In Duluth, the shipping season is in full swing.
The first laker, the Roger Blough, left the harbor March 22, and the first saltie, the Antigua-flagged Lake Ontario, arrived April 2. Locals as well as tourists are happy to see the big boats back.
What to do: Visit the free Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center next to the Aerial Lift Bridge. Shop and eat on Canal Park.
Past fast plans: Spring in Galena, Milwaukee ball, On Lake Pepin, Watching eagles, Fun in Bayfield
U.S. Grant's Birthday Celebration in Galena, Ill. The former home of the Civil War general celebrates his 195th birthday with free admission to the Grant Museum, an artillery encampment, Main Street walking tours with Gen. Grant, a pie auction, a spy trial and appearances by President and Mrs. Lincoln. April 2123.
Midwest Horse Fair in Madison, There's a Friday-night rodeo, blacksmith championships, stagecoach rides, Texas trick riders, music and performances, including the Wisconsin Mounted Police Team. At Alliant Energy Center. April 2123.
Dairy State Cheese & Beer Festival in Kenosha, Wis.There's cheese and beer from around the state plus live music at the Brat Stop. April 22.
Earth Day Birding Festival in Hastings, Minn, This festival at Carpenter Nature Center includes bird-banding demonstrations, a raptor class and guided birding trips. Reservations are required. April 22
For more, see our Events Calendar.
If you like to ride bikes and you live in the Upper Midwest, you've lucked out.
This is a bike-crazy part of the country. Michigan, Minnesota and Wisconsin rank No. 1, 2 and 3 for miles of rails converted to trails.
For quite a while, Illinois and Iowa were No. 5 and 6. Now they've been supplanted by Washington state and New York; Pennsylvania is No. 4.
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.
Along the Mississippi in Minnesota, join a warbler weekend at a retreat center. In northeast Iowa, go on a beginning backpacking trip. In Chicago, 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.
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.
Deep down, every morel hunter believes in divine providence.
There's nothing so providential as baskets overflowing with morels, and the taste is so divine hunters dream about it all winter. In spring, they offer a fervent prayer to the mushroom gods: May the fungus be among us.
Morels do taste heavenly. But it's the hunt that's so addictive it's fun to find something for free that's so expensive in stores and restaurants, and it's fun to beat the odds by finding something so notoriously elusive.
It's a lot like gambling a windfall is hard to come by, but once you've had one, you want a lot more. And sometimes, people do get lucky.
This year, winter fizzled so fast some of us didn't get a chance to whine about it. For once, we have lots of time to enjoy spring before summer arrives.
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 2017.
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, along with festivals you'll want to catch, in 2017.