Map of Thunder Bay Shipwrecks (Alpena, Michigan)

If you are looking for something fun, cool and unique to do, then you need to check this out!

The city of Alpena, Michigan is on the 45th Parallel, halfway between the equator and the North Pole.

Alpena is known for beautiful Thunder Bay, part of Lake Huron.

Incredibly, several 9,000yr old obsidian stone tools were recently discovered off the coast here.

Red boxes indicate locations of 9,000 year old obsidian stone tools found in Lake Huron off the coast of Alpena, Michigan

This area is also called Shipwreck Alley for a reason.

There are over 200 shipwrecks here! About 52 of the 200 wrecks have buoys, which means you can visit them with your own vessel.

It is one of the world’s best collections of shipwrecks and a global marine archeology hotspot.

Thunder Bay Shipwreck Alley

Alpena Shipwreck Tours takes you out on a double-decker boat, the Lady Michigan, with glass windows in the bottom and you stop at various shipwrecks, which you can surprisingly see clearly with great clarity.

The main tour guide, Matt Southwell, is hilarious and incredibly knowledgeable. Matt is also in a band called Bang Sugar Bang.

Alpena Shipwreck Tours

Located behind the old Fletcher Paper Mill building, just down the way from the Second Street drawbridge, is where you go to board the boat.

The 65 foot long Lady Michigan boat goes 16-17 mph and takes you about 12 miles out into the bay.

There are only 13 national marine sanctuaries in the world and Thunder Bay is one of them.

Alpena Shipwreck Tours

Shipwrecks are considered a cultural resource. These maritime graves are federally protected archeological sites.

In the old days, shipwrecks were found via anchor dragging/scarring and were wide open for looting by divers.

Alpena is an old lumber town. There used to be 13 sawmills here. They even clear cut all the lumber at North Point Peninsula to help rebuild the city of Chicago after the Great Chicago Fire of 1871, that’s why the trees are all the same height on the point.

Alpena Shipwreck Tours

Thunder Bay is dangerous and full of shipwrecks because there are limestone reefs and the water levels are not consistent. It can go from 35 feet deep to 5 feet deep in the span of only about 6 feet.

On the tour, you will see things like Thunder Bay Island (owned by the USCG, an old village used to be here), Scarecrow Island, the wreck of the Monohansett steamer (crown jewel of shipwrecks), wreck of the SS Pewabic (went down 1866), and more.

Alpena Thunder Bay (photo Joe Gall)

The Monohansett is especially interesting. It’s an 18 foot long freighter that was carrying 300 tons of coal. It burned to the waterline off the coast of Thunder Bay Island in 1907.

In 1913, there was the famous Great Lakes Storm which had 90 mph winds, 30 foot waves, and killed 250 people. One of the boats, the Isaac Scott, went down in Thunder Bay, killing 28 people.

Sign up for this awesome tour!

Alpena Shipwreck Tours (photo AST)

Lady Michigan glass bottom boat tour of shipwrecks 

500 W. Fletcher Street

Alpena, MI 49707

Open May-October

Tour length is 2 hours long

Cost is $30.00 per person


JobbieCrew’s recommendation on other Alpena experiences:

Hillman-Jack’s Landing Fishing Resort on Fletcher’s Pond (20836 Tennis Road) amazingly fun experience on a beautiful lake

Jack’s Landing on Fletcher’s Pond

Alpena-Besser Museum of History (491 Johnson Street) Lots of cool stuff but especially the ultra rare Naub-cow-zo-win discs. These are prehistoric shale discs that have celestial symbols carved into them. It is theorized the Algonquin carved them. They appear nowhere else in the historical record or the world. Yes, they are genuine.

Alpena-Austin Brothers Brewery (821 W. Miller) get the prime rib sandwich

Prime rib sandwich @ Austin Bros Brewery (Alpena, Michigan)

Alpena-Mango’s Tequila Bar (121 W. Chrisholm) wet burrito, fajitas, protein bowls, quesadillas, and yes, giant margaritas

Alpena-Black Sheep Pub (113 S. 2nd) British-style pub

Alpena-Lee’s Mini Golf (1016 S. State) c. 1961; considered one of the most challenging mini-golf courses in the USA

Alpena-Fletcher Library (211 N. First ave) world’s largest collection of 1800’s Great Lakes ship photos and records, the Great Lakes Maritime Collection, aka the Thunder Bay Sanctuary Research Collection

Alpena-Alpena Breakwater Light (250 Prentiss St) at 14 feet tall, this is the shortest lighthouse in Michigan. Fun fact: the state of Michigan has 129 lighthouses, more than any other state in the USA

Alpena-El Cajon Bay Underwater Sinkhole (GPS: 45.08629, -83.31786) you can scuba dive this massive underwater sinkhole!

El Cajon Bay Underwater Sinkhole (Alpena, MI)

Alpena-Court Yard Ristorante (2024 US 23-South) surprisingly good bread, salmon, mac and cheese, etc.

Alpena-Great Lakes Divers (400 Cedar st) scuba dive sunken shipwrecks!

Alpena-Alpena specializing in shipwreck snorkeling and guided sinkhole hiking excursions

Alpena-Rockport State Rec Area old limestone quarry loaded with 400 million year old fossils

Ossineke-Connie’s Cafe (11585 US 23-South) three words: jumbo cinnamon rolls. Wow!

Presque Isle-Besser Natural Area (12057 E. Grand Lake rd) 20mins north of Alpena; hiking trails through the spooky old village of Bell, which was abandoned around 1900; virgin stand of white pine, a lagoon, secluded sandy beach; shipwrecks off shore

Rogers City-Port of Calcite-the world’s largest open pit limestone quarry and one of the largest shipping ports on the Great Lakes. There’s an observation platform here where you can climb up and see the world’s largest limestone quarry.

Onaway-Black Lake (Sturgeon capital of Michigan)

Onaway-Ocqueoc Falls (largest waterfall in Michigan’s lower peninsula)

Thunder Bay Island on Alpena Shipwreck Tours
Alpena Shipwreck Tours


Alpena Shipwreck Tours (photo AST)
aerial downtown Alpena, Michigan (photo AST)
Alpena Shipwreck Tours (photo AST)


Leave a ReplyCancel reply