It’s 6:09 a.m. You’re standing on the banks of the Cheboygan River, sucking a Pink Squirrel through a straw. A strange Technicolor dream? No.

A must-do moment courtesy of State Street Coffee Company (211 West State St., 231-597-9575) and one of its many squirrelly but sweet concoctions – this one of the chilled white chocolate sauce, raspberry and coconut syrup variety.

Thus hopped up, hop over to Cheboygan State Park (4490 Beach Rd., 231-627-2811) for a hike along Lake Huron. That’s Poe Reef Light and the Shoals Light floating on Huron’s horizon line; the crumbling remains of the Cheboygan Point Light hide in the forest between the Shoals and Lighthouse Point cabins.

After your hike, cool off post hike with a dip in Duncan Bay. Afterward, head back downtown to Scalawags Whitefish & Chips (330 N. Main, 231-597-9000) for a bite of Great Lakes goodness, then march up Coast Guard Drive for some Great Lakes big-ness: the new $90 million, 240-foot Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw. The world’s most powerful icebreaker is open for afternoon tours by appointment when moored (231-597-2030). Miss the boat? You’ll find a DVD about the behemoth (and its 1944-built predecessor, recently retired up the road in Mackinaw City) among reams of good reads at the Log Mark Bookstore (334 N. Main St., 231-627-6531).

Pick some pages, but pack them away – there’s lots left to do today: Doll up in some sassy yet fabulously priced duds from Nephew’s of Mackinac (400 N. Main St., 231-627-7054); bird watch at J.F. Doyle Recreation Area (end of N. Huron Ave.); swing some stick at Cheboygan Area Golf and Country Club (1431 Old Mackinaw Rd., 231-627-4264); catch a flick at the Kingston Theater (406 N. Main St., 231-627-5376); or do as locals have done since 1877 and see a show at the Cheboygan Opera House (403 Huron Ave., 231-627-5841). Afterward, do as they do in 2007: dine on Caribbean fare on the riverside deck at The Boathouse restaurant (106 Pine St., 231-627-4316) and toast to a darn good day in Cheboygan.

Stay the Night

Cheboygan State Park: 75 campsites, three cabins and tepee rental on Lake Huron, 231-627-2811

Fleetwood Inn and Suites: Every room overlooks the Cheboygan River, 888-705-4085

The Gables B&B: In-town 1892 Victorian with outdoor hot tub, bottomless cookie jar and two-night minimum in summer, 231-627-4460 or

Lynda Twardowski is travel editor at Traverse, Northern Michigan’s

Note: This article was first published in July 2007, and was updated for the web February 2008.