MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Trip Hints

Favorites for spring

Best of spring
When warm weather arrives, it's time to tiptoe through the tulips.
Where to find spring wildflowers
Some can be seen everywhere; others are more elusive.
Schools of know-how
Go away for a relaxing weekend and come home with a new skill.
Chasing cherry blossoms
In spring, Michigan's Old Mission Peninsula is a sight for sore eyes.
Spring bird festivals
After a long winter, birders welcome the return of feathered friends.
Wildlife reality show
Web cams open a window into lives of eagles, bears and other wild things.
Excursion to Stillwater
This historic Minnesota river town is a favorite weekend getaway.
Planning a Circle Tour of Lake Superior
For a great vacation, follow the shores of the world's largest freshwater lake.

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FastPlans/Boats in Duluth

The Dutch-flagged Albanyborg.

In Duluth, the shipping season is in full swing.

The first laker left the harbor March 22, and the first saltie, the Malta-flagged Maria G, arrived April 15. Locals as well as tourists are happy to see the big boats back.

How to keep track of boats: Check arrivals and departures on Harbor Lookout.

What to do: Visit the free Lake Superior Maritime Visitors Center next to the Aerial Lift Bridge. 

Events to catch: April 28-May 5, Homegrown Music Festival. May 12, Run Smelt Run puppet parade.

Details: For more, see Boat watching in Duluth and Duluth 101.

Past fast plans: A John Muir tour in Wisconsin, Escape to Stillwater, Spring in Galena, Baseball in Milwaukee, A spin around Lake Pepin

This weekend

Find art on country and city roads.

A scenic drive near Beetown.

Bluff Country Studio Art Tour in northeast Iowa and southeast Minnesota. Visit artists in and around Winona, Lanesboro, Spring Grove and Harmony in Minnesota and Decorah in Iowa. April 26–28.

Behind the Arts Studio Tour in Racine and Kenosha, Wis. Visit more than 100 artists at 35 locations, in Racine on Saturday and in Kenosha on Sunday. On Friday evening, there's a Preview Party. April 26–28.

St. Paul Art Crawl in St. Paul. Tour the studios of more than 300 artists in 17 buildings in the Lowertown and downtown neighborhoods. April 26–28.

Spring Outdoor Adventure Expo in Minneapolis. A spring kickoff for outdoor enthusiasts, with presentations on outdoor adventures and destinations and a gear sale and auction of used canoes and kayaks. April 26–28.

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. 

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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, along with festivals you'll want to catch, in 2019.

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Waterfalls of the North Shore

When snow melts along Lake Superior, the rivers start to roar.

High Falls on the Pigeon River.

Up north, all of the snow that brought you great skiing just keeps on giving when spring arrives.

That's when it turns into waterfalls, roaring down river gorges and misting awed onlookers.

One of the easiest places to see lots of big waterfalls is along Minnesota's North Shore, where dozens of rivers roar down into Lake Superior. Where there's water, there's a waterfall.

When's the best time to go? As soon as ice melts, of course.

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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.

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. 

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