Freshwater sailing to forest adventures, botanical gardens to guided boat tours, open-air art fairs and craft beer festivals — if summertime in Pure Michigan were a postcard, it'd be a picture of here.
Because, when you Go Great Lakes Bay, six uncommon cities unfold — with welcoming streetscapes in full bloom and sparkling waters that stretch out for miles — bringing some of the season's most iconic Pure Michigan experiences to life.
Whether you're out adventuring on the nation's longest canopy walk from four stories high in the treetops, sailing off into the sunset aboard a tall ship, wine tasting on a relaxing river cruise, biking about town on a 16-person pedal trolley with cold craft brews in hand, or popping in and out of the eclectic boutiques and antique shops that dot our streets — get ready for carefree, dreamy days and Pure Michigan memories made!
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!
Cozied near Pure Michigan's eastern shoreline with easy access to the Saginaw Bay and the deep, blue waters of Lake Huron, you'll find this whimsical, waterfront city. Here, you can both board a majestic tall ship for a freshwater sailing excursion — and welcome an entire fleet of them when the epic, maritime Tall Ship Celebration: Bay City sails into our award-winning port every few years.
Spend the day swimming and beaching along sandy Saginaw Bay shoreline, splash with the kids at the spray park, then explore one of the Great Lakes' largest freshwater coastal wetlands and miles of scenic trails that wind throughout — all in a visit to Bay City State Park. Or, board with Bay City Boat Lines for their excursion boat tours and cruises — most with dinner and live entertainment on-deck!
Shop Michigan's largest antique center along an entire city block, browse the artisan vendors of City Market, and explore all the surprising boutiques and eateries this magical, nautical city has to share.
When you find yourself at one of the Midwest's largest outlet malls — Birch Run Premium Outlets® — a simple day of shopping turns into an all-out experience! Wandering about an impressive collection of 100+ stores and stopping to dine like locals do (Tony's I-75 Restaurant's towering one-pound BLT, anyone?) — you'll find why so many return to this spot as tradition.
Explore the 56-acre Wilderness Trails Zoo, take the kids to Alpine Mountain for two mini golf courses, catch high-speed racing or even a concert at Birch Run Speedway, and top it all off at Frankenmuth Credit Union Event Center, where you'll find everything from Firkin Food Truck Festivals to Shipshewana on the Road!
Charming crop and quilt retreats housed in historic churches and homes, waiting to welcome you inside for a creative escape. A cozy bed and breakfast — tucked inside an old stone house — with ornate woodworking and original details all around. They're just a few of the simple joys you'll experience here, and they're every bit as idyllic as they sound.
Wander along the boulevard and pop into the quaint, family-owned shops you'll find lining the streets, or time your visit to one of Chesaning's traditional festivals, like summer's Saginaw County Fair. Swing by Market Off Broad for farm-fresh produce, flowers, and handcrafted goods, or catch Movies on Broad for free, family-friendly outdoor films at dusk during summer months.
Strolling streetscapes framed by cascading flowers and authentic Bavarian architecture or pedaling by on the 16-person PedAle Trolley, you'll see this inviting, German-inspired city unfold all along Main Street — from world-famous eateries like Bavarian Inn Restaurant and Zehnder's Restaurant to America's oldest microbrewery, Frankenmuth Brewery.
See Frankenmuth from a whole new angle when you take to the water with Frankenmuth FunShips, Bavarian Belle Riverboat, or Frankenmuth Kayak Adventures. Zipline and climb through the forest at Frankenmuth Aerial Park, or splash inside two incredible indoor waterparks — Zehnder's Splash Village Hotel & Waterpark and Bavarian Inn Lodge.
Spend an entire day wandering the 40-store, German-themed outdoor shopping mall of Frankenmuth River Place Shops and endless other boutiques that line the streets, and don't miss the chance to experience some of Michigan's top spring and summer festivals — from the World Expo of Beer in May to Frankenmuth Bavarian Festival in June.
A city woven with creative studios, artful spaces, and places to immerse yourself in nature, experience beauty — both natural and crafted — here. Explore the longest canopy walk in the country — four stories high inside a lush sea of trees — at Whiting Forest of Dow Gardens, then witness the rest of Dow Gardens' 110 acres of botanical beauty in full bloom. Or, adventure at Chippewa Nature Center, where 19 miles of scenic trails wind through a 1,200-acre oasis of wetlands and woodlands — all yours to explore.
Trek Downtown to The Tridge — Midland's iconic, three-legged bridge and a trailhead of the 30-mile Pere Marquette Rail Trail— where you can set out on a paddle with Ike's Mobile Kayak Rentals, wander the Midland Area Farmers Market, or even lay out a blanket and listen to the Tunes by the Tridge outdoor summer concert series. Swing by nearby Larkin Beer Garden's pet- and family-friendly shipping container bar for summer nights spent sipping craft beer under the stars, and watch for the lineup of local food trucks that park and gather here.
Tour one of the "25 Best Historic Homes in America" inside Alden B. Dow Home & Studio, spend an entire day discovering Midland Center for the Arts, and explore endless creative studios and spaces just made for makers. And, don't leave without spending a classic, summer day at the ballgame when the Great Lakes Loons take to the plate at Dow Diamond.
From one of the most authentic Japanese tea houses in all of North America to the historic 1927 Temple Theatre, Saginaw Art Museum's Italianate gardens and two award-winning modern wings to SVRC Marketplace's 100,000-square-foot wonderland filled with 30+ artisan vendors and fresh, local eateries galore — every spot from Riverfront Saginaw to Old Town Saginaw holds the heartbeat of this city.
Catch a concert at The Dow Event Center or on the grassy lawns of its neighbor — the outdoor Huntington Event Park. Bring the kids for immersive, hands-on play and exploration at the Saginaw Children's Zoo and Mid-Michigan Children's Museum, or take an ecotour together with Johnny Panther Quests Adventure Trips to experience over 19,000 acres of some of Michigan's richest wildlife habitat — the "Everglades of Michigan" — on shallow-draft boats and alongside an expert local guide.