MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Trip Hints

Favorites for spring

Searching for morels
When days get warmer, fungus hunters get ready to root out the much-sought treat.
How to prevent Lyme disease
The bite of a deer tick can cause major headaches, and more.
Waterfalls of the North Shore
When snow melts along Lake Superior, the rivers start to roar.
Cheap spring getaways
Here are 20 places where a fun weekend won't break the budget.
Camping in state parks
Pay attention to the window if you want to reserve a prime spot at peak times.
15 great trails to ride in spring
On a bike, get out to see what's new in the countryside or city.
10 great bog walks
In early summer, find out what's blooming under the boardwalk.
Best of spring
When warm weather arrives, it's time to tiptoe through the tulips.
Spring in Door County
On this Wisconsin peninsula, a vast array of wildflowers rewards those weary of winter.

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FastPlans/Spring in Galena

A cannon in Galena.

Everybody loves Galena, the cute little "town that time forgot.'' And because everybody can be a lot of people, spring is the best time to enjoy it.

Tulips and daffodils bloom on the terraces, weather is mild and streets are not too crowded. And there's always lots to do in this northwest Illinois town.

What to do: Take a trolley tour. Shop on Main Street. Tour the Ulysses S. Grant Home

Details: See Galena getaway and Outdoors in Galena.

Past fast plans: A John Muir tour in Wisconsin, Baseball in Milwaukee, A spin around Lake Pepin, Spotting eagles, Fun in Bayfield

This weekend

Celebrate with the Norwegians.

A Viking-ship float in Spring Grove.

Syttende Mai in Stoughton, Wis. The festival in this town south of Madison, which celebrates Norwegian constitution day, is the largest in North America and probably the world. It features Norwegian dancing, a Viking strongman contest,  a canoe race, an arts fair and a big parade at 1:30 p.m. Sunday. May 14–16.

Syttende Mai in Spring Grove, Minn. In Minnesota, Norwegians settled first in this town in bluff country. There's Norwegian food, music and dance, and a big parade at noon Saturday. May 14–16.

Morel Mushroom Festival in Muscoda, Wis. This town along the Wisconsin River calls itself the Morel Mushroom Capital of Wisconsin. There's a parade, a pedal tractor pull, arts and crafts show, a chainsaw-carving show and fireworks. May 15.

Art-A-Whirl Studio and Gallery Tour in Minneapolis. More than 500 artists take part in this tour of 60 locations in the northeast Minneapolis arts district. May 14–16.

For more, see our Events Calendar.


20 great spring hikes

The scenery along these lovely trails will put a spring in your step.

Bluebells in Kaskaskia Canyon.

What's so great about hiking in spring? That's easy – there's so much to see.

Move your feet in any direction and you'll run across wildflowers, waterfalls and, best of all, sweeping views that last only until the trees leaf out.

Head out before summer makes its brash appearance, with walls of greenery and fleets of bugs.

Here are 20 great places to go hiking in spring. If you especially want to see a lot of spring ephemerals, see Where to find spring wildflowers.

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Celebrating Syttende Mai

On a special day in May, Norwegian-Americans wave the red, white and blue.

A Viking ship float in Spring Grove.

It's a wonder that we love the Norwegians so much, considering the food they brought from the old country.

Lutefisk, or dried cod soaked in lye? Rømmegrøt, a butter-soaked cream pudding that should be called heart-attack-in-a-cup?

We forgive Norwegians because they have a sense of humor about everything, including their food (“O Lutefisk, how fragrant your aroma. O Lutefisk, you put me in a coma. You smell so strong, you look like glue, you taste yust like an overshoe.")

The food and the sense of humor are on display at Syttende Mai celebrations, which include rømmegrøt- and lutefisk-eating contests.

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Where to find spring wildflowers

Some can be seen everywhere; others are more elusive.

Shooting stars at Perrot State Park.

In spring, we're all delighted by the arrival of the first spring wildflowers. Here are just a few of the best places to look for them.

State parks are obvious choices, with carpets of flowers just off hiking trails. For more unusual flowers as well as more solitude, visit one of Minnesota's scientific and natural areas (SNAs) or Wisconsin's state natural areas

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20 great spring drives

When weather warms, the urge to hit the road is irresistible.

A barge on the Mississippi River.

It's a beautiful spring day — finally. The trees are budding, the birds are chirping. What do you do?

Road trip! Somehow, the call of the highway is especially strong in spring. We want to feel the wind on our face and see something new and unusual.

There's a lot to do along the way: Walk through bluebells, spot birds, visit artist studios, sample cheese, watch a parade.

Here are 20 of the best spring drives in Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois and  Michigan.

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