5 Places to Paddle in Alpena Michigan

Lakes, rivers and Great Lakes. Paddleboards, kayaks and canoes. Let's take a look at 5 places we paddled around Alpena, Michigan!

1. We are starting with a Lake Huron paddle. There are plenty of ways to access Lake Huron in the Alpena area but we also wanted a special backdrop so we went out to the New Presque Isle Lighthouse to start this paddle. We had great conditions for this paddle, which is something that is key to paddling big water. The water in this area of Lake Huron is absolutely stunning and we took our time enjoying our time on the water. We made the decision to paddle from the New Presque Isle Light to the Old Presque Isle Light, which is located in the same are so you get two lighthouses in one paddle! A bonus for this paddle is that if you go at the right times you can also go to the top of the lighthouses!

New Presque Isle Lighthouse

Old Presque Isle Lighthouse

New Presque Isle Lighthouse

2. Next up we are talking about Grand Lake, which is a great lake (get it? the lowercase "g"). Some may even call it a grand lake. Ok, enough with the bad jokes! This inland lake is close to 6,000 acres. For this paddle we decided to go out in a canoe but this lake would be perfect for whatever type of paddling vessel you wanted. We paddled out around the islands in the middle of the lake and took a swim to enjoy the water. An awesome part of the area that we decided to go to is that there is a great spot to stop for food at Sand Bay Trading Co. and Woody's Grand Lake. We had an awesome sandwich to keep us fueled for our adventures.

Grand Lake Alpena

Sand Bay Trading Co.

3. Paddle 3 is Lake Winyah. This lake is actually part of the Thunder Bay River and is sometimes referred to as 7 Mile Pond. For this paddle we decided to test out our fishing skills and went with fishing kayaks. Guess what! We caught a fish! A part that we really liked about this spot is that it was a relaxing, slow paced area. We enjoyed our time kayaking and catching the fish was a bonus! We caught a pike but were told there are all sorts of species of fish in the area.

Lake Winyah

4. Next up we were right in Alpena at the Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary. We always like to find a paddle when possible that is right in town and in Alpena, this is it! There is even a spot here where you can rent kayaks and paddleboards if you don't have your own. We decided to kayak this area and that was the right choice for the route we took to be able to check out some of the shallow areas. There are also trails to hike on the island once you are done with paddling. A good two-for-one spot. This is also a good spot to go paddle if you also want to make it a three-for-one and go get something to eat and drink after. For us, we went to the Fresh Palate downtown. Austin Brothers Beer Company is also under two miles away.

Alpena Wildlife Sanctuary

Fresh Palate Alpena

5. Our 5 places to paddle ends with a paddle down the Thunder Bay River. As with many river paddles, coordination of staging a vehicle at both ends of the paddle can lead to a more pleasurable down river paddle. There were spots along the river with small rapids, which was a ton of fun! For this paddle, we were in kayaks and that was the right choice. Based on the depth of the water, anything with a fin on the bottom would be hitting rocks in certain areas. Along the route we saw many different birds and deer along the banks of the river. Also, as with many river paddles, you can make this as long as you want it to be. 

Places to kayak in Alpena

These were the 5 places that we decided to paddle but Alpena has so many options and areas for getting out on the water. The area is also well known for its many shipwrecks, including some shallow water wrecks that are easy to paddle to. 

Check out our full video featuring these 5 places here! 

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