Discover new territory; from rolling fields of farmland to sunrises and dark skies, tall virgin pines,
crashing Lake Huron waves and historic relics from our lumbering days, the Sanctuary of the Great Lakes region offers plenty of
low-key, relaxed adventures. After you’ve visited the well-known areas check out some of these hidden gems around the region.
1 Take a stroll out on Blair Street Pier’s wooden boardwalk and start your
morning with one of the greatest feats of nature: a brilliant northeast Michigan
sunrise that lights up Lake Huron’s Thunder Bay each and every day. Enjoy
the quietness, listen to the soft sound of the waves, and inhale the glorious
2 Just north of Alpena you’ll discover the welcoming waters of the Lower
Peninsula’s largest waterfall, Ocqueoc Falls. “Waw-waugh-waugh-que-noc”,
(meaning sacred waters), was the name given by Native Americans to this
beautiful river that is now called Ocqueoc. This hidden gem contains four small
rapids and a pool for splashing. Ocqueoc Falls is also the first truly universally
accessible waterfall in the United States, making it an ideal destination for
3 Minutes away in Presque Isle County you’ll find the beautiful and
historic Presque Isle Range Light Park. Presque Isle Harbor was a routine stop
for many vessels conducting trade along the Lake Huron shoreline. The New
Presque Isle Light Tower alerted the mariners to impending dangers while the
two smaller Range Lights guided them safely into harbor.
4 The 40-Mile Point Lighthouse is located north of Alpena in Rogers
City, approximately 40 miles southeast of Old Mackinaw Point and 40 miles
northwest of Thunder Bay. Its square shaped lighthouse tower sets it apart
from many others. Make sure to walk down to the beach, where you will find
parts of the “Joseph S. Fay” shipwreck resting on the beach.
5 Charming Presque Isle Harbor is located on the Presque Isle peninsula,
along with the two Presque Isle Lighthouses and the Range Light Park, and
is the last state harbor before Mackinaw City. Grab a bite to eat at the deli or
restaurant and watch the boats sail in and out of the harbor.
6 Rent a paddle boat or canoe for simple water fun at Campers Cove RV
Park and Canoe Livery. Located on the beautiful Lake Winyah impoundment
in Thunder Bay River, you can float your worries away while enjoying a
peaceful day on the winding river.
7 Sit on a nearby park bench and watch Alpena’s Second Avenue Bridge,
(once voted the most beautiful bridge in America), open its drawbridge over
the Thunder Bay River to let boats pass through. The beautiful and unusual
construction of this bridge earned it an award from the American Institute of
Steel Construction in 1939.
8 Enjoy the season and connect with the fruits of nature. Check out the
array of farm fresh products at the Alpena Farmers Market. You will find
fresh, locally grown produce, baked goods, grass fed beef, eggs, poultry, herbs,
mushrooms, flowers, jams, even handmade craft items.
9 Take a leisurely stroll along the hand-hewn timbers of the Covered
Wooden Bridge connecting Duck Park to Island Park and escape into the
serene wildlife of this 17 acre nature preserve. Constructed in the summer of
2015, this stunning piece of art has quickly become a centerpiece of the town.
10 Explore the Bruski & Stevens Twin Sinkholes and Cracks in the Earth.
Just a short drive through the countryside, you’ll find geologic wonders at
this karst preserve. The twin sinkholes are approximately 85 feet deep and
200 feet wide. The Bruski Sink features a drop of more than 100 feet. The
unique environment inside provides home to flora not found anywhere else
in Northern Michigan.
11 Remote Wolf Creek Park will impress you with its newly constructed
walking bridge and hiking trail. With all the amenities for an easy afternoon
adventure, you can launch from their kayak pad and bring a picnic lunch to
enjoy under the covered pavilion.
12 Take a step back in time at the Maplewood Tavern. This roadside
lounge opened as a dancehall in 1924 and remains a popular place for locals
to enjoy a drink, listen to live music and cut a mean rug – all while being
waited on by a world famous bartender! Clarise began working at the tavern
in 1940 at the age of 21. She has faithfully worked there ever since, and in
2011 she was honored by the Guinness Book of World Records as having the
longest bartending career.
13 Just west of Alpena you can check out events at the Brush Creek Mill
history museum and cultural center, located in the heart of Hillman on the
Thunder Bay River. This museum was built near the sites of some of the
area’s first lumber mills and demonstrates the power of moving water with a
22’ stainless steel water wheel, capable of grinding corn and wheat.
14 Rent a small motor boat from Jack’s Landing and troll through the
one of a kind Fletcher’s Floodwaters. Previously a large cedar swamp, the
8,970 acre flood pond is ideal for observing wildlife such as Osprey, and
for reeling in monster pike, bass, walleye, and panfish. You won’t see large
power boats or jet skis in this rustic and remote fishing paradise, just nature
in its most pure form.
15 Find a simply stunning view of Hubbard Lake’s East Bay from the top
of Hickey Hill in Hubbard Lake. This 80-acre undeveloped woodland park
was once the homestead of Erie and Ella Jane Hickey in 1904 and is now
preserved to promote wildlife.
16 Behind the Besser Museum for Northeast Michigan lies a charming
Historic Village. Here you will discover restored and maintained centuryold
buildings from the Alpena region, including the McKay Cabin (1898),
the Maltz Exchange Bank (1872), Green School (1895), and Spratt Church
17 Swing by the little known LaFarge Pollinator Park, nestled on the
company’s property on the northeast side of Alpena. Bees, butterflies, birds,
and other pollinators help grow our food, keep our flowers blooming,
and make our lands healthy. The park is open to the public all year and
maintained by NEMROC.
27 Spots Worth
Pulling Over For.....
Blair St. Pier Sunrise; Courtesy Brenda Pollock
10 Sanctuary of the Great Lakes