Pack your bags and get ready for relaxed outdoor adventure on the tranquil bay that is Alpena. We’ve created a short list of the essentials you must pack to get the most out of your summer “Sanctuary Experience”


We’re making our summer list and checking it twice!


  1. Swimsuit. Water sports are the go-to adventure here in our Sanctuary of the Great Lakes. You are never more than a 10-minute average drive from any lake in Alpena County. Lake Huron– 5 minutes, Long Lake– 15 minutes, Grand Lake– 20 minutes (Presque Isle County), Hubbard Lake– 30 minutes (Alcona County).
  2. Book. Whether you’re relaxing on Starlite Beach, Bay View Park, or lounging in a hammock by the lake, “books wash away from the soul the dust of everyday life”… and Alpena provides the perfect backdrop.
  3. Picnic Blanket. Star light, star bright, a blanket is a must for stargazing at our Dark Sky Preserves. Observe the twinkling lights as you’ve never seen them before in these light pollution-free state parks. A blanket also doubles as the perfect space for comfort on the hill at Summer Movies by the Bay, located downtown at the band shell next to Bay View Park. Bring the family and view a timeless classic on an outdoor big screen, right next to the breaking waves of Lake Huron.
  4. Athletic shoes. If you’re really exploring Alpena, the right shoes will make all the difference! Hike the trails of Norway Ridge or explore the sinkholes of Bruski Sink, Stevens Twin Sinks, and Mystery Valley. Bike up the hilly terrain of Chippewa Hills Pathway or take a smooth ride along Alpena’s city bi-path and the Maritime Heritage Trail.  The choices…
  5. Backpack. For food, hydration, and of course, all those unique Alpena souvenirs! Shop one-of-a-kind boutiques in Alpena’s downtown and head out to Rockport State Recreation Area for some truly exclusive finds! In the 300-acre limestone quarry lies fossilized remnants from the Devonian Period, the age of fishes, 400 million years ago! Each visitor is allowed to take up to 25 lbs. of fossils per person, per year. A combination of something old and something new, from our Sanctuary of the Great Lakes…just for you!

Check out for a complete list of adventures and itineraries!