Main street in Port Huron with white tents and crowds of people during the Mackinac Race.

Thumb Region

Thumbs Up for a Balanced Lifestyle

Encompassing cities from Owosso to Flint, to Frankenmuth and Port Huron, Michigan’s “thumb region” is renowned for its smaller, family-friendly communities that offer a high quality of life with an emphasis on local culture. Here, you’ll find a cost of living that is lower than other areas of Michigan, with significantly less out-of-pocket expenses than the national average. The area also boasts a low crime rate and affordable properties, particularly in the interior, while providing access to 140 miles of beautiful coastline along Lake Huron. Often referred to as Michigan’s “thumb-coast,” this region and is also known as the Maritime Capital of the Great Lakes with unique sites such as the Huron Lightship and the Great Lakes Maritime Center. The location also provides access to Ontario, Canada via the Blue Water Bridge one of Michigan’s international border crossings.

If you’re looking for a more laid-back lifestyle (yet not far from Detroit or Lansing) where you can build a career in professional services, advanced manufacturing, clean energy and more, Michigan’s thumb region will point you in the right direction.

Michigan’s Thumb Region by the Numbers

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  • Living Here
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Working Here

A Magnet for Opportunity

Michigan’s Thumb Region offers a plethora of job opportunities, whether you’re a financial analyst, an experienced marketer, a skilled worker or an entrepreneur. Cities in the interior of the region such as Sandusky and Marlette are home to several employers in professional services and advanced manufacturing industries. And with an abundance of growing downtowns in cities such as Port Huron and Bay City, the region is a prime candidate for anyone looking to turn an idea into a reality, bolstered by inexpensive properties and communities that welcome new local businesses.

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Man operates robotic arm at advanced manufacturing company.
Living Here

All the Features Without the Fuss

The lifestyle in Michigan’s Thumb Region offers a unique blend of small-town charm and modern amenities. While the largest city, Port Huron, boasts a population of nearly 30,000, other cities and towns in the area have populations in the thousands — creating a close-knit community atmosphere. Plus, with an overall cost of living that sits approximately 20% lower than the national average, the living is as affordable as it is agreeable in cities like Port Austin and Marlette. Colleges like St. Clair Community College — known for its highly ranked nursing program — fuel the vitality of the region’s industries. Access to top-notch healthcare is also readily available at hospitals like McKenzie Health in Sandusky, while modern amenities such as fiber optic internet connectivity, the nearby Detroit Metro Airport and robust emergency services are widespread throughout the region.

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Cars drive by on a quaint street at sunset in Port Huron.
Playing Here

An Easygoing Destination for Fun

If you’re looking to get away from the bustle while remaining close to big city amenities, Michigan’s Thumb Region is just the place. Filled with laid-back, small-town experiences and an abundance of outdoor recreation at state parks like Port Crescent State Park and Albert E. Sleeper State Park, there’s always an excuse to enjoy nature’s beauty here. The city of Port Huron stands out for its robust parks and family-friendly recreation, with a skate park, two Lake Huron beaches and a unique miniature city that are sure to spark wonder for the whole family. In Frankenmuth, find authentic Bavarian tradition and culture alongside a plethora of adult and youth leagues that’s perfect for sports enthusiasts. And if you’re a fan of maritime life, you’ll find the region’s history fascinating, whether you’re visiting the Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum or one of the many coastal beacons like the Fort Gratiot lighthouse, the oldest in the state.

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Small groups sail out of Port Huron on two boats.

Contact Us

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Brianna Mosier

Director of Organizational Development Flint & Genesee Group (810) 600 - 1451

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