Things To do at Ramada by Wyndham Alpena Hotel & Conference Center
Pay homage to those who perished or seek natural repose along pristine shores
A stay in our area begs for a trek to, and through, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve. With an estimated 100-plus historically significant shipwrecks dating back to the 19th century, a tour of this legendary site offers unique insight into our maritime heritage. Enjoy calmer pursuits along the shores of Lake Huron, where kayaking, canoeing, and many serene freshwater activities await, or visit the downtown district for unique shopping, charming cafes, and endless hospitality. Golfers will rejoice in our hotel’s proximity to the lush 18 holes at Alpena Golf Club and adults can celebrate with a local ale or lager, nearby at Austin Brothers Brewery.
Besser Company World Headquarters
Lafarge North America
shores of Lake Huron
Alpena Regional Medical Center
Alpena County Regional Airport
BEST Things to DO in Alpena MI
We're going to let you in on one of Michigan's best-kept secrets: we consider the northeast corner of Michigan's lower peninsula one of the best Michigan travel spots for a vacation or getaway, be it summer OR winter. It's true. From Tawas north along M-23 to Mackinaw City, the quiet towns dotting the Lake Huron shoreline and the surrounding area offer endless opportunity for outdoor activities and some fun indoor ones, too, in the form of shopping, art galleries and museums.
This "Sunrise Side" of the state doesn't get quite as much attention as its counterparts Lake Michigan and the Upper Peninsula, but it's not because it lacks merit. In fact, Alpena and the area near Alpena boast tons of opportunity for fun, ranging from glass bottom boat tours over visible shipwrecks to exploring dark-sky parks to visiting some of the state's most well-curated museums.
Read on to discover some of the best things to do in the Alpena area.
Visit Downtown Alpena MI
Visit Alpena and you'll find endless biking trails, farmers markets and fishing charters, and that doesn't even begin to scratch the surface of the fun things to to in Alpena. Downtown Alpena is a whole other story: cute boutiques and cafes, movie theaters (to keep you busy on a rainy day), and more housed in the historic buildings that line the street.
Be sure and plan time to stroll North Second Avenue, and walk over the bridge spanning the Thunder Bay River; for a scenic view
Beaches in Alpena
With so many activities in Alpena to keep you busy; the beautiful beaches in Alpena may have to take a wait a bit, but be sure to visit them. The area's beachfront parks like Starlite Beach and Bayview Park, are well-maintained, as are the others.
This Michigan-focused community museum features a full-dome sky theater, rotating art galleries, science education and extensive history exhibits. Visitors can explore the lumbering and farming history of Northeast Michigan, and visit the Peoples of Lakes and Forest Gallery, which houses a variety of Prehistoric and Native American artifacts unique to this region. The museum offers an opportunity to find your own piece of history: museum guests can also explore the historic buildings on the Museum's property and dig for Devonian fossils in the Lafarge Fossil Park and keep the fossils you find. Don’t leave this spot without trying your hand at fossil hunting.
Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center
One of coolest things about this museum is the full-size replica wooden Great Lakes schooner and shipwreck where visitors can walk the decks, feel a Great Lakes storm, and touch the massive timbers of the boat resting on the lake bottom...without getting wet. HINT: If you’re prone to sea sickness, you might want to hold off on lunch until after you’ve toured the ship.
Thunder Bay Marine Sanctuary
Picturesque Thunder Bay - with its many small islands - is a prime destination for divers from all over the world. The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary protects the waters surrounding the 116 shipwrecks below the surface. These shipwrecks, victims of an area of the Great Lakes known as "Shipwreck Alley" due to the treacherous conditions caused by huge gales that can quickly whip up in the area, can be explored by divers or by glass-bottom boats.
Paddle over a Shallow Shipwreck
A number of the shipwrecks in the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary lie in fairly shallow waters and can be easily accessed via paddleboard or kayak. You can also take an Alpena Shipwreck Tour to catch a glimpse. Shipwreck Tours are also available in in a glass bottom boat.
Alpena Brown Trout Festival
Alpena is home to the “Longest Running Fishing Tournament in the Great Lakes,” also known as The Annual Michigan Brown Trout Festival. The 10-day festival combines many different fishing tournaments as sportsmen and women vie for Brown Trout, Walleye, Steelhead, Salmon, and Lake Trout. Celebrations throughout the city, including Family Fun days, local bands and a beer tent all add to a great northern Michigan summer festival.
Dark Sky Preserve Parks
Some of the most amazing stargazing in the northern hemisphere can be found at one of Alpena’s nearby State Dark Sky Preserve parks including Rockport State Park Recreation Area, Thompson’s Harbor State Park, or Negwegon State Park. These parks are now protected from artificial light pollution and provide amazing nighttime views. A visit to a dark sky park offers one of your best chances to spot the Northern Lights in lower peninsula. If you’re lucky, you might catch a view of a spectacular show of the Aurora Borealis.
Who knew Michigan’s own Jurassic Park is located in northeast Michigan along Lake Huron? Take a walk past enormous T-Rex, Stegosaurus, Triceratops, and tons of other giant life-like prehistoric creatures. Guests can explore the No-Boundaries exhibits to discover what life was like when dinosaurs ruled the world. Try the walking or guided tours, play putt-putt golf, or even dig for fossils at this fun-for-all-ages stop along US-23.
North of Alpena
Travel about an hour north of Alpena to find the largest waterfalls in Michigan’s lower peninsula, also the only universally-accessible waterfall in the United States. Hike of bike the more than six miles of trails and if it’s warm enough, duck your head under the falls to cool off. This pristine forest setting is so beautiful, you’ll find yourself returning year after year.
Beautiful Presque Isle county is just a shore drive north of Alpena, and it’s worth it. Drive north along US-23 and you’ll pass Long Lake and Grand Lake, two of northern Michigan’s most scenic inland lakes and enjoy the aquamarine color of the water.
In addition to a natural harbor, you’ll find not one but TWO lighthouses: the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse and the New Presque isle Lighthouse. The New Presque Isle Lighthouse is a favorite tourist attraction in the area: climb the 130 steps to the top and you’ll be rewarded with stunning vistas of Lake Huron.
Rockport State Recreational Area
This more-than-4000 acre State Park located along the shores of Lake Huron just north of Alpena is an official Dark Sky Preserve, which makes its an ideal place to watch meteor showers and other galactic wonders throughout the year. Partially located on on old limestone quarry, you’ll find a great spot to hunt for fossils as well as hiking and biking trails, a deep-water port, sinkholes and even secluded, sandy beaches.
Canoeing in Alpena
Surrounded by the waters of Lake Huron, the Thunder Bay River and a 500 acre Wildlife Sanctuary, Alpena is an excellent spot to canoe, kayak or paddleboard.