MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Trip Hints

Favorites for spring

Tours on two wheels
On organized weekend bike trips, it's easy to go along for the ride.
Serious reservations
Here's a guide to the lodgings, campsites and permits you should nail down early.
Chasing cherry blossoms
In spring, Michigan's Old Mission Peninsula is a sight for sore eyes.
A roof in the woods
In state and county parks and forests, visitors love their camper cabins.
15 great trails to ride in spring
On a bike, get out to see what's new in the countryside or city.
Tulip Time in Pella
In central Iowa, the Dutch celebrate colorful origins.
Spring in Door County
On this Wisconsin peninsula, a vast array of wildflowers rewards those weary of winter.
Searching for morels
When days get warmer, fungus hunters get ready to root out the much-sought treat.

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FastPlans/Baseball in Milwaukee

Milwaukee's Miller Park.

When the Milwaukee Brewers play, no one shivers in the stands, thanks to the retractable roof of American Family Field, formerly Miller Park. 

There's also a lot to do downtown, and you can get a good rate at hotels, which are expensive during the summer festival season.

What else to do: See the new "Mandela'' exhibit at the Milwaukee Public Museum. On the lakefront, visit Discovery World and the Milwaukee Art Museum, whose "wings'' open at 10 a.m., flap at noon and close at 5 p.m. Reserve in advance.

Details: For more, see Playtime in Milwaukee.

Past fast plans: A spin around Lake Pepin, Spotting eagles, Fun in Bayfield, Fun around Ely, Tundra swans in Monticello

Best of spring

When warm weather arrives, it's time to tiptoe through the tulips.

Wildflowers in Trempealeau.

This year, winter stuck around for so long that it seemed as if spring never would come. Now, the challenge is to get out there and enjoy spring in the short window before summer gets here. 

What to do? Go on a spring drive, see fiddlehead ferns unfurl and surround yourself with that delicate shade of chartreuse that seems to tint the air green.

Kayak on cattail-lined creeks, stalk morel mushrooms and watch Dutch dancers clogging on the street.

Here are our picks for the best things to do in spring.

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Camping in state parks

Pay attention to the window if you want to reserve a prime spot at peak times.

The beach at Devil's Lake.

So this year, you got a great campsite in your favorite state park. Or maybe you didn't.

A lot of people vie for places in the most popular parks — Peninsula and Devil's Lake in Wisconsin, Split Rock and Itasca in Minnesota, all of the beach parks in Michigan.

The people who get them know how to work the angles. Mainly, that means knowing when to reserve.

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Cheap spring getaways

Here are 20 places where a fun weekend won't break the budget.

A bicyclist pedals on the Root River State Trail.

After a long winter, everyone deserves a spring getaway.

On a budget? No problem. Spring is the best time to find deals, and often the weather is stellar.

In Wisconsin's Blue Hills, help out at a nature preserve and stay free. In central Iowa, learn orienteering and archery at a women's skills retreat. In Chicago, have a sleepover in a museum or stay at one of three hostels during Craft Beer Week.

Think a little bit outside the box, and you'll save a ton of money. 

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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. 

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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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Wildlife reality show

Web cams open a window into the lives of bald eagles.

Starr, Valor I and Valor II on the nest.

In the northeast Iowa town of Decorah, two pairs of nesting bald eagles have become an international phenomenon.

Not only do they have a constant stream of live video, but avid watchers are snatching the best episodes — capturing the many dramas that go on in and around the nest — and posting them on Youtube for everyone to enjoy.

The Raptor Resource Project has dubbed them Nestflix and posts links to the highlights on its Facebook page, along with regular and often entertaining updates and explanations.

In January, the eagles court and get the nest ready. In February, the females lay eggs. About 35 days later, the eggs hatch, and in April and May, viewers can watch the eaglets grow.

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