Rockport State Recreation Area, Alpena
We’ve spent plenty time here at Travel the Mitten highlighting everything Alpena has to offer – a lighthouse, parks and trails, museums, and more. A few miles north of town is Rockport State Recreation Area, a rugged paradise for those who enjoy outdoor activities. We’ve enjoyed a few visits to this park and still feel like we’ve only scratched the surface of what it has to offer. To get to Rockport State Recreation Area head north of Alpena on US-23, and turn right on Rockport Rd., following it as it becomes Old Grade Rd. and leads to the harbor (see map below).
Rockport is located on the shore of Lake Huron, and part of property is an old deepwater harbor and limestone quarry. Many rock piles dot the landscape here, and remnants of industry remain. Fishing and hiking are popular activities here and the secluded, sandy beaches draw in visitors as well.
Two other noteworthy things about Rockport State Recreation Area are its status as a Dark Sky Preserve and the presence of fossils from the Devonian period. There are a dozen sinkholes on the property, and miles of trails for hiking, biking, and horseback riding. Check out a trail map at http://www.upnorthtrails.org/userfiles/filemanager/7127/Rockport%20Trail.pdf.
A boat launch allows access for those looking to fish Lake Huron, or to try out kayaking or paddle-boarding in the typically calm waters here. In the past, trips out to the Middle Island Lighthouse and Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse have departed from here.
The undeveloped nature of Rockport allows many species of plants and animals to thrive. During our visits we’ve seen deer, turkey, turtles, snakes, and a variety of birds. Consider checking out Rockport State Recreation Area in 2019 as the Michigan DNR celebrates the state park centennial!
**North of Rockport is the Besser Natural Area, which has the remnants of a “ghost town” called Bell, the Portland shipwreck in shallow water just offshore, and more Lake Huron beachfront.