Michigan is called the Great Lakes State for a reason. It’s surrounded by four major bodies of water—Lakes Huron, Michigan, Erie, and Superior—that make up many attractions, annual events and RV parks for the thousands of visitors that come here every year.
A good starting point is Central Michigan’s Great Lakes Bay Region in the Saginaw Valley, which consists of a series of communities along the shores of Lake Huron.
Located right on Saginaw Bay, Bay City offers many festivals to attend and attractions to visit. If you’re an antique buff, the Bay City Antiques Center/Downtown Antiques Market will be right up your alley. It’s the largest antique retail center of its kind in the state.
Or, enjoy some outdoor activity at Bay City State Recreation Area. The shoreside park has picnic areas, volleyball and basketball courts, a beach, and splash park.
Nearby is Tobico Marsh, an 1800-acre wetland preserve to explore with its five miles of trails and two 32-foot observation towers. There’s also the Appledore Tall Ship which offers a variety of public sailing experiences throughout the summer and fall.
Other attractions to visit:
- The Saginaw Valley Naval Ship Museum: Tour the USS Edson, a retired Vietnam-era destroyer that depicts the history of the United States Navy.
- Veteran’s Memorial Park: This is the city’s central park that’s home to The Bay City Liberty Harbor Marina. Ball fields, a Riverwalk, and the Riverwalk/Railtrail loop are other features.
- The Tri-City Motor Speedway: Take in weekly stock car racing or the series of scheduled racing events.
- Warmbier Farms: Browse for something special as Warmbier Farms offers a wide selection of home and garden accessories.
Bay City is also known for its series of annual events. They take place all summer and fall and there are a lot to choose from. There’s the St. Stanislaus Polish Festival and the Bay City Fireworks Festival.
Upcoming popular events include:
- Tall Ship Celebrations: Be sure not to miss the iconic tall ships where visitors can meet the crews, experience the ships first hand, and enjoy the popular Ballads and Brews Festival.
- Hop Riot Beer Fest: Taste and sample some 45-plus breweries from across Michigan. Live entertainment and several events also take place.
- The River of Time Living History Encampment: Experience the enactments from some of the most significant wars and conflicts of the 20th century.
- Things That Go Bump in The Night Film Festival: Hosted every October, this event represents the works of local filmmakers in the horror, thriller and suspense genres.
Don’t hesitate to set your GPS for Frankenmuth. This community celebrates its Bavarian roots with European-period architecture, annual festivals and great dining choices.
Just 10 minutes from the shopping Mecca of Birch Run Premium Outlets, Frankenmuth has a population of just 4,000, yet it attracts more than three million visitors annually and ranks as one of Michigan’s top tourist centers.
Some of Frankenmuth’s attractions include the Bavarian Belle Riverboat tour on the Cass River, the Frankenmuth Farmer’s Market, the Michigan Military and Space Heroes Museum, and Weiss Centennial Farm.
Shopping in Frankenmuth is also an experience with Bronner’s Christmas Wonderland, (claimed as the world’s largest Christmas store) the Frankenmuth River Place Shops, and many authentic German restaurants and cafes.
Upcoming events include:
- Summer Music Fest: Featuring some of the nation’s top polka bands, Summer Music Fest is held in Heritage Park and celebrates German, Polish, and Slovenian music.
- Farm-Fest: Hosted every August, the community recognizes its rich farming tradition with a living farm display, a tractor show, and a variety of activities.
- Frankenmuth Auto-Fest: This is one of Michigan’s largest automotive shows with more than 4,000 cars on display. A one-mile street party, best car competitions, and food vendors are also included.
- Oktoberfest: Held over the same period as the Munich Oktoberfest in Germany, Oktoberfest features live entertainment, dancing, and various food selections.
Midland has more than 3,000 acres of parkland plus art galleries, exhibits, and historical attractions. RVers should also plan a visit around anyone of its popular festivals. RV parks are available in the immediate area or choose stay at one of the parks in the communities nearby.
Midland is part of the 30-mile Pere Marquette Rail-Trail, a paved pathway ideal for walking and biking. Or, visit the Chippewa Nature Center, which has approximately 1,000 acres of deciduous and coniferous woods, rivers, ponds, and wetlands. There’s also Dow Gardens and the Alden B. Dow Museum of Science & Art, which hosts art exhibitions, art classes, family days, and art fairs throughout the summer.
Upcoming popular events include:
- Michigan Antique & Vintage Market: Browse from 800 to 1000 antique dealers across 80 acres and seven buildings.
- Additional weekly events throughout the summer include Dow Gardens Children’s Garden Story Time, Summer Exploration Days, and Tunes by The Tridge Music Series.
Approximately 20 minutes from Bay City and Frankenmuth, RVers visiting Saginaw will find attractions for all ages. There are several museums depicting the area`s past along with recreational parks, wildlife preserves and hiking and biking trails.
Things to do in Saginaw:
- The Saginaw Valley Rail-Trail: A 10-mile hiking and biking trail that follows Saginaw’s southern boundary.
- The Castle Museum: The Historical Society of Saginaw County features displays reflecting the area’s history through archaeology, lumbering, and automotive manufacturing.
- Imerman Memorial Park: Outdoor activities can be enjoyed with kayak and canoe rentals, a sandy beach, dog park, beach volleyball and horseshoe pits.
With many events in The Great Lakes Bays Region, Saginaw weekly entertainment includes Jazz in the Garden and the Friday Night Live Concert Series in Morley Plaza, every Friday (July 13 to August 17, 2018). There’s also the Old Saginaw City Lawn Chair Film Festival every Sunday evening from June 17 to August 12.