Saginaw River in Bay City | @mi_playground

Morning: Dive right into your waterfront weekend when you to “the Bay” on a chartered fishing excursion! Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay is known internationally for its walleye fishing — and a fleet of savvy charter captains know exactly where to guide you. Think big fish and huge fun!

Pack a picnic and perch at Veterans Memorial Park or Wenonah Park for waterside scenery, working drawbridges, and freighters passing by. Or, grab a picnic table down by the water — and one of O's Famous Burgers — at H2O's Waterside Grill. You could also belly up at Tavern 101, a restaurant and watering hole with a view — and 54 taps pouring an ever-changing selection of craft brews!

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 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 a variety of rotating food trucks on-site.

Bay City Boat Lines

Evening: Sail off into the radiant horizon on a Sunset Sail with BaySail. 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!

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. You could also choose the Courtyard by Marriott Bay City or the Comfort Inn Bay City - Riverfront, both situated right near the water.

Day Two:
Boat Tours in Frankenmuth | @michiganaddicts

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.

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.

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!

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 a European-themed guest room at Bavarian Inn Lodge — and enjoy a moonlit stroll along the water. Or, stay riverside at the boutique Marv Herzog Hotel, and experience a charming alpine lodge with free Deluxe Hot Breakfast including biscuits & gravy and delicious Belgian waffles.

Johnny Panther Quests

Morning: Book a scenic boating ecotour with Johnny Panther Quests Adventure Trips through one of the richest wildlife habitats in the state, the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge. Experience the "Everglades of Michigan” through the eyes of an expert local guide, and witness nesting bald eagles and beyond.

Enjoy a picnic on Saginaw’s own Ojibway Island, situated right on the Saginaw River. Stroll along the waterside to enjoy lush, natural scenery and a relaxing location for lunch.

Dodge “inland” just long enough to pick up the makings of your picnic: Coney dogs & draft root beer at Old Town Drive In; standout sandwiches at Fralia’s or Valerie’s Downtown; or assorted eateries like Makin’ Bacon and El Farolito Taqueria inside SVRC Marketplace.

William H. Haithco Recreation Area
Haithco Recreation Area

Soak up the sun and the sandy beach at the beautiful park and 40-acre lake of Haithco Recreation Area. Rent your choice of paddleboat, rowboat, canoe, or kayak right on-site, and spend some time fishing from the pier!

Haithco Recreation Area | @mi_playground

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, the Midland Area Farmers Market! Grab to-go breakfast from on-site food trucks and a cup of locally roasted Creation Coffee or a Grove Tea Lounge latte so you can perk up for your afternoon on the water!

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 barbecue 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.

Chippewa River in Midland | @keeley.kenny

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 — or a delicious breakfast in the morning to cap off your memorable waterfront weekend!

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Jen W. O'Deay + Go Great Lakes Bay

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