ALPENA — As summer comes to a close and the start of the school year draws closer, kids and their parents tried to make the most of their final outings and beach visits this week before the school bells ring.
Many people visited the beach on Tuesday with the calm waters and the slightly overcast sky. Parents carefully watched as their kids played in the water with beach balls and inner tubes. Some stayed on the sand building sand castles or lying on beach chairs.
Parents and kids even ride their bikes to the beach.
Hudson, a 7-year-old, came to Starlite Beach in Alpena with his mom, grandparents, and younger brother. His grandparents were up from Florida to visit him and his family.
They sat under a tree for the shade right outside the playground away from the Splash Pad.
“Spent time with my family and friends,” Hudson said as he described his last week of summer vacation.
Hudson also said he loves science and building things and his mom added that he spent his time using a microscope this summer.
Around other parts of town, people walked their dogs down the sidewalks or rollerbladed.
Cars filled the parking lot at the Bay View Park tennis court and many areas around downtown were busy.
Playing at the Bay View Park playground were 14-year-old Addison and 8-year-old Avery. They were playing on the merry-go-round, taking turns spinning each other and jumping on when it got fast enough.
“Back-to-school shopping and mainly just hanging around the house,” Addison said about her last week of summer vacation, although she mentioned she recently went geocaching.
Elsewhere downtown, patrons sat in Downtown Scoops enjoying their frozen treats.
In Culligan Plaza, Amy and Charley sit together eating ice cream cones and enjoying their time together.
Charley, 8, said they went down to Frankenmuth for their last week of summer vacation.
“I went to Frankenmuth,” Charley said.
Amy added they stayed at Yellowstone Campground and enjoyed their time there.
On Wednesday, people walked through the library and others walked the streets downtown as construction continued on the Sanctuary Theater on Chisholm Street and 2nd Ave.
Elizabeth, 7, had just come out of the ice cream shop with her family. Each had a waffle cone of their own.
She said for the last week of summer, she and her family came up north, visiting a park, getting ice cream and riding a rollercoaster.
“The roller coaster was very fun,” she said.
Shops downtown got into the back-to-school spirit too with window displays welcoming students to the new school year.
The first day for Alpena Public Schools, Hillman Community Schools, and Alcona Community Schools is Monday Aug. 29, and for Rogers City Area Schools and Posen Consolidated Schools Tuesday Sept. 6.