I am so fascinated by ruins of the past, and shipwrecks are perhaps some of the most difficult “ruins” to see simply because they are underwater! Unless you have a scuba diving certificate you may feel like the only way you’ll see a shipwreck is on TV – but that isn’t true! There are places all over the USA that you can see shipwrecks without getting wet at all! If you have a fascination for learning and discovering history in the form of shipwrecks then you’ll love this post!
Peter Iredale Shipwreck – Coastal Oregon
The Peter Iredale shipwreck can be found in Fort Stevens State Park on the coastal Oregon beach. The signs are easy to follow and it’s literally just on the shoreline off of the parking area! I recommend having a jacket on hand! We visited in mid-June and it was raining, windy and FREEZING! What I really love about the Peter Iredale is that you can see parts from the entire ship that have literally just been left on the beach. You can TOUCH and feel this piece of history with an amazing story behind it. As you can see, however, it IS rusty AND a ship – be careful! It has been weathered, grown barnacles, and has sharp jagged pieces so this definitely isn’t something to climb around on! It didn’t stop us from exploring Fort Stevens State Park though which is a FANTASTIC place to visit.
Fort Stevens State Park consists of 4300 acres and houses a primary military defense installation used from the Civil War to WW2. We discovered the park by accident after hearing about the Peter Iredale and it is one of those gems we love discovering! In fact we loved it so much we’re driving back out there this next summer! They even have a campgrounds and tours you can take! For more details on Fort Stevens State Park visit here, or go here for a little history on the Peter Iredale Shipwreck. Driving the Oregon coast? Check out these MUST STOP places on the Oregon coast!
Shipwreck Cruise, Munising, Michigan
The Shipwreck Cruise tour in Munising, Michigan is a MUST SEE attraction! I cannot recommend it enough! It’s great for everyone! We had our 1 year old with us at the time and it was still so enjoyable! It’s a glass bottom boat that takes you out on chilly Lake Superior literally within feet of some of the shipwrecks there in the lake. It was absolutely stunning and gave my kids a first hand glimpse of their very first shipwreck. On the tour you’ll see several different shipwreck sites, rock cliffs and caves of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and even a gorgeous historic lighthouse! This is probably your absolute best chance at seeing multiple shipwrecks at once – especially with children and/or elderly folks.
Other Glass Bottom Boat Shipwreck Cruises in the USA:
Niagara Falls Scow Shipwreck
Yes! There IS a shipwreck actually above Niagara Falls just before the water tumbles down over Horseshoe Falls. In fact it’s been sitting there for over 100 years which is just fascinating to me! If you’ve ever seen or felt the power of the Niagara Falls and Horseshoe Falls waterfalls – or even just heard the rumbling of the water – it is amazing that something can be wedged into rocks and not have the water churn it out after all this time. It’s been dubbed the Niagara Scow. You can see it from the Niagara Parkway next to the unused Toronto Power Generation Station at 7530 Niagara Pkwy, Niagara Falls, ON or while standing on Three Sisters Island on the USA side.
Not exactly a shipwreck but if you’re checking out the Niagara Scow you’ll get a better vision of a rusty abandoned (but mighty) La Grande Hermine which you can get a closer look at in Jordan Harbour. It’s pretty awesome and makes for fantastic photographs!
Shipwrecks of Door County, Wisconsin
Door County, Wisconsin has a spectacular exhibit where they have brought their shipwrecks to life in the form a museum exhibit! You’ll see recovered shipwreck artifacts, photos and underwater video footage, diving equipment, a kids discovery area and plenty of other interactive and immersive exhibits to experience. They even have an artifact chapel which will make you feel like you are at the bottom of the lake searching for shipwreck artifacts!
Other Shipwreck Museums in the USA:
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, Michigan
The Titanic Museum, Branson, MO
The Titanic Museum, Orlando, FL
The Titanic Museum, Pigeon Forge, TN
Arabia Steamboat Museum, Kansas City, MO
A Glimpse into the Temporary Shipwreck Exhibit at the Durham Museum
SS Valley Camp
Other Shipwrecks in the USA:
SS Dominator Shipwreck, Palos Verdes Cove, CA
The SS Dominator was a Greek freighter running in the 60’s until it met it’s demise with a bout of fog and ended up on the shoreline. Day Trips L.A. gives great details about how to find this shipwreck and what time of day to explore. California Through My Lens is another fav blogger that has great info for you on the SS Dominator shipwreck.
Silver Spray Shipwreck, Chicago – Lake Michigan
I definitely would not make a special trip to Chicago to see the Silver Spray Shipwreck as you can only see just the peak of it’s boiler sticking out above Lake Michigan – but you CAN see it! If you’re not afraid to take a boat out on Lake Michigan you can paddle out to the shipwreck as well!
Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck, Delaware
The Roosevelt Inlet Shipwreck is a recently discovered shipwreck off the coast of Delaware. It is believed to be a European commercial vessel from the 1700’s but the identity of the ship remains unkown.