Houghton Lake is a large lake located in Roscommon County in the state of Michigan. The history of Houghton Lake dates back to the early 1800s when the area was first explored by fur traders and trappers. The lake was originally named "Delaware Lake" after a group of Delaware Indians who lived in the area.
In the mid-1800s, the area began to be settled by homesteaders, and a small community began to grow around the lake. In 1879, the town of Houghton Lake was officially founded, named after the lake it was built around.
Throughout the late 1800s and early 1900s, Houghton Lake became a popular destination for tourists, thanks to its natural beauty and recreational opportunities. The area was known for its fishing, boating, and hunting, and several resorts and hotels were built around the lake to accommodate the influx of visitors.
In the early 1900s, the Houghton Lake area became an important center for the lumber industry. The dense forests surrounding the lake provided a ready supply of timber, which was harvested and shipped out on the lake.
During World War II, Houghton Lake became an important training center for the military. The Army Air Corps used the lake for training exercises, and a number of military personnel were stationed in the area.
After the war, Houghton Lake continued to grow and develop as a popular tourist destination. Today, the lake and surrounding area are home to a thriving community of year-round residents as well as seasonal visitors who come to enjoy the lake's many recreational opportunities.
Top Tourist Attractions
- Houghton Lake: The lake itself is the biggest draw for tourists, offering a variety of water-based activities such as swimming, boating, fishing, and kayaking.
- Roscommon County Historical Museum: Located in the nearby town of Roscommon, this museum offers exhibits on the history of the area, including the lumber industry, Native American history, and local wildlife.
- Higgins Lake State Park: This beautiful park offers hiking trails, swimming beaches, picnic areas, and a boat launch, as well as camping facilities.
- Hartwick Pines State Park: This park is located just south of Houghton Lake and is home to one of the last remaining stands of old-growth pine forest in Michigan. The park offers hiking trails, camping facilities, and a visitor center with exhibits on the area's history and ecology.
- Houghton Lake Playhouse: This community theater offers a variety of productions throughout the year, including plays, musicals, and children's theater.
- Jack Pine Lumberjack Show: This fun and entertaining show offers a glimpse into the world of lumberjacks, featuring log rolling, axe throwing, and other traditional lumberjack skills.
- Houghton Lake Area Historical Village: This open-air museum features a collection of historic buildings, including a one-room schoolhouse, a general store, and a log cabin.
- AuSable River Canoe Marathon: This annual canoe race, which takes place in late July, is one of the most grueling and challenging races in the country, attracting top canoeists from around the world.
Houghton Lake, Michigan has a humid continental climate with cold, snowy winters and warm summers. The average temperature in January, the coldest month, is around 18°F (-7.8°C), while the average temperature in July, the warmest month, is around 71°F (21.7°C).
The area receives an average of 135 inches (343 cm) of snowfall per year, with the heaviest snowfall typically occurring in December and January. Summers in Houghton Lake are generally mild to warm, with occasional heat waves pushing temperatures into the 80s and even 90s°F (26-32°C).
The area experiences a fair amount of precipitation throughout the year, with an annual average of around 32 inches (81 cm) of rainfall. The wettest months are typically May and June, while the driest months are usually February and March.
Overall, Houghton Lake's climate is characterized by four distinct seasons, with a beautiful display of colors during the fall foliage season, and plenty of opportunities for outdoor recreation during the spring, summer, and fall months. Winters can be harsh, but also offer the chance for activities such as ice fishing, snowmobiling, and skiing.
It is the largest inland lake in the state, with a surface area of approximately 20,044 acres (8,116 hectares). The lake is fed by several smaller streams and rivers and is drained by the Muskegon River, which flows into Lake Michigan.
The lake is situated in a relatively flat area of land, with gently rolling hills and scattered woodlands. The surrounding landscape is dominated by deciduous forests, consisting of a mix of maple, oak, and other hardwood trees. There are also some areas of coniferous forests, particularly along the lake's northern shore.
The lake's shoreline is characterized by sandy beaches and rocky outcroppings, and there are several small islands located within the lake. The lake's depth varies considerably, with some areas as shallow as 5 feet (1.5 meters) and others as deep as 40 feet (12 meters).
Houghton Lake is surrounded by several small towns and communities, including the town of Houghton Lake, which is situated on the lake's southeast shore. Other nearby communities include Prudenville, Roscommon, and Higgins Lake. The area is popular for outdoor recreational activities such as fishing, boating, hiking, and hunting, and is also a popular destination for tourists and vacationers.