This spring, a small, waterfront town on Lake Huron's Saginaw Bay made big waves in the world of sailing as it once again climbed the mast to the top of the Tall Ship world. For the third time since 2001, the Great Lakes Bay Regions own Bay City was named Port of the Year by Tall Ships America. And if you've ever attended the Tall Ships Celebration in Bay City, you'll know its not hard to understand why.
Not so sure what the Tall Ship Celebration entails? Its part of the Tall Ships Challenge a race of tall ships across major bodies of water that spans port cities all the way from Minnesota to Ontario. And Bay City is honored to be one standout stop along the way.
Last year, Bay Citys Tall Ship Celebration brought over 75,000 visitors to the Great Lakes Bay Region for four full days of maritime magic. And as 2013's Port of the Year, Bay City will once again have the honor of being a host port when the Tall Ships Challenge returns July 14-18, 2016.
So what can you expect when the Tall Ships make their voyage back to Bay City in 2016? Watching the majestic ships dock on the waterfront of the Saginaw Bay in Downtown Bay City. Touring their decks and cabins. Meeting their fearless crews. Even kicking back to enjoy Michigan craft brews and maritime and folk music at the annual Ballads & Brews event.
Thankfully, you don't have to wait until 2016 to start enjoying the waterways of the Great Lakes Bay. That's because Bay City and the entire Great Lakes Bay Region are packed with waterfront recreation throughout the seasons. Bay City's own Appledore Tall Ships celebrates amazing sailing experiences every year, not just during the Tall Ship Celebration.
In fact, you can hop aboard the Appledore IV or Appledore V schooners for all sorts of sails throughout the season, including BBQ and Gourmet Dinner Sails, complete with live, on-board maritime music, and Stargazer and Moonlight Sails. The Appledore schooners even raise their sails into autumn to offer the color tour of a lifetime a two hour upriver cruise complete with hot cider, chili, cornbread, and cozy quilts to keep you snug while you spot the beautiful fall hues. Check out the seasonal sailing schedule and set sail.
Still searching for more waterfront ways to kick off your travels this season? Bay City is also home to Bay City Boat Lines, which offers public tours and cruises as well as private charter services aboard the Princess Wenonah and The Islander, while the regions own Johnny Panther Quest Adventure Tours offer a totally unique and exhilarating ride through the Everglades of Michigan the Shiawassee National Wildlife Refuge and its waterways. For a more laid back waterfront adventure, try the Bavarian Belle Riverboat or Frankenmuth FunShips riverboat tours along Frankenmuths scenic Cass River. Check out all of the waterfront fun in the Great Lakes Bay Region and be sure to plan ahead when Tall Ships 2016 lands back at its Port of the Year, Bay City.