Sanctuary of the great lakes

Itineraries & Tours

Local experts are available to assist in leading or creating a unique tour adventure for your group (just call our office!), or you may enjoy one of the self-guided tours below. 

Fossils, Historic Ghost Village, Shipwrecks and More! Rockport State Recreation Area, Michigan’s 100th State Park, has over 4,237 acres of land located on the shores of Lake Huron north of Alpena. The property includes a deep-water protected harbor, an old limestone quarry of approximately 300 acres, a unique series of sinkholes, 400 million-year-old Devonian Era fossils, the Besser Natural Area and historic Bell Village, shipwrecks, and a broad range of land types, vegetative cover, cultural resources and recreation opportunities. At the harbor, the DNR has a boat launch facility, and there is a small park with picnic areas. Print out this handy Rockport State Recreation Area Adventure Guide to start your exploration of Michigan’s 100th State Park. 


Sue Peterman kayaks the shipwrecks off of Bell Bay.

Not just for the birds! Explore Sunrise Coast Birding Trail– The coast of Lake Huron is an excellent location for birding. The Sunrise Coast Birding Trail includes 145 miles along Northeastern Lower Michigan and is a destination for bird enthusiasts. Download the Trail map and start exploring! Thunder Bay Audubon Society has also put together a number of great birding spots in and around Alpena, check out the list.

Legends of Thunder Bay: Glass-bottom Boat Shipwreck Viewing– Explore the shipwrecks of the Thunder


Stay dry and view the shipwrecks atop the Lady Michigan.

Bay National Marine Sanctuary. The crystal clear waters and our large ‘glass bottom’ viewing wells allow you to dive the wrecks – without getting wet. During our 2-hour cruise, you will experience the magnificently preserved shipwrecks and the scenic shorelines of Thunder Bay. Learn the exciting tales of many famous ships and the history, legends, and lore of Lake Huron. Get tickets for the tour here.

Lighthouse ToursIn the days before ship-to-shore radio and global positioning systems, lighthouses were the only signposts on the Great Lakes. If you couldn’t see them, or the stars and the sun, you were driving blind. This self-guided driving tour encompasses 20 key maritime destinations while following the journey during the great storm of 1913. You can check out the tour by downloading Lighthouse Exploration Adventure Guide and by reading our blog The 7 Lighthouse Adventure. You may also stop by the Alpena Visitor Welcome Center in Alpena and pick up a printed copy of the tour.

Trails, Parks & Beaches are waiting for you! Pack your bike, bring a picnic lunch, spend a day in the water. No matter what kind of relaxed adventure you’re looking for, you’ll find it on more than 100+ miles of groomed trails, more than 20 parks, and almost 10 beaches!

Day Trip Ideas are great for when you use Alpena as your base camp. The quaint villages surrounding the Alpena area are perfect places to find that cute coffee shop, art gallery, or interesting historical marker to spend an afternoon.

Brunch Hotspots– “Let’s brunch!” is taking cities across the nation by storm, as brunch, that perfect time between traditional breakfast and lunch, becomes the most popular meal of the day. Alpena is no exception to the popularity of brunch and offers a variety of restaurants to please the palate and satisfy your brunch-y cravings. Click the link above to check out a handful of local favorites with a must-try item from each!

Sinkholes– There are about 100 of these natural geologic wonders in the Alpena area, and 200 across Northern Michigan. Only the Stevens Twin Sinks, the Bruski Sink, and “Mystery Valley”-Sunken Lake are open for public viewing. You can download the Sinkhole Adventure Guide, or pick up one up at the Community Development Building.

Historic HomesVisitors can enjoy beautifully restored and preserved historic homes along tree-lined Washington Avenue and the U.S. 23 and M-32 corridors. Alpena’s historic homes, some dating back to the 19th century, capture the look and spirit of a long-past era. Examples of Gothic Revival, Italianate, Romanesque and early 20th-century Commercial, Beaux arts and Renaissance revival structures can be found. Download the Historic Tour or pick up a copy at the Community Development Building.

Alcona County Quilt Trail Project– The Alcona County Quilt Trail Project consists of large wooden quilt blocks, which are mounted on barns or other structures or sites of interest in Alcona County. Quilt Trail brochures are available online or at the Hollyhock Quilt Shop on Main Street in Harrisville. For more information, call 989-724-7788.

paul gerow winter bridge

Photo courtesy of Paul Gerow Landscape Photography

Maritime Heritage Trail– This historically-oriented walking tour along the Thunder Bay River in downtown Alpena begins at South Riverfront Park (behind the Armory on Water Street), following the river north, crossing over the Ninth Avenue Bridge, then following the river south and ending at South Riverfront Park. The walk includes a boardwalk, interpretive signs, a new pedestrian bridge behind the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center and integrates a portion of the city’s 16.5 mile Bi-Path. The overall objective of the trail is to demonstrate the importance of Lake Huron and the Thunder Bay River in the development of Alpena and its unique maritime culture.

49 Fun Must-Do Adventures for Families in your Sanctuary of the Great Lakes!– There are plenty of things to keep your family busy while you visit Alpena: Sanctuary of the Great Lakes. From exploring the great outdoors, to experiencing interactive indoor activities, you won’t have time to be bored. Here’s our list of the top 49 family fun adventures (in no particular order). 

The Brush Strokes of Alpena– As the fine arts capital of Northeast Lower Michigan, immersing yourself in local art culture across the community is plentiful and fun in any season. Participate in local art workshops, admire the art scene, or purchase a one-of-a-kind piece from a local artist. Enjoy an art town Alpena adventure at one or more of the following locations by clicking the link above. 



The Alpena Area Convention and Visitors Bureau welcomes the opportunity to assist your group in planning your event! We offer a number of services to groups, although they are by no means limited to the items listed below. Let us know how we can help you!

Mary Beth Stutzman, President & CEO
(989) 340-2288

Alpena Area Convention and Visitors Bureau
420 N. Second Ave.
Alpena MI 49707

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Alpena Convention & Visitors Bureau
420 N. 2nd Ave. • Alpena, MI 49707
(989) 340-2288
© 2014 Alpena Area Convention & Visitors Bureau, All Rights Reserved. Produced by Gaslight Media
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