Walk with dinosaurs, sail through a Great Lakes storm, paddle in a kayak, or snowshoe the backcountry. Whatever the season, there are always things to see and do in the Sanctuary of the Great Lakes.
Building a Life Without Limits Through Improved Fitness, Nutrition & Mind/Body Awareness
The Performance Locker is a personal performance training studio focused on helping the community restore overall health and wellness and connecting the population with the natural resources available in Northeast Michigan. Just as your DNA is unique to you, so is your fitness and nutrition formula. Practices and methods focus on individual differences and help people find the proper balance between improved fitness, nutrition, and mind/body awareness to achieve overall health and wellness.
The Performance Locker is NOT a gym, there are no treadmills or stationary weight machines. It is a functional movement and wellness activity facility. It operates on a low coach-to-client ratio through one-on-one sessions or small groups. Clients receive individualized attention to their health based on initial movement and nutrition screenings and progressions are individually layered.
Offerings include but are not limited to: small group fitness training, personal movement coaching, Pilates (mat and reformer), yoga, reiki, sound healing, personal nutrition counseling, outdoor recreation classes and workshops, outdoor gear rental, and guided outdoor adventure tours.
Michigan’s 100th State park is one of the most unique state parks in the midwest. The variety of terrain and unique geologic, historic, and natural elements found at the park create a unique collection of experiences to be had by visitors.
Few places remain that offer a true outdoor trail adventure. Flat, smooth trails are nice but where do you go when you want a good back-to-nature challenge? Rockport is perfect for long hikes or mountain bike trail rides. Rugged trails transverse the 4,000+ acres of the Rockport property. Some parts of the trails are smooth, some are rocky, and some are delightfully interrupted by wandering tree roots. Enjoy the wilds of the wilderness with a map and a compass and your sense of exploration. Trails fan out from the parking lot.
Deepwater Port & Pier
In the mining days freighters pulled into port to load their bellies with freshly mined stone. All that remains of this era today is the pier platform. A walk out onto the pier surrounds you with the breeze of the big lake and stunning views of her sparkling waters. You can spot the ancient dock pilings peeking out near the edges of the pier as turquoise water laps against the cement walls. The pier is located just off the parking area.
Besser Natural Area & Bell Village
On the north end of the Rockport property is a stunning beach, nature trail, and remnants of an historic village. Besser Natural Area is home to one of Michigan’s last remaining stands of virgin pine. Hike through an easy trail in the soft woods to view the timber and what remains of the old village of Bell, including the community’s primitive cemetery. When your forest adventure is complete, relax along one of Michigan’s most beautiful sandy beaches, near Bell Bay. Just off shore lies a shipwreck in mere feet of water and a ship’s mast rests in a lagoon along the shoreline.
Rural isolation has its benefits. Being miles away from any major metropolitan area gives northeast Michigan an unique advantage for those who enjoy the mysteries revealed in the night sky. Our lack of concentrated light pollution makes the cosmos appear crisp and clear. Dark lands can be found at Rockport State Park Recreation Area where light emissions are among the lowest in the Great Lakes. Stars, meteors, planets and moons await your discovery.
Access to the big lake is easy with the boat launch located at the Rockport harbor. There is plenty of parking for trucks with trailers. Fish for Brown Trout, Chinook, King, Salmon, Lake Trout and Walleye. Fishing off the pier is also a fun way to spend the day.
Fossils in the Quarry
Today, the terrain of the abandoned 300-acre limestone quarry is like something from another planet and hiking through the quarry is an interesting and intriguing experience. As you walk be careful not to trip over fossils. The landscape is dotted with fossilized remnants of the Devonian Period some 400 million years ago. Don’t forget a bucket! Each visitor is allowed to take home up to 25 lbs of fossils per person per year. The quarry is easily accessed via the trail from the parking lot. Trail is rugged; sturdy shoes recommended.
A dozen sinkholes dot the Rockport property and make for an exciting adventure into the forest in search of these unique geologic features. While most of the Rockport sinks are dry you can find one that is nearly 100 ft. deep and filled with water and fish! While it is not recommended that you climb into them for safety reasons, you can hike up to the edge and see the karst topography before your very eyes. Sinkholes are located throughout the forest and can be found by hiking out beyond the quarry. Trails are rugged but are also passable via mountain bike.
Two conveyor tunnels from the old mining operation have become home to, and a hibernation site for three species of bats; big and little brown bats, and the tri-colored bat. The third being less common in the state, especially in the lower peninsula. The number of bats hibernating at Rockport is significant and it is important to protect these populations. A group of high school welding students from Alpena constructed grates for the tunnels. The group is part of the only 4-H welding group in the state. The grates cover openings in the conveyor tunnels to keep people out but allow the bats easy access. Look for interpretive signage near the tunnels behind the large rock hill adjacent to the pier.
The Nautical City is a quaint port town with charming streets, a beautiful harbor, and two distinguished museums. Spend an afternoon strolling the streets and grab a gourmet coffee before heading back to Alpena for the night.
Presque Isle County Historical Museum is one of the best small museums in Michigan. Under the direction of Curator Mark Thompson, the museum has received recognition from many sources, including the State of Michigan Historical Society. The museum is in the process of expanding. The current location is at 276 West Michigan Avenue, Rogers City, MI 49779. This is the site of the Bradley House–home of Carl D. Bradley, the founder of the Limestone Quarry and the Bradley fleet of Great Lakes freighters. The museum has acquired an adjoining property, located at 185 West Michigan. This location is under development, and it is planned to be open soon.
The Great Lakes Lore Maritime Museum is located at 367 North Third Street, Roger’s City, MI 49779. Under the direction of David Erickson, the Lore museum contains many nautical artifacts and detailed biographical records of the many sailors who have perished on the Great Lakes.
Both museums are must see destinations for everyone who visits Roger’s City.
Rockport State Recreation Area Sinkholes
GPS: 45.202533, -83.384076, take US-23 North, turn right on Rockport Road, the park is at the end of Rockport Rd.
Rockport is Michigan’s 100th State Park and is the first State Park where you are allowed to take a piece of it home with you. There are 13 sinkholes located at Rockport as a result of the Karst topography of the area. One of the sinkholes is over 100 feet deep and filled with water from an underground aquifer. Search for Devonian Era fossils around the sinkholes or in the abandoned 300-acre limestone quarry located on the property. Visitors are allowed to take up to 25 pounds of rock per person from the park per year. While you are here also check out the old deep port harbor, remnants of the former limestone mining operations that sat on the property.
Rugged trails loop throughout the property. Hike, bike, or bring your horse to ride the trails.
Starlite Beach is full of family fun. Sandy swimming beach, playground, splash park (coming summer 2018), picnic pavilion, indoor restrooms, and outdoor shower. Close to restaurants and lodging. Adjacent to Lee’s Mini-Golf, the oldest continuously run miniature golf course in Michigan.
Stevens Twin Sinkholes
GPS: 45.18231, -83.71981, near the corner of Leer Rd and Maple Lane Rd, approx. 20 minutes from Alpena.
Stevens Twin Sinks Preserve is a 31-acre parcel purchased in 1993 with gifts from William and Archie Stevens and other members and friends of the Michigan Karst Conservancy. In it are two sinkholes separated by a fragile saddle ridge, each sink is about 200 feet in diameter and 85 feet deep. Located across from the Bruski Sink on Leer Road near the intersection of Maple Lane Road, the Stevens Twin Sinks are a geological treat. Earth cracks are viewable at Stevens Preserve and indicate that the sink hole is slowly continuing to collapse and the surface is sliding toward the sink hole. This Preserve has two self-guided trails. One trail generally follows the perimeter of the sinkholes with a spur to the earth cracks. Another trail is found off the spur trail and takes visitors through the woods and meadows of the preserve and is marked with yellow and red flagging.
More information is available at the Alpena Visitor Welcome Center at 420 N. Second Ave, Alpena, MI 49707.
Thompson’s Harbor State Park
Located 24 miles north of Alpena on US 23 North
This natural area encompasses 5,000 acres of sand dunes, forests, upland and marsh. In Michigan, there are fewer than 50 remaining examples of “forested wet swale communities” of this quality. The area supports one of the largest known populations in the world of the federal and state-threatened dwarf lake iris, Michigan’s state wildflower. Thousands of iris shoots, and several other plant species of special concern grow in the area. Situated along seven and a half miles of Lake Huron shoreline, this undeveloped park provides a rustic retreat for hikers exploring the park’s six miles of trails. Hours of adventure can be had exploring trails, swimming in Lake Huron or playing in the sand dunes. Park at the trail-head off of US-23.
Thompson Park swimming beach offers a grassy picnic area with sandy swimming beach on the Lake Huron shore. The lake bottom is clear sand and shipwrecks is marked by a bouy off the shore. Attempting to swim out to the wrecks from shore is not recommended, but paddle craft can be carried to the waterline and launched.
One of the oldest light stations on Lake Huron is located on Thunder Bay Island Thunder Bay is the outermost island in a group of islands connected to the north point of Thunder Bay by a shallow bank of numerous rocks, most of which are submerged.
The light tower was first constructed in 1832 and was built to warn mariners of the dangerous reefs extending from the island Squatters were attracted to the federally-owned island and by 1845, a large fishing community thrived there. One hundred and sixty people lived on the island with thirty-one fishing boats harvesting twelve thousand barrels of fish each year.
Faced with government action to remove them from the island, the trespassers picked up their belongings and relocated to nearby Sugar Island, where they stayed for years. Access to the island is limited to the U S Coast Guard, U S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and members of the Thunder Bay Island Preservation Society. Contact the preservation society at (989) 356-6743.
Knockerball is a single chamber inflatable sphere with inner handles and adjustable shoulder straps. With two or more Knockerballs the experience is catapulted into rip roaring laughter, exhilarating knocks and rolls that will keep you coming back for more. Organizing a KnockerSoccer game is truly a blast but we will warn you, organized games generally break down into literal knock down chaos with the only resulting pain being from laughing so hard and having way too much fun.
Drop in times are Tuesdays from 6p.m.-8p.m., Saturdays from 4p.m.-8p.m. and Sundays from 1p.m.-4p.m. Private party packages available.
The Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary preserves a national treasure, nearly 200 historic shipwrecks in and around the bay. Lake Huron’s cold, fresh water preserves many of these shipwrecks intact and in water depths ranging from a few inches to 200 feet, making the sanctuary a popular destination for divers, snorkelers and kayakers. You can explore the history and archaeology of these wrecks at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, the Sanctuary’s 20,000 square foot river front headquarters. Exhibits on Great Lakes maritime history and shipwrecks include the new “Exploring the Shipwreck Century” exhibit, a 9,000 square ft. permanent exhibit where visitors can experience elements of a traditional maritime museum combined with a hands-on discovery center featuring life-sized recreations of an historic Great Lakes schooner and shipwreck sites, artifact displays, and interactive learning stations on technology and diving. Also featuring a sanctuary store, state of the art education spaces, high-definition theater, and archaeological conservation lab, the admission-free Center is a great destination and the best place to begin exploring Thunder Bay. Please call for current hours of operation. Wreck locations are available on our web site. While visiting Alpena, you may also want to explore the Thunder Bay Sanctuary Research Collection, one of the largest archival collections of Great Lakes maritime history in existence, located at the Alpena County George N. Fletcher Public Library. Please call for hours.
Hotel rooms, Whirlpool Suites, 2-bedroom Villas, 3-bedroom Chalets with kitchens, living rooms, decks overlooking golf course. Restaurant, Meeting Space, RV Park, Elk Viewing Carriage/Sleigh Ride Gourmet Dinner & Wine Tasting, Quilting & Scrapbooking Retreats.
Featuring challenging golf, deluxe condo-style lodging, attentive staff and our unique and memorable elk viewing sleigh/carriage ride and gourmet dinner. Par 73, 6,712 yds., slope 120 to 131. Carved from mature forests.
- Restaurant on site
- Meeting Facilities
- Breakfast available
- Near/On Snowmobile trails
- In Room Spa
- Open Year Round
The only year-round live theater in Northern Michigan. Located in a historic building in “Old Town” Alpena, the theatre provides a year-round schedule of programs, including mainstage productions, in-house and touring children’s shows and drama workshops. The theatre is committed to entertaining its audiences with high-quality productions, utilizing its resident professional company, augmented by community talent. Call the box office for up-to-date show information. Handicap accessible.