Port Hope is the Thumb's little town with the big welcome! Located on the Thumb's sunrise side, this little lakeside town provides a haven for residents and visitors alike.
Now, if you're into crowds, long lines, and the hustle and bustle of city life, then Port Hope is not your flavor. This little town has less than 300 year-round residents. Now, that's not to say you won't find the occasional crowd in Port Hope, especially during the summer months. Port Hope receives a good number of tourists and cottage-dwellers May through September. But to describe Port Hope merely in terms of summer you'd surely be missing out. Sure it's small, but what it lacks in size and number it makes up for in potential.
While living in Lexington, MI, William Stafford, and Reuben Dimond purchased the first parcel of land in what is known today as Port Hope. In time, Stafford and William Southard invested in buying up forty acre parcels from the government. Southard boarded a schooner and headed toward the new and untouched land. Due to a pending storm, he was let off at some distance from shore. He vowed that if he made it to shore, he would name the spot Port Hope.
Not long after his successful landing, Southard and others opened up the area to lumbering and by 1858 his company dock and mills were constructed and put to work. The chimney from one of those mills can still be seen and is the last standing chimney in Michigan from the lumbering era.
After the second fire in 1881 and the trees were destroyed, farming became the new focus and Stafford changed up his business right along with it by constructing a flour mill, grain elevator, and a new dock. Port Hope received a railroad in 1903 and life began to thrive as a small town was established.
Port Hope has some spectacular places for you to stay and play. From some of the most interesting and beautiful shoreline this side of the Thumb to some impeccable remnants of a life once lived, you will be amazed at what you can experience and learn about at any one of these unique places.
- Lighthouse County Park - located 6 miles north of Port Hope features 110 campsites on 120 acres of land. It has modern and tent sites as well as the historic Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse, which is a Great Lakes navigational point.
- Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse - has one of the oldest continuously operating Lights on the Great Lakes. The Pointe aux Barques keeper's house and tower have been completely restored and contain historical artifacts from a bygone era. The Museum is open to the public free of charge and donations are kindly appreciated to help fund the Society's projects.
- Port Hope Depot - this landmark/historical train station is open on weekends throughout the summer - Saturdays 10-4pm and Sunday 1-4pm.
- Port Hope Marina - need place to park your boat? Look no further than this beautiful cove.
- Masonic Temple- is the oldest non-residential building in Port Hope and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. It is an excellent representation of mid-19th-century vernacular classical architecture. Over the years, the building served as the main social and public building of Port Hope, hosting township elections as well as community suppers, band concerts, and school plays. It now serves as the Rubicon Township Hall.
- Stafford County Park: 38 acres park offers all common campground conveniences with 73 sites and six camper cabins. Park also includes a boat launch, picnic grounds, shelters, softball field, basketball and tennis court, playground and fishing. The campground is open May 1 through October 15. There is also a large enclosed pavilion at Stafford Park adjacent to the waterfront and historical sawmill chimney.
- Huron City Museum - located on M-25 halfway between Port Austin and Port Hope Michigan, on the “Tip of the Thumb”, and formerly a lumber town in the mid-late 1800s, you will find very well preserved buildings. The museum is open for guided tours Friday and Saturdays in July and August from 11am to 4 pm.
Did you know Port Hope is home to 11 historic sites listed on the National Register of Historic Places? A free walking tour brochure with all 11 sites on it can be found at any one of the local businesses. For even more fun try your hand at finding a few of these geocaches in and near Port Hope! What is geocaching? Read more about it in our article, "Geocaching in Huron County."
Industry & Business
Industry in Port Hope is not like it once was when lumbering and milling were in high demand, but the community is still an excellent place to live and raise a family. Many residents commute an average of 25 minutes to neighboring cities and villages for work in various industries. The area is surrounded by lush farm land providing a prime place for agriculture and farming. There are also opportunities for new business owners to offer their products and services here. There is an open invitation for craft beverage makers of all sorts to put down roots here, in addition to most any business or service looking to start small or expand.
Whether it be for a home for your family, a second home or cottage to spend the summers and holidays in, land to recreate or hunt on, or a space for your business, Port Hope seems to have a little bit of everything to offer. Click to view the current RMLS listings for Port Hope, MI.
One benefit of buying a home in the Port Hope area is that properties tend to be quite affordable. The average home price here is typically around $65,000.
Although there is not an operational school within the village limits of Port Hope, your kiddos will benefit from great educational programs at North Huron Community Schools or Harbor Beach Community Schools, or any other school of choice. Both schools now offer pre-k through 12.
North Huron Community Schools
Harbor Beach Community Schools
Lifestyle & Interests
Port Hope is a place where you can set your own pace. Looking to retire? Port Hope offers a quiet retreat from the hustle and bustle of the outside world, a tight knit community, and a low cost of living. On the contrary, if you are one to enjoy outdoor recreation and working with your hands, the Port Hope area offers a number of opportunities to hunt, fish, kayak, hike, and innovate. Perhaps you have a family and you want to get off the beaten path so you can enjoy all of the above, you can find it all right here in Port Hope. This little village isn't for everyone. Nothing is handed to you in a place like this, but you can make your own way if you so choose!
Places to Shop
We highly recommend visiting any one of these shops. You will be surprised at what unique and valuable wares and goods can be found so far from the 'big city.'
- Port Hope Mercantile is a full hardware store and a general store under one roof and located on the north east side of the downtown area. Big or small, they have the resources you need! Games, puzzles, interactive toys for the kids, retro pop and candy are all on their shelves. If you like to feed the birds or deer, go camping, fishing or ride your bike, they’ve got the basics to help you get yourself on the road. Not to mention there is also colorful and bright decor for your home and garden. Visit their website for more information.
- The Store is a bakery, deli, grocery, and liquor store making it pretty much a one-stop shop for all the essentials located just south of the downtown area on M-25.
- ABC Day - Antiques & Bean Soup, Crafts & Collectibles - Saturday, August 18th 10 am to 4 pm
- Heritage Festival - Saturday, August 4th from 10 am to 4 pm climb the tower, grab a burger at the cafe, kids can have their faces painted or enjoy a story with our story circle or play in the bounce house, and more!
- Free Community Picnic & Auction - Sunday, September 29 from 4-7pm
- 4th July Festival & Parade