DescriptionSettled in 1840 at the head of Thunder Bay, Alpena served the booming lumber enterprises in the late 19th century. It is a center for industry and recreational boating, diving, fishing, snowmobiling, cross-country skiing and hunting; diving and fishing charters are popular on Lake Huron. The area also is home to a number of lighthouses. Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary lies in northwest Lake Huron; it was the first NOAA (National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration) sanctuary to be designated in the Great Lakes. These 448 square miles contain more than 100 shipwrecks, and there are opportunities for boating, diving, kayaking and snorkeling. The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center interprets the underwater sanctuary.
The 18.5-mile bicycling/hiking/in-line skating Alpena Bi-Path winds through some of the city's parks and beaches along Thunder Bay River and Lake Huron. A portion of the route includes the Maritime Heritage Trail, which runs along the Thunder Bay River downtown and showcases local maritime culture and history. It begins and ends in South Riverfront Park and includes a boardwalk, a pedestrian bridge and interpretive signage.
Duck Park and Island Park, US 23 and Long Rapids Road at the Thunder Bay River, occupy part of a 600-acre wildlife sanctuary and offer opportunities for fishing. Duck Park also has a picnic area and is a good locale for bird-watching; kayaks can be rented by calling (989) 255-7796. Island Park, which is across the bridge from Duck Park, features nature trails.
Limestone quarries remain important in the region. North and west of the city is an area of natural sinkholes created by the settling of the limestone crust into caverns formed by subterranean streams. Some of the sinkholes are more than 150 feet deep.
Visitor InfoAlpena Area Convention & Visitors Bureau 235 W. Chisholm St. ALPENA, MI 49707. Phone:(989)354-4181 or (800)425-7362
ShoppingDowntown Alpena offers clothing and gift boutiques. The Alpena Farmers Market is held behind City Hall Wed. and Sat. 8-1, May-Oct.; in addition to produce, vendors entice customers with baked goods, flowers, maple syrup, honey, and arts and crafts.
Things to SeeBesser Museum for Northeast Michigan