spies Heritage Hall, the old Jail and Sheriff's Residence, and a historic Native American log cabin. Spies Heritage Hall features several historical exhibits and opens for the season on June 1.
The Cheboygan Area Public Library
hosts lectures, music, and educational programs throughout the year. The library is an excellent resource for genealogy searches, with microfilm copies of local newspapers dating back to 1883, census records, marriage and death records, and cemetery listings.
The Ferry to Bois Blanc Island
leaves from the Cheboygan Municipal Dock area. Bois Blanc Island is partially owned by the State of Michigan, and much of the island is a state forest with large White and Norway pine trees.
Cheboygan has a variety of restaurants. The Yeck Family Drive-In on Mackinaw Avenue/US-23 is a traditional drive-in restaurant with car hops. In downtown, Mulligan's, Alice's Restaurant, Subway, the Boathouse Restaurant and KFC are along Main Street/M-27. On the south side of town, B.C. Pizza, Burger King, Little Caesar's Pizza, Arby's, Big Boy, Pizza Hut, and McDonald's are along M-27.
There are several shops and small businesses in downtown along Main Street/M-27. Larger retailers, like Glen's Market, Sears, Dunham's Sports and Walmart, are on the south side of Cheboygan on M-27.
For lodging, there are several motels along US-23, including
Birch Haus Motel
North Country Inn Motel
. On the south side of town,
Best Western River Terrace
is located close to the Cheboygan River on M-27. The Gables Bed & Breakfast is a beautiful old house on the south side of town at 314 South Main Street.