- Things to Do
- Eat + Drink
- Places to Stay
- Plan Your Trip
Morning: Enjoy a peaceful morning when you drop in your line at the Cass River Dam and fish near Frankenmuth’s Fish Passage, which connects the fish of the Saginaw Bay to more than 73 miles of historically significant spawning areas. Catch large walleye and lake sturgeon to bluegills and rock bass. Or, book with Frankenmuth Kayak Adventures, and paddle through the calm Cass River on a self-guided and tranquil kayak tour.
Lunch: Enjoy a leisurely picnic along the Cass River at Frankenmuth’s Heritage Park (possibly with food truck fare from Bavarian Inn Cluck Truck or The Cheese Trap) and peruse the Riverwalk Pathway.
Afternoon: Board the 150-passenger Bavarian Belle Riverboat for a one-hour, narrated sightseeing cruise, complete with local history & fascinating facts about Frankenmuth. Or, book a Wine & Chocolate River Tour with Frankenmuth FunShips to sample five wines paired with five handmade chocolates — the stemless wine glass becomes your souvenir!
Dinner: Tour the historic Frankenmuth Brewery, established in 1862, before ordering craft brews and delicious dinner from your choice: two levels of outdoor seating, or an enclosed patio with ceiling-to-floor glass windows overlooking the Cass River. Cheers!
Stay on the Water: Nestle in for the night on the banks of the Cass River in one of 360 European-themed guest rooms at Bavarian Inn Lodge — and enjoy a moonlit stroll along the water. Or, stay riverside in one of 38 rooms at the boutique Marv Herzog Hotel, and experience a charming alpine lodge with free Deluxe Hot Breakfast including biscuits & gravy and delicious Belgian waffles.
Morning: Take to “the Bay” on a chartered fishing excursion! Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay is known internationally for its splendid walleye fishing — and a fleet of savvy charter captains know exactly where to guide you. Think big fish and huge fun!
Lunch: Pack a picnic and perch at Veterans Memorial Park or Wenonah Park for waterside scenery, working drawbridges, and freighters passing by. Or, belly up at Tavern 101, a restaurant and watering hole with a view — and 54 taps pouring an ever-changing selection of craft brews!
Afternoon: Enjoy the “big blue” on a Great Lakes 101 sail aboard a majestic tall ship with BaySail, or float away on an excursion boat during a Saginaw River Guided Tour with Bay City Boat Lines. You could also experience the Saginaw Bay shoreline and more than a mile of sandy swimming beach at Bay City State Park. Explore its 2,000-acre lagoon, Tobico Marsh, for water views and abundant wildlife — and rent kayaks or boards from Nor'East Outdoors to enjoy the views from offshore!
Dinner: Take in extraordinary views of the Saginaw River from the upper Mezzanine or lower-level patio, or from any one of 200+ tables where you can dine on fresh-catch flavors at Real Seafood Company. Or, enjoy the casual, sophisticated ambiance of Riverfront Grille & Lounge for scenic views and cozy lounge seating by the fire bar.
Relax at Drift Shoreside Beer Garden for easygoing dockside eating, delicious brews, riverside seating with a fire pit, and Acosta’s Havana Bites and Drift BBQ food trucks on-site, among other rotating options.
Evening: Sail off into the radiant horizon on a Sunset Sail with BaySail, or aboard a tiki-themed pontoon with Bay City Tiki Boat Tours. On either trip, bring your favorite snacks & beverages — and a camera to capture the painted sky over Saginaw Bay! Or, book tickets to boogie with Bay City Boat Lines during "Rock the Boat" or "Carefree Cruisin'" themed trips with live bands! Enjoy dinner on-deck and dance into the night with onboard musical entertainment!
Stay on the Water: Enjoy a nightcap at on-site Riverfront Lounge (and the option of in-room river views) when you rest your head at DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Bay City - Riverfront, or reserve your spot at Bay City State Park to turn in for the night at a cozy cabin or campsite on the Bay.
Morning: Book a scenic boat tour with Johnny Panther Quests Adventure Trips through one of the richest wildlife habitats in the state, the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. Experience "Michigan's Everglades” through the eyes of an expert local guide, and witness nesting bald eagles and beyond.
Lunch: Enjoy a picnic on Saginaw’s own Ojibway Island, situated right on the Saginaw River. Stroll along the waterside to enjoy natural, lush scenery and a relaxing location for lunch.
Dodge “inland” just long enough for: Coney dogs & draft root beer served carhop-style at Old Town Drive-In; standout sandwiches at Fralia’s or Valerie’s Downtown; or assorted eateries like Makin’ Bacon, Big O Burgers and Barbecue, and El Farolito Taqueria inside SVRC Marketplace.
Afternoon: Soak up the sun and the sandy beach at the gorgeous, 40-acre lake of Haithco Recreation Area, and rent your choice of paddleboat, rowboat, canoe, or kayak, right on-site!
Dinner: Experience a casual-upscale chophouse and comfortable, sophisticated atmosphere at Jake’s Old City Grill, near the Saginaw River. With charbroiled steaks and seafood, along with an extensive martini and wine list, savor every moment at Jake’s!
Stay on the Water: Step back in time while staying at the historic Montague Inn, an inviting bed & breakfast on tranquil Lake Linton. Indulge your senses in this Georgian-style mansion with 17 bedrooms and intricate architecture, and be sure to stroll the sprawling grounds for lavish gardens and lakeside views.
Morning: Begin your day at one of the largest farmers market gatherings in the state, Midland Area Farmers Market! Grab to-go breakfast from on-site food trucks and a cup of locally roasted Creation Coffee so you can perk up for your afternoon on the water!
Lunch: Enjoy your fresh market finds on a picnic by The Tridge, a unique, three-legged pedestrian bridge spanning the confluence of two rivers. Or, bring take-out to your Tridge-side blanket lunch: Molasses Smokehouse & Bar for St. Louis-style BBQ and meats smoked low & slow; Amazing Deli for sandwiches and an impressive selection of creative hot dogs; wood-fired, Neapolitan-style Pizza Baker, or specialty & signature Pizza Sam's with sandwiches, Coney dogs, and gyros, too.
Afternoon: Go on a guided tour or float on your own with Ike's Mobile Kayak Rentals. Ready and steady for beautiful rivers and lakes, nature and scenery, and your enjoyable 12-foot, sit-on or sit-in kayak for gliding through it. Or, book with mobile service Nor'East Outdoors, offering guided and self-guided kayak and paddleboard trips — with brief lessons and shuttle service included!
Dinner: Feel like family and experience an indulgent, purely pleasurable Italian meal at Gratzi! With decadent selections, served in Italy’s dining tradition of warmth and generosity, partake in a layered meal on the Mezzanine Balcony, situated near the riverfront and The Tridge.
Stay Near the Water: Sleep in sophistication and style near the riverfront at The H Hotel. Enjoy service excellence, a AAA Four-Diamond Rating, and on-site Oxygen Lounge, Cafe Zinc, and ONe Eighteen to relax and unwind with a signature cocktail!
Dip your toes, drop a line, and dive right in as you discover these must-try attractions, hotels, and restaurants on the water in Pure Michigan's Great Lakes Bay Region!Read More +
Read on to meet the fleet of boats and find adventures you can enjoy on the waves of Pure Michigan's Great Lakes Bay Region!Read More +
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