Sunrise kayak over wildlife sanctuary

Get back to nature with a peaceful kayak cruise through the waters of the Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary. Photo courtesy of Paul Gerow.

Did you know that the average American has only 5 hours of leisure time on the weekends? Between work, school, kids, homework, and chores, the “to-do” list often gets pushed back to the end of the week– cramping your style and your much needed time for relaxation. Make the most of your 5 hours by creating memories and experiences in the Sanctuary of the Great Lakes by following these fun ideas!

Hour 1: A lesson in the maritime history of Alpena awaits at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center. Immerse yourself in the history and artifacts recovered from the ill-fated ships of the Great Lakes. Explore a full-size replica of a Great Lakes schooner and experience what a real storm on the Great Lakes feels like.

Hour 2: Pump up your tires and tune up your bikes, because spring is here and its time to hit the trails and the Alpena bi-bath. Boost your spirits and your endurance after a long winter with an hour through the groomed trails of Norway Ridge Pathway. Or, take a slow ride down Alpena’s paved bi-path for smooth riding through the town.

Hour 3: Rest your body and excite the imagination at Art in the Loft downtown. Peruse through the brilliant displays of talented local and regional artists or create your own masterpiece at one of Art in the Loft’s workshops. (Note, workshops typically last longer than 1 hour).

Hour 4: Peaceful kayaking down the Thunder Bay river just before sunset will get your mind off the ‘to-do’ list and on to the breathtaking view of Alpena’s Wildlife Sanctuary. Paddle under our new hand-hewn wooden bridge and around Sportsmen’s Island for the ultimate tranquil experience of the Sanctuary of the Great Lakes.

Hour 5: For your last hour of free time, we cannot think of a better way than to spend it under the stars at Rockport State Recreation Area, one of three of our designated dark sky preserves. That ‘to-do’ list may just be a short drive away, but you will feel as if you are a million miles away from the perils of life under this dark sky.

No matter how you choose to spend your 5 hours, we hope that you choose to do so in Alpena, Sanctuary of the Great Lakes. For more great ideas on spending your time in Alpena, check out Itineraries & Tours on and tell us, how is your ideal weekend spent experiencing Alpena?