Float Freely

Reserve your chance to float aboard an excursion boat with Bay City Boat Lines, Mondays - Thursdays in July, and enjoy a two-hour Free History Tour of Bay City while gliding along the Saginaw River, with a live guide highlighting local lore and points of interest. Don't miss this!

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Costless Nature

Explore for free within the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge, part of one of the largest and most productive wetland ecosystems in Michigan. Take its Wildlife Drive 6.5-mile auto tour route from June to October, sunrise to sunset, for up-close viewing from the comfort of your car!

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Complimentary Adventure

With 1,200 acres and 19 miles of trails that are open year-round, from dawn-to-dark daily, it's hard to believe that admission into and through Chippewa Nature Center in Midland is absolutely free (not to mention experiencing their Homestead Farm, hands-on Ecosystem Gallery, and more). Spend an afternoon (or several) while spending zero dollars!

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Downtown Frankenmuth | @roaming_michigan_together
Chargeless Eye-Candy
Outdoor Public Art Displays

With the Great Lakes Bay Region Public Art Passport to guide you, map your own route to view public art on display throughout the region! See all of Old Town Saginaw Street Art Park, Art Seen Festival's community-created murals in Midland, and abundant public art viewing opportunities peppered throughout each unique neighborhood. Be sure to catch the colorful painted silos of the Shine Bright Saginaw Mural, the second-largest mural in the United States!

Free Floral Finds

Take in eight glorious terraces each April - November of more than 300 varieties and 3,000 blossoming beauties at Dahlia Hill. Enjoy artist Charles Breed's working studio and museum featuring original designs in cast paper, bronze, and other media, along with garden sculpture on view year-round.

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Gratuitous Art

Gain culture and lasting impressions that won't cost you a thing inside the following local art museums and galleries, to name a few: Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum, University Art Gallery, and Gingerblue Gallery in Saginaw; Golden Gallery and Studio 23/The Arts Center in Bay City; and Creative 360 in Midland.

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Priceless Views
Mid-Century Modern Midland

With over 400 incredible mid-century modern structures throughout Midland (and the Mid-Century Modern Midland free mobile app to guide you), spend an entire afternoon taking in impressive architecture from the coziness of your car. Select from the app's pre-set tour routes, or filter to find structures by type (or by the architect who designed them).

On-the-House Tunes

Boogie down to Motown, let cool jazz speak to your soul. Far beyond what's listed, there's a whole lot of live music here that costs a whole lot of nothing! Discover free summer concert series from Midland's The Commons Live Music Series to Frankenmuth Women's Club Concerts in the Park; Saginaw's Party on McCarty and Friday Night Live; or Bay City's Wednesdays in the Park, Thursdays at Uptown, and more!

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No Moolah Movies

Catch artistic film selections projected on the side of a historic building every Sunday at dusk during the Old Saginaw City Lawn Chair Film Festival, and enjoy pre-movie live music for free. Or, make your way to Midland's Movies on Main for classics to newer releases on Thursday evenings throughout the summer months!

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Free Streetside Fun

With free fitness classes from Zumba to yoga — and no-cost activities including Mini-Golf on Main and Adult Recess with oversized lawn games — be sure to experience Downtown Midland's The Commons Pedestrian Plaza this summer! Soak up the sunshine at provided picnic tables and cozy seating areas, and take in the inviting ambiance, with trees and flowers on live turf areas right in the city streets! Step out in Bay City, too, for Feet on the Street happenings, from free yoga sessions to pop-up shops and live music events!

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Complimentary Cool-Downs

Wet, wild, and wonderfully free, find spray parks and splash pads throughout our cities that were made for summer fun, minus the admission! Try Frankenmuth Jaycee Spray Park for fully accessible water play, Celebration Square Splash Park in Saginaw with three bays catered to kiddos of different ages, or Longview Spray Park and Gerstacker Spray Park, both in Midland, for free splashing and ear-to-ear smiles from dawn to dusk!

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Third Street Star Bridge | @jeffcaverlyphotography
More Fun That's Free

Snapping photos beneath the Third Street Star Bridge, splashing at spray parks, wandering farmers markets to enjoy free samples and fresh smells, or hopping on regional trails to forge new adventures, you'll find no shortage of free things to do here!

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Let this be your guide to tight-money travel, belly laughs without the budget crunch, and big fun that only costs a little when you Go Great Lakes Bay in Pure Michigan!

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Deals On Things To Do

All kinds of fun & free as can be, these outdoor summer concert series are your no-cost ticket to experience live music and unique entertainment nearly every night of the week!

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Jen W. O'Deay + Go Great Lakes Bay

By: Jen W. O'Deay | Updates: Go Great Lakes Bay | Jen is a Saginaw native and owner of Feel These Words, an independent copywriting studio & home to the free "5 Day Website MiniBoost". Jen specializes in writing that connects, delivered through website copy, branded content articles, and WingWoman writing services. You'll find Jen camping with her family, laughing, and at feelthesewords.com