Favorites for Spring

Spring in Door County
On this Wisconsin peninsula, a vast array of wildflowers rewards those weary of winter.

20 perfect cabins
They're in the woods, with views, vintage charm and modern luxuries (but maybe not all together).

Bikes, birds and bogs along Wisconsin's River Road
Between Trempealeau and Onalaska, cyclists encounter a happy mix of wildlife and civilization.

Sugarbush safari
At nature centers, learn how to tap maple trees and sample the sweet results.

Spring bird festivals
After a long winter, birders welcome the return of feathered friends.

Lake Michigan with kids
Following the sandy shores of this great lake, families find many places to play.

Mississippi panoramas
Take in the views from 500 feet above the famous river.

Lodgings in Minnesota state parks
Surrounded by nature, a lucky few sleep in relative luxury.

Waterfalls of the North Shore

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

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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Best of spring

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

Winter seems interminable, and cabin fever hits hard. When spring finally gets here, the challenge will be to get out there and enjoy it 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.

Look for wildflowers, kayak on cattail-lined creeks, stalk morel mushrooms and watch Dutch dancers clogging on the street.

Here are our picks for the best spring things to do in 2023.

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20 great spring hikes

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

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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Wildlife reality show

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

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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Cheap spring getaways

Here are 20 ways to have a fun weekend getaway that costs $100 or less.

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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Living in a lighthouse

Around the Great Lakes, volunteers keep the light on for tourists in Michigan and Wisconsin.

Around the Great Lakes, love for lighthouses is unlimited. Often called "America's castles," lighthouses are symbols of a more adventurous era, and tourists find them irresistible.

Now, the state parks and friends associations who care for them have found a way to harness all this passion: They're turning tourists into volunteer keepers.

For a week or two, volunteers live at the lighthouse, hosting visitors and doing chores. Some get to sleep under quilts in the historic keepers' quarters.

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20 great spring drives

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

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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Planning a Circle Tour of Lake Superior

For a great vacation, follow the shores of the world's largest freshwater lake.

Of all the vacations a person can take in this region, a Circle Tour of Lake Superior may be the best.

It appeals to waterfall watchers, lighthouse fans and history buffs. It's a magnet for kayakers and hikers.

It makes a great honeymoon and also a great family trip, because small children adore frequent stops at the many pebble beaches.

You can do it in a car or a motorcycle; you can camp or stay in motels. It's all things to all people, the perfect vacation for anyone who loves the outdoors.

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