15 Best Things to Do in Alpena, MI

Alpena, MI
Daniel Briem / shutterstock.com

Nestled in the northeast of the Lower Peninsula of Michigan is the charming town of Alpena that boasts the eclectic fusion of natural wonders and history.

The city of Alpena makes for a relaxing respite to escape the hustle and bustle of your daily cares.

Alpena offers tons of exploration opportunities, ranging from under-the-water explorations and seeing galactic wonders from the Dark Sky Preserves to learning about the town's history in well-curated museums.

A trip to the city of Alpena will surely amuse the young and the young at heart alike with its vibrant yet cozy vibe.

If you're headed out for a weekend getaway in the northeast in Michigan soon, then read on for 15 best things to do in Alpena:

Shop and Dine at Alpena's Downtown District

View of Alpena's Downtown District
Focused Adventures / Shutterstock.com

A trip to Alpena wouldn't be complete without strolling through the food and shopping hub in town.

Downtown Alpena boasts the charming hometown feel that will welcome you with a vibrant but cozy atmosphere.

View of Alpena's Downtown District
ehrlif / Shutterstock.com

Support Alpena's local businesses by checking out the specialty shops for unique items to bring home as a souvenir and stopping by one of the restaurants for some grubs.

An emerging arts mecca of sorts, downtown Alpena is a great spot for art enthusiasts with its six art galleries and theaters.

Head out for a chill stroll through the downtown district and get acquainted with the tight-knit community of Alpena.

View of Alpena's Downtown District
Kyle Stopczynski / Shutterstock.com

Spend a Relaxed Day at Island Park and Wildlife Sanctuary

A day spent outdoors surrounded by the charming sight of nature is the perfect respite from your daily cares.

Nestled in Alpena, the Island Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is a 17-acre gem that boasts an expansive variety of flora and fauna.

You can stroll through the paved walking trails and cross the covered bridge to enjoy the charming scenery of the park that overlooks the surrounding nature reserve and the glistening waters.

Cast your likes in the lake to reel in some fresh catch or paddle your kayaks to enjoy the relaxing breeze of the island.

The Island Park and Wildlife Sanctuary is a must-visit on your trip to Alpena for a relaxed nature respite.

Hike the Trails of Rockport State Park Recreation Area

The Rockport State Park Recreation Area is a true Michigan splendor with its scenic overlook of Lake Huron and fascinating rock formations surrounding the area.

This 4,237 acres of land makes for an adventure-filled outdoor trip in Alpena.

You can hike the trails to explore the beautiful sights of nature, ride a bike, or go on a horseback ride.

The Rockport State Park Recreation Area is also rich in fossils from the Devonian period, and you can make your trip more fascinating by going on a fossil hunt.

This state park is an official Dark Sky Preserve where you can watch the stars and see galactic wonders free from the city's light pollution.

You can also cast your lines and reel in some fresh catch from Lake Huron if you prefer to go fishing or have a dip in the lake to cool off after your long hike.

Enjoy the Refined Taste of Northern Michigan Wine at Thunder Bay Winery

Sip and swirl some fine wines while enjoying the cozy atmosphere of the Thunder Bay Winery.

This winery in Alpena offers an expansive selection of wine flavors to match every palate; the staff will guide you through the tasting for a more personalized experience to delight your taste.

Don't forget to purchase the wine that matches your taste and check out their store for some unique knick-knacks to bring home.

The Thunder Bay Winery and Brew is the perfect destination if you want to chill out after your thrilling adventure in Alpena.

Explore the Shipwreck Sites of Lake Huron at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

Shipwrecks at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
NOAA's National Ocean Service, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

If you're looking for an exciting adventure under the sea, then the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is the perfect place to go!

Dive into Michigan's Underwater Preserve Sites, where you'll see plenty of shipwreck sites in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

Whether you're a beginner diver or you prefer snorkeling, you can still enjoy the mystical sight of the shipwrecks.

If you don't want to go underwater, you can try Glass-bottom Boat Shipwreck Tours, where you can see the shipwrecks through the crystal clear waters of Lake Huron.

Shipwrecks at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary
NOAA's National Ocean Service, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

The sanctuary also offers access to the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, where you can explore the 10,000-square-foot exhibit space that features the maritime heritage in Michigan.

A stroll through the museum will allow you to get an up-close look at a full-size replica of a wooden Great Lakes schooner and shipwrecks without diving deep in the waters.

You can also go paddle boarding, canoeing, or kayaking to explore the Thunder Bay shipwrecks, lighthouses, and nearby islands.

Enjoy Classic Family Entertainment at Arzo Sports and Fun Park

Nothing beats good old-fashioned fun spent with the family at Arzo Sports and Fun Park, as this family entertainment park features plenty of fun activities to share with the whole family.

You can practice your golf swing in their driving range, tee off in their miniature golf course, test your skills in their batting cages with multiple speed pitching, or drive your go-kart in the twists and turns of their track.

Arzo Sports and Fun Park also features an expansive selection of arcade games and thrilling rides, such as their roller coaster and gravitron.

If you’re visiting Alpena with the whole family, then make sure to stop by at Arzo Sports and Fun Park for a fun experience that will delight the young and the young at heart alike.

Discover the Arts, Sciences, and History of the Region at Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan

If you're looking for an educational yet enjoyable experience on your trip to Alpena, then head out for a tour at Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan.

You'll get to explore plenty of exhibits that showcase Michigan’s rich history, consisting of an expansive collection of artifacts, memorabilia, and historical photographs.

There are dedicated spaces for arts and sciences that will truly delight your interest in discoveries; you can explore the planetarium and see fine art displays.

Don't forget to include the Besser Museum for Northeastern Michigan on your trip to Alpena for an engaging and informative activity.

Set up a BBQ by the Beach at Mich-e-ke-wis Park

Nothing compares to a day spent on a sunny day while picnicking with the family, so make sure to pack some grubs and stop by at Mich-e-ke-wis Park.

This beachfront park has got everything you're looking for in a perfect BBQ day with the family.

You can let the youngsters play in the playground, set up a BBQ in the picnic area, bask under the sun on the sandy beach, or go for a dip on the beach.

The Mich-e-ke-wis Park is the perfect spot to enjoy the relaxing breeze by the beach, appreciate the panoramic view of the glistening blue waters, and spend quality time with the family.

Catch Outstanding Performances of Local Talents at Thunder Bay Theatre

Front View of Thunder Bay Theatre
Jhansonxi, CC BY-SA 3.0, via Wikimedia Commons

A trip to Alpena wouldn't be complete without having a glimpse of the town’s artistic community.

This year-round professional theatre is an abode to talented artists and theater enthusiasts showcasing a range of genres from musicals, classics, comedies, and many more!

Make sure to catch the live performances of talented locals in this theatre and support their cause to uplift the art scene in Alpena.

Don't forget to check out their website for upcoming shows and reserve your seat for a fantastic experience.

Tee Off at Alpena Golf Club

If your definition of a fine day is swinging a golf club in the grassy fairways of a golf course, then book a tee time at the Alpena Golf Club.

This 18-hole course promises an enjoyable experience for all levels of play—the course features elevation changes and a bit of challenge with its water hazards, woods, and doglegs.

If you’re a beginner, you can practice swinging your golf club in their driving range and test your aiming skills in the putting range for a warm-up.

Don't forget to stop by their clubhouse for some delightful grubs to recharge after your tee time.

Channel Your Inner Artist at Brush Up Pottery & Art Studio

Spend an afternoon painting your own pottery in this pottery studio and art gallery in Alpena.

If you're looking for an exciting activity that will delight the young and the young at heart, then craft your own pottery piece at Brush Up Pottery & Art Studio.

This pottery and art studio offers paint-your-own-pottery sessions to showcase your creativity.

Brush Up Pottery & Art Studio also offers workshops if you want to have plenty of time to spend learning about painting in different mediums.

You can also check out their available items for sale and have them customized according to your taste to bring home a unique souvenir from your trip to Alpena.

Book your Stay at Camper's Cove RV Park and Canoe Livery

Check out the Camper's Cove RV Park and Canoe Livery if you're looking for a place to stay on your trip to Alpena.

This camping site in Alpena offers all the amenities for a comfortable and fun stay, such as full RV hookup sites, shaded camping grounds, and picnic tables.

If you're not visiting Alpena on an RV, you can rent one of their cabins for a more comfortable stay.

This camping site also offers family recreational activities like fishing, paddling, an indoor pool, and a play area for the youngsters.

You'll surely appreciate the scenic waterfront view of the park and the fun memories you can share with the whole family.

Stroll Through the Alpena Marina and See the Little Red

Lighthouse at Alpena Marina
by Dylan L. Tanner, CC BY-SA 2.5, via Wikimedia Commons

Take a relaxing stroll through the Alpena's Marina, where you can enjoy the charming sight of Lake Huron and boat launches.

Whether you're in for a casual stroll with friends and family or you want to spend a romantic time with your loved one, the sight of the golden hour in Alpena Marina will truly delight everyone.

You can stop by to spend dinner in the nearby restaurants after watching the sunset and enjoy the friendly vibe of the town.

If you appreciate the peaceful sight of lighthouses among the glistening blue waters, then make sure to look for the Little Red lighthouse from the marina.

The Little Red is a steel skeletal lighthouse built in the late 1800s which guided ships for decades.

Go on a Relaxing Afternoon Stroll at Bay View Park

If your definition of a perfect day is to be in an open space with a scenic view of the shoreline, then spend a serene day trip at Bay View Park.

This waterfront park is one of the largest parks in Alpena that offers plenty of amenities for family fun and other recreational activities.

You can go for a long walk along the paved walking trails to take in the peaceful surroundings, set up a BBQ, and let the youngsters have their time in the play area.

Catch live music concerts during the summer and the seasonal community celebrations in the Fine Arts Bandshell in the park.

Don't forget to check out the signs scattered by Bay View Park that showcases the area’s history.

Other Things to Do Nearby

Walk with the Dinosaurs at Dinosaur Gardens

Go on an adventure surrounded by life-sized dinosaurs and other prehistoric creatures at Dinosaur Gardens in Ossineke.

Located just 15 minutes away from Alpena is this unique park that showcases the majestic dinosaurs.

You can go on a walking tour and meet the dinosaurs, play putt-putt golf, miners sluice, or search for fossils in the fossil dig.

After your thrilling explorative adventure in Dinosaur Gardens, you can stop by the dinosaur-themed gift shop and pick up a souvenir from your trip.

Final Thoughts

A trip to Alpena will get you closer to nature and bring you back to the historical past of Michigan with tons of exploration opportunities on your weekend getaway.

If you’re planning a trip to Alpena, don’t forget to reference this list for an exciting getaway brimming with outdoor adventures.