- Things to Do
- Eat + Drink
- Places to Stay
- Plan Your Trip
Breakfast: Create sweet smiles on your kids' faces with a stop at Cops & Doughnuts – Sutherland Precinct, and enjoy fresh donuts and hot coffee while you game-plan what’s ahead!
Journey to the Stars: Travel “out of this world” together at Delta College Planetarium! Kids and adults alike will enjoy this state-of-the-art facility where mind-blowing shows last one hour. Don’t leave without visiting the observation deck for a spectacular bird's-eye view of Downtown Bay City!
Fun with a View: Play 18 holes of outdoor mini-golf (right by a bustling marina) for gorgeous views of the riverfront with your game of putt-putt at Buoy 18. After a round, let the kids enjoy the free indoor game room!
Lunch: Sink your teeth into seriously tasty sub sandwiches, soups, and salads at Intermission Deli. (Do you have one kid who loves salami and another who’s vegetarian? Intermission Deli has you covered.)
Decide Your Ride: Want to board a boat together? Meet BaySail’s majestic sailboat schooners, the Appledore Tall Ships! All Classic Sails are family-friendly, including daytime Great Lakes 101 and evening Sunset Sails!
Or, take a relaxing ride with Bay City Boat Lines! Adults will enjoy the sights & scenery along the Saginaw River, highlighted by a live tour guide, and kids will love the chance to see a lighthouse!
Dinner & Dessert: Take the fam to MI Table. This farm-to-table spot has a menu that changes seasonally, but the Chicken Pot Pie with Michigan Biscuits is a mainstay that everyone will enjoy. Share the Michigan Fudge Charcuterie Board for dessert, and toast to your weekend in Bay City!
Play the Classics: Open late-night on weekends (but family-friendly anytime), enjoy an evening of fun inside Crazy Quarters Arcade. Introduce the kids to classics like Pac-Man and Galaga and try your hand at more than 60 pinball machines!
Uptown or Downtown? We say both! Each offering something unique, these neighborhoods are just a quick, three-minute car ride apart — and your family will enjoy shopping, tasting, and exploring within each.
Breakfast: Head to Uptown Grill for classic offerings, kicked up a notch. Think: Apple Cinnamon Cakes and Banana Bread French Toast (although they offer traditional French Toast, too). You could also grab a quick bite at Live Oak Coffeehouse if a yogurt parfait, quiche, and locally roasted specialty coffee calls.
Uptown to Downtown: Stroll about Uptown and enjoy the shops and scenery. Don’t leave without making a wish at the fountain, and enjoy the picturesque views of the water (maybe with a pre-lunch bubble waffle cone of "Uptown Funk" from Cream & Sugar Ice Cream Company)!
Pick Your Palette: Next, head Downtown to Painterly Pottery. Adults will enjoy this hands-on paint-your-own studio just as much as the kids! Pick your color palette and create what will surely become a treasured souvenir of your time spent in Bay City.
Shop the Blocks: From Painterly Pottery, opportunities abound within a few walkable city blocks. Looking for one-of-a-kinds? Michigan’s largest antique center is just across the street, and so are a handful of other unique antique & specialty shops!
Lunch: Fuel up for the afternoon at Tavern 101, where little ones can build their own flatbreads while the "big kids" bite into gourmet burgers and sample from 54 craft brews on tap. Go all-in together on an order of their seasoned, smothered Cheese Fries!
A Walk in the Park: Drive or walk to enjoy even more of Downtown! Let the kids try authentic gelato from Artigiano Artisan Cheese Shoppe or hand-dipped chocolates from Village Chocolatier, and relax in waterfront Wenonah Park while you watch the boats float by.
Plan a Pitstop: Take your time to enjoy every moment inside the Antique Toy and Firehouse Museum. Explore impressive NASCAR and Tonka displays and say you saw the largest collection of motorized fire trucks in the world!
Dinner: Enjoy G’s Pizzeria & Deli for everything from gourmet & specialty pizzas to their signature Pocket Pizza! (Heads up: Nearby Brooklyn Boyz Pizzeria & Italian Eatery and Eudici’s Pizza are each a five-minute drive out of Downtown, and both are worth the jaunt.)
Back in Uptown, Vinny's Pizzeria bakes their house-made pies in a brick oven, using only the freshest ingredients — and every pizza can also be made vegan or gluten-free.
Dessert & Delights: Visit Downtown Bay City’s oldest candy shop, St. Laurent Brothers, for gourmet chocolates, candies, nuts, and even ice cream. Take your treats and walk underneath the evening lights of the Third Street Star Bridge — a luminescent display and the perfect backdrop for your family vacation photo in Bay City!
Breakfast: Stop by Harless + Hugh Coffee before heading out of town. Lox Toast with pour-over coffee for the adults and House Waffles topped with seasonal fruit for the kids? Consider it the perfect fuel for your last day of adventures in Bay City!
Hit the Beach: Pull into Bay City State Park and put on your bathing suits (weather permitting) to enjoy almost a mile of natural Saginaw Bay shoreline, a sandy swimming beach, and the on-site Spray by the Bay splash park! Or, hike paved trails through scenic Tobico Marsh and spot some wildlife together from two four-story observation towers!
Finish with Fun: Cap off your weekend of fun at nearby Dutch Village Adventure Park — on the mini-golf course or in the batting cages — while you recount all the favorite moments from your family trip to Bay City!
Bite Before You Go: Gather ‘round at Mussel Beach Drive-In — a family-style restaurant and ice cream parlor loved by locals — and enjoy one last treat together before heading home!
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