Houghton Lake is a large natural lake located in the northern part of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan, United States. The lake is approximately 22,000 acres in size and has a maximum depth of 20 feet. Houghton Lake has a rich history that dates back to the 1800s.
The area around Houghton Lake was originally inhabited by the Anishinaabe people, who fished, hunted, and gathered in the area. In the mid-1800s, European settlers began to arrive in the area and establish small communities.
The town of Houghton Lake was officially founded in 1900 and was named after Houghton Lake, which had been named after Douglas Houghton, Michigan's first state geologist. The town grew quickly and became a popular tourist destination in the early 1900s.
During the 1920s and 1930s, Houghton Lake was a popular spot for bootleggers during Prohibition. The lake's remote location and extensive shoreline made it an ideal location for smuggling illegal alcohol into the area.
In the 1940s and 1950s, Houghton Lake became known as the "Bluegill Capital of the World" due to its abundant bluegill population. The lake also became a popular destination for vacationers, and many cottages and resorts were built around the lake.
Today, Houghton Lake is still a popular vacation spot and is known for its fishing, boating, and outdoor recreational activities. The area also has a rich history and is home to several museums and historical sites, including the Houghton Lake Historical Village, which showcases life in the area in the early 1900s.
Top Tourist Attractions
Houghton Lake is a popular tourist destination in Michigan, offering a variety of attractions and activities for visitors to enjoy. Some of the top tourist attractions:
- Houghton Lake: The lake itself is one of the top attractions in the area, offering opportunities for fishing, boating, swimming, and other water sports.
- Houghton Lake Historical Village: This museum showcases life in the area in the early 1900s, with exhibits including a schoolhouse, general store, blacksmith shop, and more.
- Michigan Fireman's Memorial: This memorial is located in Roscommon, just a short drive from Houghton Lake, and honors fallen firefighters from Michigan.
- Higgins Lake: Another popular lake in the area, Higgins Lake offers opportunities for swimming, boating, and fishing.
- Hartwick Pines State Park: This state park is located just south of Houghton Lake and features over 9,000 acres of forest, hiking trails, and a visitor center with exhibits on Michigan's logging history.
- Kirtland's Warbler Wildlife Management Area: This wildlife management area is home to the endangered Kirtland's warbler and offers opportunities for birdwatching and hiking.
- AuSable River Canoe Marathon: This annual event is a 120-mile canoe race from Grayling to Oscoda and draws thousands of spectators to the area.
- Pineview Highlands Golf Course: This golf course offers scenic views and challenging play for golfers of all skill levels.
- North Higgins Lake State Park: This state park offers camping, hiking, and swimming opportunities on the shores of Higgins Lake.
- Roscommon County Historical Museum: This museum showcases the history of Roscommon County, with exhibits on local industries, military history, and more.
Houghton Lake has a humid continental climate with four distinct seasons. Summers are generally warm and humid, with temperatures ranging from the mid-70s to the mid-80s Fahrenheit (24-29 Celsius), while winters are cold and snowy, with temperatures ranging from the low 20s to the mid-30s Fahrenheit (-6 to 2 Celsius).
Fall and spring are transitional seasons, with temperatures ranging from the 40s to the 60s Fahrenheit (4 to 16 Celsius). The area receives an average of 46 inches (117 cm) of snowfall each year, with most of the snow falling between December and February.
Houghton Lake also experiences occasional thunderstorms and tornadoes during the summer months, and the area is occasionally affected by severe winter weather conditions, such as blizzards and lake-effect snowstorms. Visitors to Houghton Lake should be prepared for a variety of weather conditions depending on the season, and should dress accordingly.
The lake is approximately 9 miles (14.5 km) long and 4 miles (6.4 km) wide at its widest point, with a surface area of around 22,000 acres (8,900 hectares).
The lake has an average depth of around 7 feet (2.1 meters) and a maximum depth of 20 feet (6.1 meters). It is fed by several small creeks and streams and drains into the Muskegon River, which flows into Lake Michigan.
The area around Houghton Lake is characterized by rolling hills, forests, and wetlands. The lake is surrounded by a mix of residential homes, cottages, and resorts, with some areas of undeveloped shoreline.
In addition to Houghton Lake, the area is home to several other lakes and bodies of water, including Higgins Lake to the east and Lake St. Helen to the south. The region is popular for outdoor recreational activities such as fishing, boating, hiking, and hunting.