Fun recreational activities in Frankenmuth, Michigan

The small, friendly community of Frankenmuth (population 4,652 in 2012) offers numerous opportunities for fun and entertainment throughout the year. Although nationally known for decades as a popular source for Christmas holiday decorations, the town attracts tourists in addition to seasonal shoppers.  

Often billed as “Michigan’s Little Bavaria,” Frankenmuth sits along the northern shore of the Cass River, in the central part of Eastern Michigan.  Located within driving distance of beautiful Lake Huron, and just 16 miles from Saginaw and 26 miles distant from Flint, its proximity to several busy population centers increases its attractiveness as a vacation spot.  

If you enjoy recreational activities, this area might appeal to you:

Shopping, specialty stores, and bargain hunting

First, despite its size, Frankenmuth promotes a number of fascinating opportunities for anyone who enjoys prowling the aisles of interesting, unique retail venues.  Many storefronts and eateries in the community reflect the influence of traditional Bavarian architectural styles.  In fact, an entire commercial center beside the riverfront displays this theme.  Visitors can purchase tourist items and crafts, including many imported products.

Frankenmuth also offers visitors the chance to explore several specialty shops which carry significant inventories of particular types of items. In addition to Christmas decorations and seasonal novelties, you can usually find Bavarian clocks, fine cheeses and pastry desserts.

Hobbyists flock to this area, too: one of the largest beading outlets in the country originated here. Jewelry makers and designers can examine a wide selection of fastenings and unique beads, including Swarovski crystals and specialty beads from Czechoslovakia and Japan.

Frankenmuth usually holds a gigantic community-wide garage sale in mid-May.  In the past, the town permitted free parking and furnished maps to the locations of participating sites. The event allows bargain hunters a chance to comb through nearly a hundred displays within a relatively compact driving area.  

A center for Bavarian cuisine and apple pie

Additionally, many visitors dine at restaurants in Frankenmuth. The town developed a reputation for excellent German style cuisine and beer.  

Every autumn, a community festival commemorates the heritage of the founders of the community; the celebration typically involves generous quantities of ethnic food, dancing and musical performances. Several additional festivals occur throughout the year, including a large Bavarian Festival in the spring.

Frankenmuth in previous years also helped host apple pie contests.  Conducted as a part of Snowfest during January, this competition attracts amateur apple pie bakers and visitors from across a wide local area.  The winners compete in other events elsewhere.  

Local tours and museums

People looking for a fun recreational opportunity might also want to consider joining one of many tours through the area.  During certain seasons, passenger ships reportedly travel between Lake Huron and points along the Cass River.  Options may vary from traveling aboard an historic river boat to joining a cruise for an excursions sampling chocolates and wines.  

Michigan has sought to develop its wine industry in recent years, so visitors to the region may also enjoy touring local vineyards. 

Hiking and walking paths also dot the area, allowing guests an opportunity to appreciate the beauty of the region.  For example, in autumn, many tourists visit Frankenmuth specifically to admire the lovely foliage.

The community’s historical society maintains the Frankenmuth Historical Museum, a collection of artifacts pertaining to the rich history of the locale.  Visitors can consult the collection to learn about the town and its early residents.

Other activities

In addition to the numerous events scheduled in Frankenmuth throughout the calendar year, the community enjoys access to other, ongoing recreational activities as well.  These include proximity to a large indoor water park, several local golf courses, tennis courts, riding stables and movie theaters.

Visitors to Frankenmuth can find many interesting activities to occupy their time!