When you're scrolling through Instagram and you see a picture of someone snorkeling in bright blue waters, you're probably going to assume that it was taken somewhere in the Caribbean. You can be an underwater explorer right in Michigan's lakes. With the right gear and some friends, you can have an exciting tropical vacation by only driving a few hours.
This shipwreck is off the coast of Alpena. It's known as Thunder Bay and there are over 200 shipwrecks in the area which is why it's become known as Shipwreck Alley.
Many of the ships are so deep that you would need scuba gear, but there are plenty that are close enough to the surface to make an excellent day trip!
There are two shops in Alpena that let you rent snorkeling gear so that you can live your best life swimming amongst these old ships.
Great Lakes Divers and Thunder Bay Scuba offer rentals. The most important piece of gear is the mask which will cost between $30 - $50 for a day rental. Fins can be $100 - $200 depending on the kind that you want.
Some of the best wrecks that are close to the surface include the Portland Ship that's about 150 yards off of the coast of Besser Natural Area.
The Albany Shipwreck is a 500-yard kayak ride off of Spitler Shore Nature Sanctuary. The best part about this one is that it's only five feet underwater! Even if you don't feel like diving into the lake, you can see it from your boat.
If you're the type of person that prefers to sightsee while staying dry, you can also check out these boat tours that let you see the wrecks through the clear glass bottom.
These sunken lake giants might give some the creeps in the best way possible. If that's you, there are a ton of abandoned spots around the state to visit.
The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center has you covered just in case the sight of the ships made you want to know more about their history. The museum has free admission year-round and has a lot of immersive exhibits that will answer all of your questions.
The state has so many beautiful and unknown corners that need to be explored so you better start on that summer bucket list.
Snorkeling @ Thunder Bay
Price: Renting snorkeling gear can cost between $75 - $300 depending on the equipment you want.
Address: The Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center is located at 500 W. Fletcher St., Alpena, MI.
Why You Need To Go: This is a really unique summer trip that will make you feel like you've just had a tropical vacation without leaving the state. You'll feel more connected to Michigan after being so immersed in its beauty.
We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit any location, you check the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. If you do plan to visit a location, respect the environment.