Top 16 Small Cities in Michigan

Top 16 Small Cities in Michigan
Photo credit: cwbash / Flickr

1. Port Sanilac

On the shores of Lake Huron, Port Sanilac reflects its history as home to Native American tribes that gave way to modern lumber mills and commerce over land and lakes, according to the Port Sanilac website.

Pioneer explorers came to the Sanilac area in 1834 and accounts from their journals describe the landscape as heavily forested with birch, white pine, elm, oak and ash, to name a few. Sanilac County came to exist in 1848 by a special act of Congress. The territory belonged to St. Clair County, as did most of the settlements along Lake Huron’s shores until the congressional act, according to the U Mich website.

Today, the port city thrives on tourists who come for the beaches and views. Sanilac offers more than the beaches; some hidden adventures lie beneath Huron’s waves. Sunken ships lay at the bottom of the lake and skin divers or scuba divers can easily explore two.

Several other sunken vessels open to more experienced divers, wait farther, according to the Michigan Back Roads website. These wrecks make up a portion of the Sanilac Shores Underwater Preserve.

Native American petroglyphs around the port region interest tourists, archeologists and historians who come to the port city, according to the Michigan Back Roads website.

The prehistoric drawings, hidden by forest, became known after a devastating fire destroyed over one million acres in 1881. Sparks from a comet may have started the fire. The Red Cross attended to survivors and this was their first mission as an organization, according to the Atlas Obscura website.

The fire took close to 300 lives and cleared the forest from most of Michigan’s Thumb. The petroglyphs show animals, birds and a person with a bow and arrow, according to the website Atlas Obscura.

The Barn Theater dinner shows have improved and now the barn fills up for performances. The authentic barn and shows for the family make mealtime exciting. The Barn Theater opened for business in 1980 exclusively for the dinner theater and the shows continue to entertain, according to the Barn Theater website.