MidwestWeekends.com — Your Travel Guide to the Upper Midwest

Where to cruise Lake Michigan on tall ships?

We are planning a Midwest trip this summer in mid-July. Is there such a thing as tall-ship cruises on Lake Michigan? We will be staying in the Milwaukee/Chicago areas near to the lake. - Carol, Ocala, Fla.

Yes, you can sail on tall ships in both Chicago and Milwaukee.

We've sailed on the 148-foot four-masted topsail schooner Windy from Chicago's Navy Pier, and it was a blast. The Windy offers six or more sailings a day with themes, including pirates, maritime history and fireworks.

Also in Chicago, the 77-foot two-masted topsail schooner Red Witch is moored in Burnham Harbor, near Soldier Field, and gives fireworks, cocktail and moonlight cruises.

In Milwaukee, the Denis Sullivan is part of Discovery World at Pier Wisconsin. It's a 137-foot replica of a three-masted 19th-century schooner, inspired by the Moonlight, a schooner that was known as the fastest on the Great Lakes between 1874 and 1885, when it was under command of Capt. Denis Sullivan.

Deck tours and day sails are given in summer. It also offers overnight sailings, during which passengers help the crew.

In 2012, passengers can join segments of a sail to Sturgeon Bay and back July 2-9 and July 31-Aug. 2. Reserve at 414-765-8625.

Tall ships from the East Coast visited both cities in recent years, but this year marks the beginning of War of 1812 commemorations, so they're staying put.

However, the U.S. Navy is sending six ships to Lake Michigan to mark the War of 1812. They'll be in Milwaukee Aug. 8-13 and Chicago Aug. 15-20.

For more on tall ships and maritime festivals, see Following the tall ships.

Last updated on March 29, 2012