Michigan : Safety by City
- Ann Arbor
- Battle Creek
- Farmington Hills
- Flat Rock
- Glen Arbor
- Grand Rapids
- Mackinac Island
- Mackinaw City
- Port Huron
- Sault Ste. Marie
- Sterling Heights
- Traverse City
Thumbs up for the city of Port Huron, Michigan, a border city with Ontario, Canada.
This Lake Huron waterfront community brings four-season excitement on and off the water.
The state of Michigan is shaped like a hand in a mitten, with the “thumb” of the state known as the Thumbcoast.
This region is also called the Blue Water Area, with the tourism website BlueWater.org.
Port Huron is also unique since it has a Great Lake and the St. Clair Riverfront along its coast.
The Thumbcoast includes 140 miles of shoreline.
Here they are from north to south:
- Port Austin
- Harbor Beach
- Port Sanilac
- Port Huron
- St. Clair
- Marine City
Port Huron is known as the Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes, with museums, memorials, and artifacts on display and open for tours.
Visitors can cross into Canada via the Blue Water Bridge, arriving in Point Edward, Ontario.
This community brings Port Huron visitors to the casino action and extensive park system.
If you’re really in the mood for a road trip, you can take the 1,000+ mile Great Lakes Circle Tour that covers two countries around the edge of Lake Huron.
Detroit is just an hour away, making Port Huron a great day trip, weekend getaway, or close destination to a major airport.
Warnings & Dangers in Port Huron
OVERALL RISK : LOW
Port Huron is a low-risk destination, but it's teetering on the edge of medium due to a violent crime rate nearly twice the national average. By avoiding certain parts of town and sticking to the advice in this article, we'll be able to make this a safe trip for you. Plus, there's too much to see and do here to miss it.
TRANSPORT & TAXIS RISK : LOW
Blue Water Transit offers traditional bus service around the region and a seasonal trolley to more than 50 stops for just ten cents per person. Taxis and rideshares are available. A rental car allows for further exploration, but that summer trolley is a great value!
PICKPOCKETS RISK : LOW
Just four pickpockets were reported in 2021, giving this a low risk. The overall theft rate is about average, with car burglaries making up 30% of the total thefts.
NATURAL DISASTERS RISK : LOW
From a devastating EF4 tornado to a "White Hurricane" that caused major shipwrecks on the Great Lakes, Port Huron has seen its fair share of major weather. Snowstorms, ice storms, blizzards, severe thunderstorms, wicked windstorms, and flooding are all possible throughout the year. The St. Clair County Emergency Management website has information to prepare for each risk.
MUGGING RISK : LOW
Robbery raw data is three and a half times lower than it was a decade ago and far below the national average. 2021 numbers show robberies were also at a three-year low. This is another low risk.
TERRORISM RISK : LOW
The border crossing brings the risk of illegal guns and drugs getting into the country, but it's not a risk that a tourist would face. There's little risk that Port Huron would be a target, but security will be extra tight because of the international border.
SCAMS RISK : LOW
The scam risk is low, but several posts warn about more common scams connected to nationwide trends. You can review the police department website for those or view the Better Business Bureau list of common scams.
WOMEN TRAVELERS RISK : LOW
A human trafficking bust in June 2022 emphasizes the danger of making personal connections while visiting a new place. A man allegedly took women on dates with the intent of luring them into prostitution. As socially connected as the world is today, you should still use exemplary caution and safety steps when meeting new people. Don't accept drinks from strangers, and never go to a private place with a stranger. The risk is low, but sinister people like the one mentioned above can catch a comfortable female traveler off guard.
TAP WATER RISK : LOW
The 2021 Water Quality Report shows full compliance and no violations. Ask the hotel if the pipes have been updated for those concerned about lead pipes, or you'll want to let the water run for a minute or two after the faucet has been stagnant.
Safest Places to Visit in Port Huron
Use the “Discover the Blue/Michigan’s Thumbcoast” website to get the best large-scale look at this region, with great information about hotels, attractions, recreation, and even a “Road Trip Music” link.
The Port Huron city website also offers a Visitor’s Section with transportation and hyper-local details.
Downtownph.com is the Downtown Port Huron website specifically for the main district.
Let’s start downtown.
Between Griswold Street and Glenwood Avenue on the north and south and along the waterfront, with Huron Street or Military Street running between the two, you’ll find a magical stretch of charming shops and restaurants with weaved string lights above.
Star at the Port Huron Museum Carnegie Center downtown to learn about the region’s history and pick up pamphlets for the other attractions in town.
Then head to the Great Lakes Maritime Center on the water, where you can soak in the nautical views and see interactive exhibits and an underwater camera – exploring the history and life above and below the water.
The Blue Water Riverwalk is a great way to stretch your legs while seeing the river activity and wildlife as you pass by art displays.
An observation deck and fishing pier round out the main stops along the path.
There are also parking lots if you want to pick up a hot dog or ice cream sundae and enjoy the views.
Fort Gratiot Lighthouse is the oldest in Michigan and is still open for tours to the top.
While it’s closed from January 1 through March 31, you can schedule a group tour (if the weather allows).
There’s also the town’s only beach here with stunning views of the lighthouse and waterways.
This isn’t to be confused with the Huron Lightship Museum, a seasonal attraction on a floating lighthouse ship.
The Thomas Edison Depot Museum offers a side of the great inventor that gets sidelined due to his major contributions.
Find out what he did for a living in Port Huron and how it prepared him for the next step in innovation.
Ride the river or lake with Huron Lady cruises. General sightseeing or more formal dinner tours are available.
You can also book a private charter or check the schedule for special events, like a Sturgeon cruise.
Do you ever wonder how people had ice before refrigeration was invented?
Get all the answers and see the tools used at the Knowltons Museum of Ice.
You’ll appreciate your next iced beverage so much more about a visit here.
Places to Avoid in Port Huron
While there aren’t parts of town too dangerous to visit, you will find some locations with higher crime rates and little reason for tourists to be there.
The police department offered this information about the highest crime areas.
- Black River south to Griswold Street: 342 crimes
- Griswold Street to southern city limits: 263 crimes
- North city limits to Harker Street: 126 crimes
- Harker Street to the Black River: 117 crimes
An annual event called the Float Down involves people jumping in the St. Clair River on anything that floats and riding it seven miles downstream.
As popular as this event might be, it’s not sanctioned, and police, Border Patrol, Coast Guard, and Canadian Coast Guard issue yearly warnings.
They actually beg people not to participate in this dangerous activity and point out how many hours of law enforcement and rescuing go into saving people.
Safety Tips for Traveling to Port Huron
- Port Huron does have its own police department (PHPD). The website includes an annual police report and interactive crime map to check trends from the previous year and recent crime, a very helpful tool since crime rates can quickly change.
- Follow the department @PortHuronPolice on Facebook and Twitter to get regular updates. It’s a nice change to see a Michigan police social media feed that isn’t just filled with crime after crime. There is excellent information for safety and local events.
- Submit crime tips using the Tip411 app to help keep crime rates from increasing. You can report information anonymously, but it shouldn’t be used during an emergency. 911 is the number for crimes in progress. Never confront a criminal, whether it’s a car break-in or graffiti.
- Some of the Detroit region’s most dangerous intersections (including Port Huron) are along Pine Grove Avenue, the major north/south road through the city. Pay special attention near the I-94 interchange. Keep your eyes on the road, don’t get distracted, and stick to the speed limit.
- You’ll need to carry change with you if you’re riding the bus or trolley because drivers only accept cash – er – coins, and the average adult fare is 80 cents with a child’s fare of 65 cents. Drivers won’t break bills.
- Sign up for emergency notifications through the WINS program (Warning Information Notification System). The program includes 150 emergency, weather, and infrastructure alerts delivered to your email or mobile device.
- If you are eligible, enroll in the NEXUS trusted traveler program. It’s only available for U.S. and Canadian citizens. NEXUS travelers get to skip the long lines at the border and go through the “fast line” between the countries on the Blue Water Bridge. With at least 14,000 cars passing through every day, it could save you a lot of time with just a little foresight.
- Before crossing the border, check the list of things you can’t bring to Canada/U.S. The list for each country is different. For example, radar detectors are illegal in Ontario and will be confiscated at the border. You will not get it back.
- The only casinos on the U.S. side are in Detroit, but there’s a casino just across the bridge in Ontario. The gambling age in Ontario is 19. The machines only accept Canadian Dollars, but you can exchange currency at the casino cage for the bank rate.
- Careful where you park in Port Huron as some places are free, others metered. Some spots have an hour limit; some go up to 10 hours. The “Shopping/Dining Zone” has free parking. From December through March, parking on city streets isn’t allowed to accommodate snow plows. This is in effect that ENTIRE time, not just when it’s snowing.
So... How Safe Is Port Huron Really?
Port Huron is one of the cities that isn’t seeing an explosion in violent crime, at least through the end of 2021, which is the latest year crime data is available.
Crime rates are mostly even, if not slightly down, in most major categories.
2021 also saw a surge of community crime tips, fuel by the Project Blue community policing initiative and collaboration on the Neighbors app to report crimes and criminals.
Being a border city is always going to bring dangerous elements over country lines, and it’s not just Mexico that fuels the American drug trade.
In January 2023, a major bust prevented $47 million in illegal drugs.
Understand that diligence might mean longer wait times at the border, but it’s definitely worth it.
The violent crime rate is 95% higher than the national average, but look at this:
- 18% of violent crimes happened against strangers
- 71% of violent crimes happened in private homes
The risk of a tourist being a victim is low, and that’s why we gave the city a low overall risk factor.
Car break-ins are always going to be a concern, so lock it up, roll up the windows, and keep personal belongings out of plain sight.
How Does Port Huron Compare?
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- Visas - Review the rules from Border Patrol and Customs to see what documents you'll need to get into the U.S. and the Canadian Border Services Agency for specifics in that country. Just because you enter the U.S. with certain documents doesn't mean there aren't more requirements going back into Canada or vice versa.
- Currency - You can only use the U.S. Dollar on the Port Huron side and the Canadian Dollar on the Ontario side. Exchange currency at the duty-free shop at the border. Pay attention to the duty and taxes on items purchased on either side of the border.
- Weather - You'll get a harsh winter that can start in fall and not end until spring, so bring warm layers and insulated accessories to protect your feet, hands, and head. Summers will be warm, but not oppressively hot. You'll need comfortable walking shoes and bug spray.
- Airports - Plan for a 90-minute drive to Detroit's Wayne County Metropolitan Airport from Port Huron. There really isn't another good airport option nearby.
- Travel Insurance - We recommend you have travel insurance that covers international boundaries to ensure accidents in Michigan or Ontario are covered.
Port Huron Weather Averages (Temperatures)
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