Since my parents have bought a cabin near Alpena a few years ago, we’ve been going up regularly in the summers. At first (and still), we end up spending most of our time around the house playing golf, tennis, going kayaking, taking long walks, and being in the sun as much as possible. It’s great too considering there’s no internet or cell service, so we really get to disconnect and unwind, I’ve shared about it before here.
Every time we’re up there though, we do take some time to visit downtown Alpena. I love exploring those small little downtowns, it’s a great chance to see something new and different, even though we’re still relatively close to home. We’ve done some fun things downtown, including catching a concert by the lake and visiting the museum last Labor Day; every time there’s something new happening.
Get Ice Cream at Downtown Scoops
Downtown Scoops in downtown Alpena is a must every time that we’re headed up north. Their ice cream is absolutely amazing, plus they make all of their waffle cones right there. Nothing is better than walking in the door and smelling the waffle cones being cooked, absolute heaven. On top of that, they have great window seats where you can sit and people watch or benches outside to catch some sun. I alway have the hardest time straying away from cookie dough ice-cream, but they’re s’mores ice cream was absolutely delectable too.
Spend an Afternoon in the Maritime Heritage Center
We checked this free museum out last time we were in town and really had a blast. I was surprised with the beautiful rooftop garden, the huge interactive ship, and the amount of history that they had to share. I would definitely recommend checking it out, give yourself an hour or so to wander and learn about all of the shipwrecks and stories that have taken place around Thunder Bay and the Great Lakes.
Take a Shipwreck Cruise
While at the Maritime Museum, hop on a boat and cruise Thunder Bay on a Shipwreck Tour. The tour can see up to 12 shipwrecks depending on the day, plus freighters, the lighthouse, and the scenic coastline. This has been something on our list for a while, but because the cruise is 2 hours and tickets are $30 per person, it’s definitely something you need to plan for.
Catch a Concert at the Park
We did this our first summer up in Alpena and it was a great way to spend an evening. Join True North Radio for concerts throughout the summer held at Bay View Park in the Band Shell. We spent the evening relaxing on the lawn, watching the waves on the lake, listening to the music from great cover bands, and eating yummy carnival food. Definitely recommend this to anyone in the area for the summer, check out their list of concerts here!
Island Park & Wildlife Sanctuary
This park is a perfect little escape right near downtown. A beautiful with wooden bridges, a little water tower, great walking paths, and lots to explore. This is a perfect spot for a bike ride after some ice cream (see above!) or for a way to explore the outdoors with kids. We’ve seen a lot of people canoeing in there before, so the next time we go we’re bringing out kayaks to explore by the water.
Sip & Enjoy at Stoney Acres Winery
Would it really be me if I didn’t include a winery?! Take a moment to relax and enjoy at Stoney Acres Winery. A little north of town, this is a great spot to sit and enjoy, their back deck is beautiful. Next time we’re up I’m 100% trying & probably buying some of their blackberry wine, delish!
Do you have a favorite getaway town?!