Escape to the Sanctuary of the Great Lakes, a city of total relaxation on the banks of Lake Huron, known for outdoor adventures and an old-world atmosphere.
The city of Alpena prides itself on being a sanctuary, a place of rejuvenation for sailors of old and travelers of today. Get engaged in fishing expeditions, kayaking adventures or a journey underwater to the region’s shipwrecks. Experience all of this at a laid-back destination that combines the charm of a historic city with the serenity and beauty of rural Lower Michigan.
Incorporated in 1871, Alpena grew out of Michigan’s booming 19th-century industries. See artifacts from Alpena’s industrial history in the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan. Walk down a replica street from 1890 and learn about the Native American peoples who have lived in the region for centuries.
Alpena is inextricably linked to the bay. Many of its attractions are out on the water. Dive into the depths of Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary on a shipwreck tour. See the ruins of vessels from Michigan’s maritime history, from wooden schooners to steel steamers. The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center tells the stories of these underwater wonders.
Take your binoculars to the Island Park Wildlife Sanctuary in the northern part of the city, where the diverse ecosystem of Lake Besser is home to both nesting and migratory birds. Watch the marshland for owls, kingfishers and flycatchers. Island Park is also a popular fishing destination.
Skirt the coast of Alpena and the surrounding region to visit historic lighthouses. The Alpena Light, which has been operating since 1877, sits within the city limits. Travel along the edges of the bay to spot Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, one of the oldest of the Great Lakes lighthouses.
Spend a day at the beach. Bay View Park and Washington Avenue Park feature picturesque views, picnic facilities and play areas.
Fly to Boyne Mountain Airport and drive for about 2 hours to reach Alpena. If you plan to explore the lakes and wildlife sanctuaries, visit in summer. Winter, however, promises snow-based adventures in the surrounding region of Northeast Michigan.