Daydreaming about a spring vacation in Michigan, sans kids? From ample antiquing and gorgeous botanical gardens to festivals we’re known for, the only tough part will be packing it all into one trip!
Go four stories high in the forest on the country’s longest canopy walk, charter a guided fishing excursion to catch trophy walleye (with a little help from the pros), or even experience the “Everglades of Michigan” — all with our top things to do on a spring trip to the Great Lakes Bay!
Behold Natural Beauty: See 35,000 annuals (and 22,000 flowering bulbs in bloom) when you take in all 110 dreamy acres of Midland's Dow Gardens in springtime. Stroll the Color Garden, Rose Garden, Exploration Garden, and more — and allow enough time for a picnic on the lawns!
Just across the pedestrian bridge, you'll find Whiting Forest (already included in your Dow Gardens admission) and experience its unforgettable Canopy Walk — at 1,400 feet, the nation’s longest — featuring a glass-bottomed overlook that hovers high over an orchard!
Minutes away in Midland, explore 19 miles of trails open dawn-to-dark, peer out over scenic wetlands from a two-story observation tower, or bask in the serenity of the River Overlook — all in your absolutely free visit to Chippewa Nature Center.
Go Out on a Quest: Coined the “Everglades of Michigan” by the captain who’ll guide you, take a Johnny Panther Quests Adventure Trip through our Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge and just try to remember a more epic encounter in nature! Glide along the waters while spotting wildlife (like mature Bald Eagles or deer drinking from a stream right in front of you) and tuck every last moment of this once-in-a-lifetime outing away in your memory forever.
Choose a Charter: Experience one of Michigan’s best walleye fisheries (in its chock-full-of-fish spring glory) when you book a Saginaw Bay fishing charter with any of our expert, local guides. They’ll lead you to the most special, tucked-away spots on Lake Huron’s Saginaw Bay — and help you hook some world-class walleye to bring back.
Take in Exquisite Art: See an impressive permanent collection of 2,000 objects spanning 4,500 years at the Saginaw Art Museum (inside a 1904 mansion encased by Italianate gardens, no less). Or, visit the Marshall M. Fredericks Sculpture Museum to see works from the internationally known, Detroit-based public sculptor’s 70-year career. From historic-gem theaters to one of North America’s most authentic Japanese tea houses, you’ll love all the ways to immerse yourself in our arts & culture scene in spring!
Shop Top Spots: With Michigan’s largest antique center, one of the Midwest’s largest outlet malls, a 40-store, European-style shopping district, a unique village of shops that spans six buildings, and two year-round, indoor city markets — indulge in some serious retail therapy at our top spring spots for shopping!
Pedal for Pints: Traveling with a big group of friends (who love craft beer, too)? Book an eight- to 15-person pub on wheels — Sunrise Pedal Trolley in Bay City or PedAle Trolley in Frankenmuth — and enjoy smooth sips on a smooth ride around town! Don’t have a big enough party to book the whole trolley? Buy single seats on PedAle Trolley’s Thursday or Saturday 9 p.m. tours, or lock down their four- to six-person Circle Cruiser (knowing you can bring your own beer and wine on this bike, too)!
Dip in Your Paddles: Self-guided or guided tour, sit-in or sit-on kayak — enjoy an early-in-the-season paddle when you rent kayaks from Ike’s Mobile Kayak Rentals in Midland, Frankenmuth Kayak Adventures in Frankenmuth, Cattail Kayak Rental in Pinconning, or Float Paddle Center in Bay City. (This last spot rents SUPs, too!)
Follow the Trails: Our Great Lakes Bay Regional Trail is an almost-100-mile stretch of paths, paved and unpaved, that’ll guide you to scenic beauty at every bend. And the Saginaw Bay Birding Trail? It’s 142 miles of breathtaking Saginaw Bay shoreline and surrounding lands, absolutely packed with birding hotspots you can’t miss, especially in spring!
Taste Seasonal Flavors: Savor local eats at some of our top restaurants to try this spring — from a farm-to-table restaurant in Bay City inspired by the Great Lakes State to a new American tavern in Midland with mid-century vibes, a local, seasonal menu, and classic, handcrafted cocktails.
If your spring trip lands in late-May or later, don’t pass up the chance to help break in the taps at our outdoor beer gardens — Larkin Beer Garden in Midland, Drydock Beer Garden in Bay City, or Schnitzelbank Bier Garten in Frankenmuth. Visiting before beer garden season? Try one of our other favorite inside spots for craft beer or wine & spirits!
Ring in Spring: Sampling at Michigan’s largest beer tasting event or shopping its largest antique festival and one of the top 100 outdoor markets in the U.S. — our spring festivals and events in the Great Lakes Bay bring big fun, and you’ll want to experience every last one!