Situated in northern Michigan, Alpena is a popular destination for tourists during summer. Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary serves as one of the main attractions in town. The MidMichigan Health, a rural regional medical center employs more of the area’s residents than any other location. Henry Schoolcraft named the town Alpena, which somewhat translates to “a good partridge country”. But the town is known as the “Sunrise Side” because of its location on the eastern shoreline of Michigan. Alpena was once a commercial fishing area and host to many related activities. Today, the town is famous for its limestone quarry, one of the biggest in the world.
People also come to Alpena to explore its rich history and its natural wonders through some of the points of interest discussed below. If you’re into outdoor adventures and love learning new things, Alpena should be part of your next trip to or through Michigan.
Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
This 4000 square mile sanctuary protects the Great Lakes and its history. Their mission is to educate people about the rich history of the Great Lakes and how it helps form the society we know today. They worked hard to ensure that these underwater treasures will still be around for future generations to enjoy. Some 200 or more historic shipwrecks lied deep within Lake Huron’s fresh water and with the help of the community preserve these priceless treasures. The visitor center also shows different exhibits for visitors to take in and enjoy. Staffs at the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary are equipped with the knowledge to educate visitors and they’re super friendly too. Visitors are always fascinated with the history of the shipwrecks and leave appreciating the Great Lakes that much more.
This hidden gem is a great place to go for a romantic stroll or a family picnic. Its view of the river is very picturesque like those of a painting. The Alpena Bi-Path is well maintained and a safe place to ride a bike or just enjoy a leisure walk. It gives you an idea how healthy and happy the lifestyle is in the area. The best time to explore the place is early morning when you can see other bikers around or late in the afternoon.
Stoney Acres Winery
This winery offers some of the best soda and wines in town. It’s near the Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary and best to drop by to this place before heading home. Servers will let you taste some of the homegrown brewed and even have several choices of sodas for your kids. They even have chutney samples to go along with their wine.
Island Park & Wildlife Sanctuary
Another great family destination around Alpena is the Island Park & Wildlife Sanctuary. They have different types of plants and trees with markers that educate visitors. The sanctuary also has many spots for family pictures or selfie opportunities. What makes this place great is the accessibility. They have easy trails for wheelchairs and walking paths, making the outdoors available to everyone. They have labels along to way to let you know that you can expect on a particular trail.
Don’t let the exterior fool you, small as it is, Besser Museum has some great exhibits for your family. Their planetarium offers some interesting shows with a presenter that is well versed in the field. It is not too crowded, and perfect for little kids to explore some of their exhibits. The museum houses a refurbished boat and fossil pit which is great for your kids to dig their treasures. Overall, it’s a nice place to visit whenever in town.
If you plan on making your way through Alpena or anywhere in Michigan while the temperature is low, make sure to bring along your favorite hot beverage in one of our Michigan D Tumblers to help keep your drink (and you) warm.