Free Saginaw River History Tours Are Back For a Limited Time in July

Local Sponsors Make Tours Possible Again in 2021

It wouldn’t be summer in Bay City without Free History Tours on the Saginaw River. Local sponsors have again stepped forward to make this staple possible for the 24th year. Bay City Boat Lines has operated the free tours on weekday mornings since 1998.

2021 Free History Tour Sponsors are 1st State Bank, Ieuter Insurance Group, Krzysiak House Restaurant, Doubletree Hotel Bay City Riverfront in Conjunction with Bay City Boat Lines.

2021 Free History Tour partners include Ieuter Insurance Group, Krzysiak House Restaurant, 1st State Bank and Doubletree Hotel Bay City Riverfront. These partners provide a majority of the funding necessary for the free tours. Bay City Boat Lines picks up remaining costs. Each of these companies has been providing services in their respective fields (insurance, banking, catering and event services) to Bay City Boat Lines for many years and are trusted business partners. Their support is critical to the program and demonstrates a strong commitment to the quality of life in the surrounding region.

This year’s schedule will begin July 5 and continue Monday through Friday at 10am through July 30th. Long time tour guides Sherry Clements and Nancy “Mouth of the River” Rousse put their knowledge, humor and hospitality to work on the two-hour daily tours, delighting guests of all ages.

Each year Nancy and Sherry bring something new and interesting to the tours and cover everything from the lumbering days to Bay City’s maritime heritage, woven into stories about landmarks and the significance of the Saginaw River and its watershed. Their love for the community is apparent in their enthusiasm and depth of knowledge.

Crew members Michelle Judd, Nancy Rousse, Elaine Fournier, Michael Broecker, Paige Judd, Bill Fournier, Matthew Judd and Todd Shorkey – July 2019.

The entire crew of Bay City Boat Lines enjoy hosting guests for these tours each summer as many guests who attend have never experienced a boat ride on the Saginaw River and everyone leaves with smiles on their faces. It is especially fun to see locals view where they live from an entirely new perspective. Visitors to Bay City are impressed with the beauty of downtown, the working riverfront, along with natural riverbank areas and their inhabitants including the bald eagles that are seen quite regularly. The company’s motto “life is better on a boat” is carried out in the passion the crew has for their work and the warm welcome they extend to passengers aboard both the Princess Wenonah and Islander tour boats.

Princess Wenonah at Wenonah Park June 2021
Princess Wenonah at Wenonah Park – June 2021

The tours will depart from on the Princess Wenonah this season, a change from recent years. The Princess Wenonah is moored at Wenonah Park in downtown Bay City where she is instantly recognizable along the riverfront this summer. The new site offers convenient access to hotels, eateries, downtown shopping and the heavily trafficked riverwalk. Guests of the Doubletree Hotel have a birds-eye view of the iconic vessel from the Riverfront Grille and many guest rooms.

Reservations for tours open up two weeks in advance at, and must be made online. Guests are limited to four free tickets per household each season, and are subject to availability. All ages are welcome. The first week of free tours for 2021 (July 5th through 9th) will be open for booking on Monday, June 21, 2021.

Groups and larger parties can not be accommodated on free tours, but can be reserved on paid afternoon tours on Fridays and Saturdays at 1:00pm. Private tours can be arranged at other times for parties of 30 or more guests.

Guests enjoying a cruise aboard the Princess Wenonah – June 2021

To learn more about the Free History Tour series visit