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Grand Lake is steeped in history, rich in beauty and loaded with ways to enjoy the area. Grand Lake is in the Northeastern Tourism Region of Michigan. In addition to its beauty, it is the largest lake in Presque Isle County.
Grand Lake is located 20 miles north of Alpena and three miles inland from Lake Huron near Presque Isle Harbor. Grand Lake is 12 miles long and three miles wide.. The water reaches depths of 25 feet. The average depth is less than 15 feet. Its limestone bed gives the water beautiful color and doesn't support a lot of plants so the water is clear. Grand Lake's shores are a mix of forests and homes. There are opportunities for vacation rentals and several cottage-lined resorts. Because the lake is shallow it warms quickly after the arrival of summer weather, making swimming a treat.
Grand Lake is 5,662 to 5,823 acres of pristine water. Different sources cite different sizes. It is dotted with 19 tree-filled islands that range in size from one-tenth acre to 263 acres. These characteristics and its location make Grand Lake a good breeding ground for the common loon. Anglers head to Grand Lake in hopes of catching some of the many kinds of fish the lake has to offer. Northern pike, walleye, rock bass, smallmouth bass, whitesucker, yellow perch, bluegill, pumpkinseed, brown bullhead, bowfin, common shiner, longnose gar, largemouth bass, yellow bullhead, green sunfish, and the common carp all make their home in the big pond. There are three public boat launches on the west side of Grand Lake, accessible via State Route 23.
Presque Isle County is a traditional destination for anglers and hunters alike. Anglers rank it as the state's best Chinook salmon fishery. Hunters come for a wide range of game. Water fowl, turkey, snowshoe hares, whitetails and black bears are just some of the game that will challenge hunters.
Winter weather draws cross-country skiers to Grand Lake. There are more than 31 miles of well maintained cross-country skiing trails in Presque Isle County. Visitors who prefer more speed will enjoy the 125 miles of well-groomed snowmobile trails.
In warmer weather a bike ride is a good way to take in the beauty of Grand Lake, Lake Huron and Thunder Bay River. Paved paths hug the Grand Lake shoreline. If you like a few bumps in the road there are many off-road opportunities as well. Shops in nearby Rogers City and Alpena have bikes for rent.
A scenic drive on East Grand Lake Road on the east side of the lake will give you a chance to explore the history of the area and take in views of Grand Lake and Lake Huron. The journey will take you over rolling hills, through beautiful forests and by five historical sites. These sites include two lighthouses: the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse and the New Presque Isle Lighthouse. The old lighthouse dates back to 1840. The younger of the two was built in 1870. Both have museums and public access to the towers.
The town of Presque Isle has a long maritime history. Originally freight steam ships traveling Lake Huron would stop for wood fuel. Today the towns of Presque Isle and nearby Grand Lake are tourism and recreation stops. A greenway trail system has been developed between the two communities and includes the lighthouse area. Public docking, launching, swimming and restaurants are available on a seasonal basis at Presque Isle Harbor.
There are more greenway trails on the southern end of Presque Isle Township. There is a nature trail at the Besser Natural Area. You will also find the ruins of the historic Village of Bell, a booming town in the lumbering era. Foot trails will take you from the historic village to an area of geographical interest. The Rockport property, now under public ownership, has a number of sinkholes and major dune/swale environments.
Wildlife awaits in the City of Alpena at the Wildlife Sanctuary. There is great bird and wildlife watching on the mile-long trail on Sanctuary Island. On your visit you are likely to see swans, ducks, otters and turtles. After the hike you can travel paved bike paths of three, five, 12 or 20 miles. These trails meander along picturesque Thunder Bay River.
Travel just four miles from Grand Lake on route 23 and you will find the Emily Min Hunt Nature Preserve operated by the Thunder Bay Audubon Society. The 438-acre preserve boasts a forest of mixed hardwood, an abandoned apple orchard and many bluebird houses.
Another stop you might want to make on your visit to Grand Lake is the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The Sanctuary protects more than 100 shipwrecks in the Great Lakes. The wrecks span more than a century of Great Lakes shipping history. You can see the wrecks without getting wet by visiting The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena. Around 200 shipwrecks are depicted in state of the art displays.
Pack your bags, at any time during the year, for a trip to Grand Lake. A waterfront cottage is waiting for you with a view of the clear water and the fresh smell of pine to breathe new life into your soul.
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