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Here are our 11 ideas for a day trip around the Alpena area:
- Paul Bunyan Family Campground US-23 South/Nicholson Hill Rd. Two legendary statues stand in the heart of
Ossineke at the blinking light. Babe the ox, built in 1938 by Walter Hayden, was originally placed on the hill across from Lookout Inn, following legend that a white cow on a hill signified good luck. In 1950 new owners painted Babe blue. Babe’s companion Paul was built in 1953 by Paul Domke, creator of the nearby Dinosaur Gardens.
- Dinosaur Gardens 1160 US-23 South. Wander through this world-renowned prehistoric garden to discover over 26 life-size dinosaurs tucked away in the forest. This unique experience includes an 18-hole mini-golf course, a souvenir shop, and a snack bar.
- Craftmakers Cabin 217 N. State St. Built in 1937, this historic cabin is now home to a gallery of local treasure including handcrafted items, folk art, honey, maple syrup, and much more.
- Sturgeon Point Lighthouse Point Rd. Until the early 20th Century, northern Michigan was almost completely dependent on waterborne commerce for all of its needs. Thousands of sailing vessels and early steamers plied the Great Lakes at a time when there were almost no aids to navigation to guide them along the dangerous coastline with its treacherous rocks, shoals and reefs. One such reef extends 1-12/ miles out into Lake Huron at Sturgeon Point, just north of Harrisville, Michigan. In 1869, the Lighthouse Service began construction of the lighthouse at Sturgeon Point to mark this hazard. Sturgeon Point Lighthouse became operational in the spring of 1870 and has been in continuous service for 137 years. It is still an operational lighthouse.
- Ghost Village of Bell 5 miles east of US-23 on Grand Lake Hwy. Located 15 miles north of Alpena, Bell was built in the 1870s during the Presque Isle Brick and Lumber Company era. Today a foot trail follows the old road that used to loop around the small peninsula at the edge fo the bay. You can still find the cemetery, a stone chimney, collapsed walls, stand of virgin white pine, and other remaining bits of a long-abandoned village. This location also features one of Michigan’s most pristine, secluded sandy beaches on Lake Huron. Pack a picnic lunch and spend an afternoon rejuvenating here.
- New Presque Isle Lighthouse 4500 East Grand Lake Rd. Located on the Lake Huron shoreline near Presque Isle, the New Presque Isle Light is the tallest accessible tower on the Great Lakes and offers a spectacular view. Explore the grounds that include a fully restored 1905 Keeper’s house, gift shop, playground, picnic area, and nature trails.
- Old Presque Isle Lighthouse 5295 East Grand Lake Rd. Climb the hand-hewn stone steps of one of the oldest surviving lighthouse on the Great Lakes and enjoy a panoramic view of the Lake Huron shoreline and Presque Isle Harbor.
- Fletcher Floodwater. Fletcher Pond is part of the upper south branch of the Thunder Bay River. Known for its monster pike, bass, walleye, and panfish. Formerly a large cedar swamp, the 8,970-acre pond is shallow and full of stumps and floating logs, perfect for fishing.
- Brush Creek Mill 121 S. Hillman St. Located in the heart of Hillman on the Thunder Bay River, this museum was built near the sites of some of the area’s first lumber mills. Brush Creek Mill offers a variety of displays, events, and activities.
- Ocqueoc Falls & Bicentennial Pathway M-68. “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 falls in 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.
- Hoeft State Park 5001 US-23. 300 acres of beautiful woodland is bordered by a mile of sandy Lake Huron shoreline. Enjoy the day-use area that includes swimming, a playground, and picnic facilities, or stay overnight at one of the 143 campsites.