unincorporated community in Roscommon County, Michigan, USA

Houghton Lake is a city in Rosscommon County in the state of Michigan. Home of Tip Up Town, USA, the largest winter carnival in the United States, the site of the movie Frozen Stupid, and amazing vacation spot for those on a budget or with children.

Get inEdit

By carEdit

Houghton Lake is right off the freeway.

By busEdit

Indian Trailsbus service between St. Ignace and East Lansing

By planeEdit

Houghton Lake does have a small airstrip, but only small one or two engine planes land here. No commercial airlines operate out of Houghton Lake. There isn't actually an airport either. Unless you own a small plane, this method is not suggested for getting into the area. You can, however fly in through Cherry Capital Airport in Traverse City (TVC IATA), rent a car, and drive to Houghton Lake.

By boatEdit

Boats are welcomed in Houghton Lake, but don't try to get there by one. The Muskegon River is the big river connecting to the lake, and it goes through a lot of shallow, swampy areas, not to mention a few dams that make traveling in anything larger than a canoe a real challenge, if not impossible.

Get aroundEdit

Map of Houghton Lake


If you drive here, just use a car. Boats can also be rented.


Rent a snowmobile for the nearby trails, and make sure your car can drive through the sometimes-not-snow-removed streets during the winter. Sometimes it may take the snow removal crews a little while to clear the roadways.


Houghton Lake Historical Village. The Houghton Lake Historical Village near Prudenville on the south end of the lake shows how things were done in old Houghton Lake. Bring kids of all ages to the hands-on exhibits.


  • Fred's Cosmic Bowling and Restaurant. Restaurant, Bowling, Bar, Catering and Party Hall. 989-275-6565.
  • [formerly dead link] Tip Up Town USA.
  • The Pines Theater. This rustic, log-cabin style movie theater shows only one movie at a time for about three weeks. It is usually the highst-grossing film at the box office or the one with the largest promotional team. Movies show at 7:30PM and 9PM nightly. Be sure to get there at least half an our before the show starts to grab a good parking spot, buy refreshments, and make sure all the little ones go "potty".
  • Zubler's Indian Powwows. Every Thursday in July and August at one, two, three, and four pm there is an Indian Powwow next to Zubler's Indian Craft Shop. It is a free event, but the hat is passed around at one point in the show. Refreshments and crafts sold on-site.
  • Boat Rentals. No visit is complete without renting a boat at the Houghton Lake Marina. Get a pontoon to have a lazy afternoon on the lake that you can fish off of, or a jet ski to zip around the lake on.
  • Cruise Down Muskegon River. After you've rented that pontoon, take it on a sloww ride down the Muskegon River. The fancy country club at the river mouth used to be a lighthouse, before it burned down. Oooh and aaah at the wealthy homes on the riverside, but turn around once you get a little bit past the bridge, for a little ways beyond that is swamp.
  • Drive Down County Road 300. Take the kids down here on a drive. Be sure to go slow, because deer and turkeys like to jump in front of cars. Very scenic and natural.
  • Reedsburg Dam. Fishing is allowed near the dam, so take a day trip here. Very nice.


  • Zubler's Indian Craft Shop. Houghton Lake souvenirs and lots of Native American Merchandise, this store is a must-see stop for any trip to Houghton Lake.
  • Rocking Chair Gift Shop. This is the classic Houghton Lake gift shop, selling t-shirts, knick-nacks, and all related Houghton Lake memorabilia. A must for any visit.



  • Fast Food Of course, there are numerous fast-food eateries right off the freeway: McDonalds, Burger King, KFC, Wendy's and Arby's.
  • Garret's Place This is a small restaurant with a log cabin like decor. They serve the usual mom-and-pop type food, including fish, burgers, and soup. The food's really good here.


  • Coyles. Also deserving mention is Coyles Restaurant. They have an extensive gift shop as well as buffets. Go during the week and before four o clock pm to get the best deals. This is family friendly also, but be sure to keep little hands off the glass and porcelin stuff in the gift shop.


  • Blue Bayou. For those at the Comfort Suites Lakeside, they have an on-site restaurant, the Blue Bayou. But this is a quiet restaurant, and we don't suggest bringing small children to the restaurant, and suggest room service. The prices are also not that friendly to those on a budget. This is the closest thing to a "fancy restaurant" Houghton Lake has. It sports a New Orleans type atmosphere with jazz music playing. They also have patio seating, and a full bar area, as well as a little room to play pool and a private drinking room.


  • The Limberlost. The classic Houghton Lake bar. Leave the kids with a babysitter and visit here.


Resorts and CampgroundsEdit

  • Poplars, on West Shore Drive. Recommended. They are family-friendly and have ample space for RVs.
  • Houghton Lake Campground. Great if you brought an RV. This park is for all camping with trailers and RVs if you don't want to stay at a hotel or resort.
  • Songer's Log Cabins Resort, 3931 E. Houghton Lake Dr, +1 989 366-5540. Located on the East shore of beautiful Houghton Lake. This lovely year-round family resort has eight 2-bedroom completely modern housekeeping log cabins with screened porches. Some with natural stone fireplaces all have gas heat and Cable TV. The resort also has a Pontoon available for rent.
  • [dead link] Vacation Station, 5422 W. Houghton Lake Dr., +1 989 944-5896. Vacation Station is a six cabin resort on the beautiful South shore, close to everything and perfect for gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. Our cabins range in sizes of one, two, and three bedrooms, all with full kitchens. The new owners have begun making many improvements as well as making it a four-season resort with cable and internet.


Go nextEdit

Routes through Houghton Lake
Mackinaw City via  Grayling  N   S  HarrisonLansing
ManisteeCadillac  W   E  West BranchTawas City

This city travel guide to Houghton Lake is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.