A sunny, carefree Pure Michigan Summer is still shining on us. Now's the time to dip, dive and drink in all that our Pure Michigan waters have to offer during this playful season! Breathtaking scenery, boating excursions and water-soaked adventures are all yours for the taking. And you really can experience never-ending summer fun when you wade into the waters of Pure Michigan, right here in the Great Lakes Bay Region.

Set Your Sights on Sails

Appledore Tall Ships 

No doubt you're bound for an unforgettable experience when you board Bay Sail's Appledore IV Tall Ship Schooner for a sail along Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay. This majestic tall ship was named by its original owner Herb Smith as a tribute to his wife, Doris, whom he first saw as a teenager while sailing by her home of Appledore Island on a sunny Maine morning. How romantic!

Dates, times and ticket prices vary depending on the sail you set your sights on:

  • Dinner Sails: Sunsets, sails and fully catered three-course dinners.
  • Stargazer & Moonlight Dinner Sails: Live programs by astronomers from the Delta College Planetarium; view constellations, learn to navigate by the stars, enjoy moon phases and the beautiful night sky under sail.
  • Family Ecology Sails: Afternoons of hands-on experience and family-friendly science fun.
  • Fall Color Tour Sails: Two-hour cruises, glorious colors, hot cider, chili and cornbread, and cozy quilts!

Boogie 'N Boat

Princess Wenonah 

Fair warning: Cruising the Saginaw River aboard Bay City Boat Lines' converted car ferries may result in wind in your hair, smiles and laughter, and Friday evenings spent dancing the night away... all while aboard Friday Night Entertainment Cruises on the Princess Wenonah!

Here's what you can expect to enjoy on your Entertainment Cruise:

  • Live Music: From Country, Blues and Motown to Neil Diamond, Journey and Jimmy Buffet tributes, each year brings something different to the lineup. No matter what, you'll find plenty of ways to groove well into the night on the Saginaw Bay
  • Entertainment Cruises: For just $40, you can sail and swoon to the sounds of artists like those listed above, from 7 - 10 p.m., July - August.  Check out the full lineup of entertainment crusises here (along with other Bay City Boat Lines events).

Adventure Tours

Johnny Panther Tour With Kids

Step aboard the custom-built, shallow draft boats of Johnny Panther Quest Adventure Tours, and prepare to experience 18,000 acres of wetlands, rivers, creeks and bayous of the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge and State Game Area (or the "Everglades of Michigan" as Panther Quests calls it)!

Anticipate lush summer foliage or crimson fall colors, wildlife sightings and the rare chance to get away from it all, retreating in nature.  Best yet, JPQAT owner Wil Hufton III is a literal goldmine of knowledge when it comes to the local river systems and wildlife (and he loves to share his waterfront playground with others), so get ready to learn, laugh, and go on a life-changing nature quest.

Johnny Panthering with Wil Hufton 

Tours take about 3 - 5 hours, and are fully customizable (As owner, Wil, says, "If it's got access, we can do it."); Pricing varies by boat size.  Explore your boat outing options here, then contact Johnny Panther Quest Adventure Tours to book your excursion today!

  • Scholar Trips: Leisurely outings, focusing on ecology, history and wildlife.
  • Marathon Trips: More active, including paddling and portaging.
  • Fall Color Tours: Mid-September - October; 2 - 3 hour scenic cruises. Ideal for any and all, including families with children who may appreciate shore landings for play and exploration. (Fall Color Tours cost a bit less than traditional tours, but you didn't hear that here!)
  • Insider Tips:  Check out more insider tips for Spring Boating Adventures and Fall Color Tours from Johnny Panther himself (JPQAT Owner, Wil Hufton III), right here on the Go Great Blog!

Paddling Pleasures

Ike's Mobile Kayak Rentals 

Kayaks are most-often boats made for one, but no one ever said you have to float the waters of Pure Michigan alone (unless, of course, you want to)! Ike's Mobile Kayak Rentals offers group guided and on-your-own tours in sturdy, 12-foot sit-on or sit-in kayaks (single and tandem).

Ike's staff drops explorers at selected launch sites and picks up after paddling - no worries, no hassles and no reason not to get on the water and make some memories!

  • Ike's offers many group kayaking tours including Sunset Paddle Tours, Ladies' Tours and Fall Color Tours, to name a few.
  • Single Kayak Rates and Tandem Rates differ very slightly
  • Group rates are available, along with longer (and even overnight) excursions!

Tasty Rides

Frankenmuth FunShips 

Frankenmuth is a memorable gem in its own right, but enjoying the beauty of the Cass River aboard a 12-passenger electric boat ups the ante! For the ultimate experience, board Frankenmuth Fun Ships' own Wine & Chocolate Tasting Cruise.

For just $20/person, you'll enjoy:

  • An intimate 1-hour cruise (May-October) along the scenic Cass River, led by a friendly local who can point out all the finer points of Michigan's Little Bavaria
  • 5 wine samples, paired with 5 handmade chocolates (we love the Dark Chocolate Caramel Chew with Sea Salt!)
  • A full glass of wine to follow up your 5 wine sample tastes
  • Reservations are recommended, but not required.
Wine & Chocolate Tasting Tour

FYI: It can feel tricky finding Frankenmuth Fun Ships, so cruise Main Street slowly and look between Frankenmuth Brewery and the Marv Herzog Hotel. You'll board behind these buildings; the river is out of sight from Main Street.

Frankenmuth FunShips Exterior

Still not feeling waterlogged enough? Check out these other ways to enjoy waterfront recreation when you Go Great Lakes Bay, and be sure to book your overnight stay so you can recoup after a long day of stretching out your never-ending summer across the waters of Pure Michigan.