Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary

National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Michigan.

Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary is a 4,300 square-mile marine protected area dedicated to protecting the Great Lakes and their rich history. The cold, fresh water of Lake Huron has preserved a nationally significant collection of nearly 200 historic shipwrecks in and around the sanctuary. Through research, education, and community involvement, the sanctuary works to ensure that future generations will continue to experience and enjoy Thunder Bay’s irreplaceable underwater treasures.

Dive in and begin your sanctuary exploration at the visitor center, the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center in Alpena, Michigan. Or learn about the Great Lakes and their rich history while enjoying the outdoors by visiting the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Trail, a network of unique outdoor experiences along the sanctuary’s coastline. Visit the individual shipwrecks of Thunder Bay through recreational diving, snorkeling, and paddling at many of the shipwreck sites where the sanctuary provides seasonal mooring buoys. The buoys provide a safe means of access for visitors and also eliminates potential anchor damage to the unique and fragile underwater historic sites.

Nearby Activities


Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary encompasses 4,300 square-miles of northwest Lake Huron, off the northeast coast of Michigan’s lower peninsula. The landward boundary of the sanctuary is marked just south of the city of Cheboygan to just north of the city of Oscoda. The sanctuary extends east from the lakeshore to the United States/Canadian boarder.

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