Maybe you've noticed daffodil shoots sprouting or spotted your first robin of the season? It's happening: spring is almost in the air! And as the weather warms up, let these breezy Great Lakes Bay spring trip ideas revive your winter-weary souls and awaken your senses to the glory of the blossom-bursting, bird-chirping beauty of the season here in Pure Michigan!
Custom ecotours to romantic escapes, Johnny Panther Quest Adventure Trips specializes in the opportunity to "get away from it all" while taking in picturesque creeks and bayous of one of the richest wildlife habitats in Michigan, the nearly 10,000-acre Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge.
Tour guide extraordinaire "Johnny Panther" himself will guide you aboard a shallow draft, custom-built boat and provide opportunities to witness migrations of waterfowl while spotting bald eagles to beavers and beyond. Pack a picnic if you like, don't forget your camera, and (absolutely) frame the photo of you feeling completely unplugged during your custom quest on the water.
Craft-your-own Golf Escapes
Where better to surround yourself in wide open spaces and lush greenery than a springtime golf getaway? Polish up your clubs and get here to the Great Lakes Bay, where four Championship golf courses (including 2 of mLive's Must Play Public Golf Courses in Michigan - Apple Mountain and The Fortress) and more than 20 other beautifully manicured courses await.
With more magnificent locations for golfing the Great Lakes Bay than we could ever mention, be sure to take a swing at crafting your own Mix & Match Golf Package to combine luxurious hotels and must-play courses for a complete and memorable springtime golf getaway!
Hit the Open Trail
When biking, bird-watching, hiking, and hanging out in nature's beauty are on your springtime getaway list, the Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail - including the three main trail legs below and these other incredible outdoor trails, too - offers almost 100 miles of opportunity for you to make a day of it, or take a weekend and more to explore!
- Saginaw Valley Rail Trail (11 miles from St. Charles to Saginaw): Enjoy picturesque foliage and wildflowers, pocket parks, a section of trail that skirts the Shiawassee River State Game Area, and a fishing platform perfect for trout, perch or smallmouth bass! (Consider taking the newer connector loop to Bay City for a longer getaway!)
- Bay City Area River Walk/Rail Trail (17.5 miles through Bay City with additional unpaved trails through Bay City State Recreation Area): With wondrous views of the Saginaw Bay and Tobico Marsh, the 9.5-mile Bay City Loop includes options to discover eateries, brew pubs, and coffee shops in waterfront Downtown Bay City.
- Pere Marquette Rail Trail (30 miles from Midland to Coleman, with a loop around Chippewa Nature Center): Peruse this paved corridor through maple and pines, witness the three-legged pedestrian "Tridge" located at the confluence of the Tittabawassee and Chippewa Rivers, and hop off at the Coleman Staging Area for lunch or to enjoy small-town shopping.
Get Ready for Walleye
If world-class walleye fishing is your kind of spring fever, then a Great Lakes Bay getaway is your exciting, tasty cure! Feel the wind in your hair as you hit the open waters of Lake Huron's 1,143-square-mile Saginaw Bay, and enjoy the smile on your face when you're chartered to some of the best fishing holes around by these trusted crews:
- Set the lines and net your own fish as U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Captain Jeff Godi shows you around with The Michigan Experience Charters in Bay City.
- Hop aboard Boomerang Fishing Charters out of Linwood, and Captain Boomer will let you grill your prize-winning walleye right on board.
- Gain know-how and good eats with U.S. Coast Guard Licensed Captain Mike Jablonski and crew at Fishin' Finn-Atics where state-of-the-art gear (and fish cleaning) is included.
Soak Up Spring Growing Inspiration
After seeing the epic, spring beauty of Pure Michigan in full bloom, you're going to want some take-home planting inspiration, too! Tour Dow Gardens' dreamy botanicals and delight in their Know & Grow Seminar, swing by Chippewa Nature Center's annual Native Plant Sale, or gear up at local favorite Warmbier Farms with everything you'll need to sow and grow a perfectly Pure Michigan-inspired garden.