Take a Boat Ride on the Alpena Shipwreck Tours

Alpena Shipwreck Tours sign

Living in Michigan, it’s not hard to find something to do with water. But, if you want to get away and experience a new adventure, take a half-day and drive to Alpena where you can ride on Alpena Shipwreck Tours. This trip is a two-hour ride in a glass-bottom boat through the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary which has over 50 identified shipwrecks.Replica Sailing Boat in Alpena Shipwreck Tours building

Alpena Shipwreck Tours sign

Alpena Shipwreck Tours Information and Museum

You can order tickets online and save your spots at Alpena Shipwreck Tours. The main building houses the museum.  We arrived early for our time slot so; we got to spend some time looking at the exhibits. Open hours are daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and on Sundays, it opens at noon.

There was the requisite gift store which came in real handy since we weren’t dressed appropriately for the wind on the water. I was able to buy my niece, Madison, an over-sized sweatshirt that she was excited to wear as a dress. There were several hands-on ships to enjoy that you can see from the below picture that my nieces, Kayla and  Madison, are such hams and were acting out their very own shipwreck! My favorites were the detailed displays on the shipwrecks in the area. I could have spent hours looking at everything in the museum.Kayla and Madison playing shipwreck

Alpena Shipwreck Boat Tour

We went on a slightly overcast day and still were able to see the wrecks through the glass. On a clear day, you could see the shipwrecks from the top deck of the boat. We were one of the first people on the ship which gave us first crack at where to sit and get the best viewing of the glass bottom portion of the vessel. The short ride before you get to the open water of Lake Huron has lots of photo opportunities. The historic Second Avenue Bridge won a beauty award in 1939 from the American Institute of Steel Construction which you happen to go right under. Plus, you go right by the Alpena Light station that has been there since 1877.Glass Bottom Boat on Alpena Shipwreck ToursSecond Avenue Bridge going up for a boat tour in AlpenaLittle Red Lighthouse in Alpena

Thunder BaySailboat on Thunder Bay in Alpena

As the boat gets out in Thunder Bay, it might take a bit of time to get to the first shipwreck site. You will be able to enjoy the weather and boat ride over the water. Plus, the tour guide will give you the history of the area and of the coastline along Thunder Bay.Alpena Coastline along Thunder Bay Factory on the Banks of Thunder Bay

The Shipwrecks in Thunder BayStructure of a shipwreck in Thunder Bay

Once there, the captain will slow the ship and hover over the site so, you can get as many pictures as you like through the glass bottom. The tour goes over several wrecks of barges and steamers so; you can see everything from wooden planks to metal. I was surprised at how well you could see through the glass and that the wrecks seemed to be so close to the bottom of our boat.The walls of a shipwreck in Thunder Bay


This tour was quite an experience that I normally would not have tried if someone hadn’t mentioned it to me in passing. Since I don’t dive underwater, this is as close to a shipwreck as I’ll get. I have every intention of going back someday and hopefully get a clear, quiet day that will allow us to see even more shipwrecks in the water.Kayla and Madison on the back of the Glass Bottom Boat

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Further Reading

If you are coming to Michigan for a visit, check out these posts for further travel inspiration:


  • Kathy 12June2021 at 6:11 PM Reply

    We have tickets to the shipwreck tour already but haven’t been able to use them. How do we make a reservation when the office is indefinately closed? We can’t buy the tickets on line to secure our space, we already have tickets! I’d hate to drive 40 miles there and not have a space reserved. Also is the only tour at 10 am? What about Sunday’s? Is there a tour on Sunday? It would be nice to talk to a person to answer out questions. I would like to use these tickets tomorrow!

    • Heather 13June2021 at 12:05 AM Reply

      It looks like they are only doing one tour a day at 10 am. Have you tried calling them directly at 888-469-4696? I hope you can use your tickets as it is a wonderful boat ride and tour.

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