The carefree days of your youth are alive and well in Alpena. Catching fireflies on warm summer evenings, searching for minnows with a net, reading a book under a shade tree, and watching the sunset while crickets provide background music are nostalgic experiences that we often wish we could relive. Alpena is that place where summer memories come alive as an everyday way of life, and stress floats away with the river current. Visit a downtown coffee shop to catch up on email, or disconnect to reconnect in the Sanctuary of the Great Lakes.
The Great Lakes are a gift from prehistoric glacier movement, and treasures have been left behind along the shores of Lake Huron and the many inland lakes and rivers. Hunt for fossils dating back 400 million years to the Devonian Period. Rocky edges along the shorelines, Rockport State Park Recreation Area, and the Lafarge Fossil Park at Besser Museum are perfect locations for an afternoon of prehistoric adventure. Follow it up with a trip to Dinosaur Gardens to see life-size prehistoric recreations.
Use our Adventure Checklist to find your explorer’s spirit: Sanctuary of the Great Lakes Adventure Checklist
The nation’s first fully accessible waterfall.
Ocqueoc is the lower Peninsula’s largest waterfall and is also the nation’s first universally accessible waterfall. “Waw-waugh-waugh-que-noc” (meaning sacred waters) was the name given by Native Americans to this beautiful river that is now called Ocqueoc. This hidden gem contains the largest fallsin the Lower Peninsula, with four small rapids and a pool for splashing. Ocqueoc Falls is also the first truly universally accessible waterfall in the nation, making it an ideal destination for everyone! Hike through the six-mile Bicentennial Pathway, enjoy the picnic area, or stay overnight at the rustic Ocqueoc Falls State Forest Campground.
Watch “The Spirit of Ocquoec Falls”: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-9W-e7QWacQ&feature=youtu.be
The Old Presque Isle Lighthouse is one of the oldest surviving lighthouses on the Great Lakes. Built in 1840 by Jeremiah Moors of Detroit, the harbor light operated until 1871 when the keeper transferred to a new, taller, coastal lighthouse a mile to the north. Visitors can climb the hand-hewn stone steps of the thirty feet tall tower for a panoramic view of the Lake Huron shoreline and Presque Isle Harbor. The keeper’s dwelling serves as a hands-on museum. Here, visitors can blow foghorns and examine other interesting artifacts. They can also ring the bell from the Lansing City Hall clock tower and pose for the perfect photo opportunity with head and hands in an old set of stocks. The buildings and park grounds are open to the public daily, from 9am until 6pm, mid-May through mid-October. A nominal fee is charged for tower climbs.
Recently renovated and reopened June, 2016. Owner Craig Pilichowski invites you to try their fresh, local menu and BBQ with on-site smoker. Craft brews and an abundance of wines to pair with your favorite dishes. Formerly “Olde Owl Tavern and Grille”. Efficient and friendly staff.