Alpena’s nature trails, boating, water sports, diving, snorkeling and fishing are popular for all ages. You can explore, the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, the nation's only freshwater sanctuary with 200 historical shipwrecks preserved in Lake Huron’s fresh water. The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center; a visitor center for the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, features exciting exhibits including a full-size replica wooden Great Lakes schooner and shipwreck where visitors can walk the decks, enjoy hands-on exhibits by NOAA, or catch a short film in their theatre.

Alpena, MI Highlights from Major league Fishing, Outdoor Channel

Starlite Beach

By Barbara Barnes

NSM Founder & Director

If you are looking for a beach that has it all, plan on spending at least a day at Starlite.  Its sandy shores are the perfect spot to build sandcastles, swim, and do a variety of water sports. Starlite beach has a well -equipped park with three different play structures including climbing walls, slides and monkey bars. Adjacent is a brand new complimentary Splash Park complete with lots of sprinkling water features and a huge bucket of water that sends a soaking waterfall that will cool off youngsters on the hottest of days. The beach has public restrooms, lots of parking, a huge Pavilion and lots of picnic areas, green space, trees and benches. The beach is within walking distance to restaurants, a mini-golf, and lodging on State Street.

Alpena Sanctuary of the Great Lakes

Splash Park at Starlite Beach

During the summer Alpena hosts many festivals to note while planning a visit. Some of my favorites are the Maritime Festival over the Fourth of July Holiday, Art on the Bay July 20th & 21st, and the Brown Trout Festival July 19th - July 28th. For even more fun travel off the beaten path and visit Cedar Panning Co.; Alpena’s hidden gem where families can pan for treasures using an old-fashioned sluice. Moonstones, crystals, and fossils are just some of the treasures your family will be delighted to find. Don’t forget to make time to visit one of the many of the nearby lighthouses or head on over to Rockport State Park where you can see sinkholes, hunt for fossils, hike, and it is an excellent location for viewing the night sky as it is designated as an official Dark Sky Preserve. No matter if you are just passing through, or can plan a little bit longer stay there is plenty of family fun to be had in Alpena this summer!!!

Add Alpena to Your Summer Fun Bucket List

One of the ways children learn is by experiencing the natural world around them. Our Great Lake State has so much to offer and heading Up North is a summer tradition for many Michiganders. While traveling to all of your usual favorite spots I encourage you to visit Alpena, Michigan if it isn’t already on your list. Located in the Northeastern part of the state situated on the 45th parallel, it boasts easy access to Lake Huron for swimming.

​North Star Montessori

Preschool & Kindergarten

​​Phone: (517) 787-3026 | Hours: 7:00 AM - 5:30 PM