Kayak, Canoe, SUP, Snorkel, Dive & Sail
Kayak, Canoe, & Paddleboard
Our Sanctuary of the Great Lakes is 66% water, making the Alpena area a prime destination for water trail enthusiasts! Quiet rivers and lakes provide a serene setting for an afternoon of gliding on the water, wildlife watching, or daydreaming. Kayak, canoe or standup paddleboard a variety of settings across the region including our 500 acre Wildlife Sanctuary and the Thunder Bay River. Paddle over some of the shallow water shipwrecks in the area with this handy guide: Shallow Shipwreck Paddle Guide.
For more water adventures, check out Rock the Boat! Summer on Alpena’s Waters
You don’t need to be a scuba diver to see some of Lake Huron’s famous shipwrecks up close. All equipment needed is available from local vendors (see listings below) for rental including masks, fins and wet suits. A wet suit rental makes a chilly lake comfortable, allows you to float without effort, and avoids sunburn. Novices welcome!
Alpena is home to the nation’s only freshwater marine sanctuary. Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary protects about 200 historically significant shipwrecks that lay at rest on the bottom of Lake Huron. View the collection of shipwrecks in what is known as Shipwreck Ally via kayak, or aboard Alpena’s glass-bottom boat, Lady Michigan. Visitors are also welcome to snorkel and dive the wrecks to get up close and personal with remnants of our nation’s past.
You can also explore the history and archaeology of these wrecks at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, the Marine Sanctuary’s 20,000 square foot river-front dry-land 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 a historic Great Lakes schooner and shipwreck sites), artifact displays, and interactive learning stations on technology and diving. Open year-round; Free admission.
Stay safe on the big lake with a few of these safety tips: Paddle Kayak Canoe SUP Safety Guide
From beginners sailing lessons to competing in Yngling fleet races, Alpena offers sailing lessons for people of all ages at the Alpena Youth Sailing Club. Enjoy the Pure Michigan experience on Lake Huron and don’t forget your sunscreen!
You can also watch local yngling sailboat races throughout the summer weeks at the Alpena Municipal Boat Harbor and Bay View Park.