Looking for a day trip idea? Take an adventure north of Alpena to Presque Isle County, where lakes and trails await you. Sometimes you need to get away from all the hustle and bustle of city life and escape to a place that is surrounded by nature. Rejuvenate by taking a stroll through the woods, inhaling the fresh earthy smell of the trees, and enjoying the summer breeze, while you walk along sandy and rocky beaches.
  1. Besser Natural Area

20 minutes north of Alpena, this 1-mile foot trail winds through an area formerly inhabited by the people of the Village of Bell.  Explore the forest and find remains of historic buildings, a virgin stand of white pine trees, a lagoon, and a beautiful sandy beach. Besser Natural Area entrance is located on East Grand Lake Rd.

Chimney at Besser Natural Area.

An old chimney at Besser Natural Area.

  1. Thompson’s Harbor State Park

Head 24 miles north of Alpena on US 23 North, this natural area encompasses 5,000 acres of sand dunes, upland, and marsh. In Michigan, there are fewer than 50 remaining examples of “forested wet swale communities” of this quality. The area supports one of the largest known populations in the world of the federal and state-threatened dwarf lake iris, Michigan’s state wildflower. Thousands of iris shoots and several other plant species of special concern grow in the area. Situated along seven and a half miles of Lake Huron shoreline, this undeveloped park provides a rustic retreat for hikers exploring the park’s six miles of trails. Park at the trail-head off of US-23.

  1. North Bay Trail and Huron Trail

Adventure out to the New Presque Isle Lighthouse, located on Lake Huron. You can take a walk on two trails, on either side of the peninsula. North Bay Trail and Huron Trail are just a short jaunt through the woods. These trails are the perfect place to forest bathe and breathe-in the fresh scent of cedar trees while enjoying ideal views of Lake Huron.

  1. Range Light Beach

Located right on Lake Huron, Range Light Beach offers beautiful scenic views of the Presque Isle Harbor and Old Presque Isle Lighthouse. This sandy beach is a perfect location to go swimming, have a picnic lunch, or practice morning yoga during a sunrise. Handicap pavilion and vault toilet on site. The beach is located on East Grand Lake Road.

  1. Ocqueoc Falls & Bicentennial Pathway

    Trail at Ocqueoc Falls.

    Along the trail at Ocqueoc Falls.

Ocqueoc is the name of a beautiful River, between Rogers City and Onaway, northwest of Alpena proper. Ocqueoc Falls & Bicentennial Pathway is a hidden gem containing the largest falls in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula and is also the first truly universally accessible waterfall in the nation. You can follow the trail along the river and soak your feet, swim, and splash in the cool waters on a hot summer day. Sidewalks and viewing ramp are handicap accessible.