With sunshine warming your face and wide-open views of impossibly blue waters all around you, what's not to love about time spent boating? And, depending on the vessel you venture aboard, your experience here on our Great Lakes Bay waterways can be entirely different each time!
Will you sail in the sun (or drift dreamily underneath the starry night sky)? Paddle your own route on a kayak, or lift your arms only to sip wine and savor decadent chocolates while aboard an electric craft? Whatever "floats your boat", options and outings are as expansive as the cool blue waterways surrounding them.
Read on to meet the fleet of boats and get acquainted with adventures you can enjoy on the waves of Michigan's Great Lakes Bay!
As we welcome you back, we’ll be doing our best to keep you in the loop on what’s open & closed in the Great Lakes Bay Region. Just look for the orange banners below on our partner listings as you start planning for your next trip!
While we all navigate this new normal, some experiences may be slightly different, and some businesses may only be partially reopened. Please check with the individual businesses for their reopening status, new hours of operation, and updated policies before visiting!
Step aboard BaySail's Appledore IV schooner in Bay City, a tall ship of nautical splendor with beautiful, billowing white sails, and prepare for a majestic experience!
- Consider Legends of The Saginaw for a daytime outing, complete with fascinating history of the Saginaw River and a light lunch served aboard.
- Look to Sunset Sails to witness glorious hues while enjoying light snacks. (Got wee ones with you? Both Legends of The Saginaw and Sunset Sails are family-friendly!)
- Experience nighttime sailing underneath the stars, while also enjoying a live presentation by local astronomers and tasteful charcuterie selections, aboard Celestial Excursions.
Cruise the Saginaw River
Board the Princess Wenonah or Islander ferry boats with Bay City Boat Lines to enjoy smooth cruises (and maybe even dance on deck)!
- Make waves from 7 - 10 p.m. on Friday Night Entertainment Cruises. Dine on a fully-catered meal, then boogie down to the live musical performance! From Country Night to Rock ‘n' Roll, pick your theme and don't forget your dancing shoes!
- Spend 2 ½ hours on a Saturdays on the Saginaw River Tour, and enjoy a live guide highlighting wildlife, points of interest along the river, and what to see and do in Bay City.
- Book your Free Weekday Morning History Tour in advance, because these seats fill quickly! Experience history of the community and Saginaw River with a live guide from 10 a.m. - noon each Monday - Friday during summer. (Did you know that President John F. Kennedy's yacht, the Honey Fitz ... ? Learn more on this free tour!)
Float in Frankenmuth
Enjoy a narrated, one-hour tour along the scenic Cass River aboard the 150-passenger Bavarian Belle Riverboat in Frankenmuth. The locally infamous, red and white "riverboat queen" operates from May - October, is wheelchair accessible, has restrooms on-board, and is considered a must-do while in Frankenmuth!
Or, relax aboard electric-powered, 12-passenger Frankenmuth FunShips as the captain guides you down the Cass River, possibly while you sip and sample.
- Book a one-hour Wine and Chocolate River Tour, and enjoy five wines expertly paired with five handmade chocolates, a full glass of your favorite wine, and a stemless souvenir wine glass. (Sparkling grape juice is available for boaters younger than 21.)
- Look to the 1 Hour River Tour or 30 Minute River Tour for relaxing rides through Frankenmuth and the scenic countryside, and consider renting pedal-powered Aqua Cycles if getting right into the water at the right price — just $20 for a crew of four — is what you're after.
Boat in the Wild
For one-of-a-kind boating enjoyment (amidst 19,000+ combined acres of Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge and Shiawassee River State Game Area), find yourself aboard a shallow draft, custom-built boat with Johnny Panther Quests Adventure Trips.
Specializing in ecotours, romantic escapes, and even bed & breakfast packages, tours are by reservation, fully customizable, family- and pet-friendly, and 3 - 5 hours on average.
- Book your "Everglades of Michigan" tour, bring your binoculars, and be prepared for unforgettable wildlife and scenic views.
Whether you choose to sail into the sunset (or kayak), dance the night away on-deck or cruise along a serene river while sipping wine (or sparkling juice), one thing is certain of any selection: you'll enjoy your time spent on the waters of Michigan's Great Lakes Bay!