Top Outdoor Attractions on the Water If you're looking to find the best beaches for lounging — or boat tours that'll whisk you through sparkling blue — dive into these refreshing options!
Frankenmuth

Book a one-hour Wine and Chocolate River Tour, and glide along the scenic Cass River while sampling five wines expertly paired with five handmade chocolates. Enjoy a full pour of your favorite, and keep the stemless glass as a souvenir!

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Frankenmuth

Known locally as “The Belle”, this 150-passenger paddlewheel riverboat takes cruisers on an hour-long, narrated tour of Frankenmuth. Spot signature Bavarian rooftops and other iconic sights from the open-air, canopied upper deck (or the cool, enclosed lower salon, if you prefer).

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Bay City

With almost a mile of natural Saginaw Bay shoreline, one of the Great Lakes’ largest freshwater coastal wetlands, a groomed public swimming beach, boat launch, picnic areas, spray park, playscape, campground, cabins, and the Saginaw Bay Visitors Center — it’s no wonder why U.S. News & World Report named this destination one of “The 20 Best Michigan State Parks” in 2019!

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Bay City

Think billowing white sails, nautical splendor and majestic schooners: the Appledore tall ships. Ahhh. Then, think no further; book your excursion with BaySail! From Sunset Sails with unbelievably gorgeous views to Celestial Excursions under starry night skies, don’t pass on this remarkable experience.

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Saginaw

Board a shallow draft boat with your remarkable guide, Johnny Panther, as he leads you through unforgettable scenery and wildlife spotting of egrets to eagles and beyond. Explore the pristine Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge and you’ll know why Johnny Panther calls this glorious land the “Everglades of Michigan”!

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Bay City

Board the Princess Wenonah or Islander ferry boats and choose your cruise (maybe even dance on deck)! Friday Night Entertainment Cruises will have you enjoying a catered dinner and live musicians, while a Saturdays on the Saginaw River Tour will give you 2.5 blissful hours aboard.

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Multiple Cities

Maybe you’re craving kayaking? Look to Float Paddle Center in Bay City, Frankenmuth Kayak Adventures in Frankenmuth, Cattail Kayak Rental in Pinconning, or Ike's Mobile Kayak Rentals in Midland. Rent sit-in or sit-on, single or tandem kayaks — or try stand-up paddleboards from Float Paddle Center for another kind of adventure altogether!

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Linwood + Bay City

For big water packed with big fish, Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay offers world-class catch and charter boats are at the ready for you to yell, “Fish on the line!” Whether you board with The Michigan Experience or Adventure 1 Charters (or any from this complete list of possibilities), enjoy the waters and your walleye!

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Top Outdoor Attractions on Land When you want to enjoy all the open-air beauty — but without getting on a boat or in the water — look to these outings that'll keep you on land, or take you high up in the trees!
Midland

Explore exquisite aesthetic and bountiful beauty throughout this 110-acre indulgence. Peruse winding pathways through more than 22,000 flowering bulbs and 35,000 annuals, tour the historic Pines Home, and discover the Estate Garden, Exploration Garden, Color Garden — and Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens within, all included in your admission.

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Midland

With a goal of enhancing the way guests connect with the natural world (achieved), take a walk through the forest like never before on the 1,400-foot, longest-in-the-nation Canopy Walk at Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens — four stories high! Interact throughout with suspended cargo nets, a swaying hammock arm, and experience a “perceived sense of danger” at a glass-floored overlook! Will you dare walk out onto it?

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Frankenmuth

Combination ropes course and ziplining adventure, this experience in the treetops is not to be missed! Zoom through the air and zip through the trees as you test your skills on six unique courses — and try their Glow Nights to see the entire forest illuminated by colorful LED lighting.

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Midland

Stretch your legs and feel revived at this 1,200-acre haven of woodlands, wetlands, and rivers. Explore more than 19 miles of hiking trails, including the 3.7-mile, paved Chippewa Trail that’s also perfect for biking and inline skating.

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Frankenmuth + Bay City

Whether you hop on in Frankenmuth with PedAle or Bay City with Sunrise, know this before you go: these customizable outings will have you pedaling multi-passenger, bike-like trolleys, stopping off where you choose — and possibly sipping pints while you pedal. Can you see the smile on your face already? Cheers to this must-try experience!

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Saginaw

Experience the beauty of the wilderness from the comfort of your car on the Wildlife Drive through Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge! Witness bald eagles, American white pelicans and more while discovering Maankiki Marsh, the largest wetland restoration project to take place in the Great Lakes in 75 years!

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Have little ones who want to explore what’s here, too? Bring the kids for a beach day, or try two incredible zoos — all with these things for families to do outdoors in the Great Lakes Bay! Find Your Fun +
Author
Jen W. O'Deay

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