Cheboygan’s  Grass Bay Preserve contains a rare find in the Great Lakes—one of the finest examples of an original interdunal wetland habitat, characterized by beach pools, marshes, flats, and wetlands, all separated by low dunes.
Owned by the Nature Conservancy, this delicate ecosystem comprises a great diversity of plants, including more than 25 species of orchids and 11 types of conifers. Four of the species—dwarf lake iris, Lake Huron tansy, Pitcher’s thistle, and Houghton’s goldenrod—grow only on the Lake Huron and Lake Michigan shores.
The Nature Conservancy considers Grass Bay its best property in Michigan. The preserve’s original 80 acres have grown to more than 400, including a one-mile stretch of Lake Huron shore. From May to September, Grass Bay is noted for its carpet of wildflowers, including lady’s slipper, Indian paintbrush, blue harebell, and sundews.
The best way to take them all in is from one of the park’s two short trails, which wander through an aspen/birch forest and across old shoreline ridges to the beach. Note, however, that this is private—and very fragile—land. Parking can be hard to find, too—most visitors use lots on U.S. 23 (ask first).