Where else can you get a photo-op with the dinosaurs, swim with over 100-year-old shipwrecks, and capture the most breathtaking sunrises and sunsets?! Alpena is the place to be for capturing the best sharable photos. 

Covered Wooden Bridge & Water Tower

Located at Duck Park (corner of Chisholm St./US-23 & Johnson St./Long Rapids Rd.) 

Constructed in the summer of 2015, this hand-hewn wooden bridge is often the centerpiece picturesque backdrop for wedding photos, senior portraits, paddling trips, and hiking adventures. With the peaceful Thunder Bay River below, you won’t want to miss a photo-op at this covered bridge connecting Duck Park to Island Park. 

Use hashtags: #bridgingacommunity #sanctuaryofthegreatlakes #thunderbayriver #nature #islandadventure #alpena #wildlifepreserve 

Rock Pile at Rockport State Recreation Area

End of Rockport Rd., Alpena, MI (Must have a recreation passport or purchase one at the park)

Located at Rockport State Recreation Area, this stately towering rock pile has made its way into every die-hard Alpena adventurers’ album at one time or another. Left over from the mining days from the limestone quarry that can be found on-site, this pile is a favorite photo opportunity among locals. This park is also a designated Dark Sky Preserve, where the view of the night sky is nothing short of impeccable. Climb the rock pile for a starry night, or a breathtaking scenic day with the aqua blue waters of Lake Huron below. *Warning* please use caution if you decide to climb the rock pile, stay away from the edge, this activity is at your own risk. 

Use hashtags: #rockport #fossils #greatoutdoors #puremichigan #sanctuaryofthegreatlakes #alpena #adventure #hike #darkskies #rockpile

Sunrise & Sunsets

From dusk ’til dawn, nothing says sunrise and sunset like the east coast of Michigan. From the tranquil waters of the Thunder Bay River to the waves of Lake Huron lapping at your feet, you’ll find a sunset and a sunrise worthy of a Facebook cover photo right here in Alpena: Sanctuary of the Great Lakes. Best spots for a sunrise: Rise and shine and set up your camera anywhere along the beaches of Lake Huron. Thomson Park, Starlite Beach, and Bay View Park are great Lake Huron locations right in the city of Alpena. All of these sunrise viewing areas are located right off of State Street in Alpena, MI. Best spots for a sunset: Looking to the west on the Thunder Bay River at Washington Avenue Park is a great spot for a sunset view in town and also the west shores of Long Lake, Grand Lake, Beaver Lake, and Hubbard Lake. 

Use hashtags: #sunrise or #sunset #puremichigan #sanctuaryofthegreatlakes #alpena #mieastcoast #mialpena 

‘Make a Splash’ Mural

109 W. Chisholm St. Alpena, MI 

Adorning the west wall of The Local Basket Case, (inside of the Chisholm Street pocket park and adjacent to The Owl Restaurant) this community mural was completed in summer of 2016 during the “Make a Splash for Art” workshop and fundraising event. The Aquascape features 13 three-dimensional fish designed by local children and painted by the community. 

Use hashtags: #arttown #maritimeheritage #makeasplashforart #aquascapemural #downtownalpena #fishmural

45th Parallel Sign

Half way between the equator and the North Pole is where you’ll find Alpena! This iconic sign is a tourist magnet and you won’t want to leave without the token “we were here” selfie. Located on US 23 South just as you are leaving or heading into Alpena (be cautious near the roadway). GPS Coordinates: 45 0’N 85 47’W 

Use hashtags: #45parallel #alpena #halfwaytoequator #halfwaytonorthpole #sanctuaryofthegreatlakes #travel #visitalpena #alpenaphotoop 

Walking with Dinosaurs

11160 US-23 Ossineke, MI 

Another great American roadside wonder is waiting for its close-up in the village of Ossineke, just 10 miles south of Alpena. You can pretend to walk through prehistoric times with none other than the hand-sculpted dinosaurs of Dinosaur Gardens. Capture a photo with a T-Rex (who else can say they have done this?!) then enjoy some frozen yogurt and a round of mini-golf. 

Use hashtags: #dinosaurgardens #walkwiththedinosaurs #prehistoric #walkthroughtime #alpena #dinosaurs #sanctuaryofthegreatlakes #outdooradventure 


Old Presque Isle Lighthouse 5295 E. Grand Lake Rd. Presque Isle, MI

New Presque Isle Lighthouse 4500 E. Grand Lake Rd. Presque Isle, MI

The Old and New Presque Isle Lighthouses are easily accessible by vehicle spring through fall and make the perfect Northern Michigan backdrops. Take a photo from the top of the lighthouses for a scenic view. New Presque Isle light is the tallest accessible lighthouse on the Great Lakes and on a clear day you can even see Canada! 

Use hashtags: #presqueisle #lighthouses #alpena #sanctuaryofthegreatlakes #lakehuron #mieastcoast #puremichigan #hauntedalpena 

The Shipwrecks

Photo courtesy of Paul Gerow

Grab your waterproof housing and dive in to snorkel the shipwrecks of the Thunder Bay, a.k.a. “Shipwreck Alley”. #JustANormalDayInAlpena Not a diver, snorkeler, or lover of being in the water? No problem! you can still capture the shipwrecks underwater while remaining dry atop the Lady Michigan, our glass bottom boat the services shipwreck tourists over up to 6 different shipwrecks in the area. 

Use hashtags: #maritimeheritage #thunderbaymarinesanctuary #sanctuaryofthegreatlakes #shipwreckalley #divealpena #puremichigan 

The Break Wall

250 Prentiss St. Alpena, MI (this address is to the Alpena Yacht Club, you will see the break wall just past the club)

Alpena’s Small Boat Harbor is embraced by a beautiful pier for walking, jogging, and spectacular panoramic photo opportunities of the mighty Lake Huron. Alpena’s Little Red Lighthouse greets you at the end. Miles and miles of Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay coastline is the backdrop for this Pure Michigan photo experience. 

Use hashtags: #lakehuron #alpena #sanctuaryofthegreatlakes #boatharbor #breakwall #picoftheday #alpenaphotoop #lighthouse 

Paul Bunyan & Babe the Blue Ox

Ossineke, MI (across from Mr. Ed’s IGA) 

Revisit the tall tales of American Folklore about 10 miles south of Alpena in Ossineke, MI. Snap a photo of you and your friends hanging out with Paul and his trusty blue ox, Babe. Some say this is the original birthplace of Paul and who are we to disagree!

Use hashtags: #paulandbabe #talltales #sanctuaryofthegreatlakes #puremichigan #blueox #ossineke #miadventure #alpena 

When posting on Instagram, always include #sanctuaryofthegreatlakes #alpena and #puremichigan. Be sure to follow us on IG @sanctuary_of_the_great_lakes