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Explore the Area

Welcome to Michigan’s Thumb Area and Great Lakes Bay Region


New to Michigan?  If you don’t know, our official state name is the Great Lakes State but we’re also referred to as the Mitten State, Water Winter Wonderland State, and Wolverine State.  Our state motto is “Si quaeris peninsulam amoenam circumspice”, which translates into “If you seek a pleasant peninsula, look about you”!


We have the well-known peninsulas - Lower and Upper … And one more!  The funny thing is we couldn't be the Mitten State without this pronounced peninsula that sticks out into Lake Huron and Saginaw Bay.  What is this often forgotten peninsula?  It’s Michigan’s great Thumb Area, which boast of a travel destination rich in natural scenic beauty, strong cultural heritage and plenty of year-round activities.  The area includes the counties of Huron, Sanilac and Tuscola, and is outlined by Saginaw Bay on its west shoreline and Lake Huron on its east shoreline.  The Thumb Area is a great ‘staycation’ for Michiganders and Canadians.  When you visit the Thumb Area, you’ll find more than:


  • 150 miles of shoreline

  • 2,100 miles of rivers and streams

  • 51,000 acres of public recreation land

  • 49,000 acres of state game/wildlife areas

  • And plenty of hometown festivals and events all year round


A great way to experience some of the sights and sounds you’ll see across the Thumb Area is to check out these video commercials which feature amazing scenes from across Michigan’s great Thumb Area!



Garden Gate is located on the far west side of Michigan’s Thumb Area, which borders the Great Lakes Bay Region (GLBR).  The region covers the counties of Arenac, Bay, Clare, Gladwin, Gratiot, Isabella, Midland, and Saginaw.  The heart of the GLBR includes the cities of Bay City, Birch Run, Frankenmuth, Midland, Mount Pleasant, and Saginaw.

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