Did you know that the world’s largest freshwater lake (by volume) is in the US? Well, most of it! We share part of Michigan’s Lake Superior with Canada, but it is the largest freshwater lake in the world. When looking at a map, you can’t help but notice the many lakes surrounding Michigan. Whether you’re coming from the northeast or elsewhere, a fun summer road trip has to be a Great Lakes Tour.
Great Lakes Tour
A road trip with kids isn’t complete without a flexible itinerary, and tons of preparation. We talked before about tips for a long road trip, and some of those tips come in handy for a Great Lakes tour too: Get your car serviced, have a plan for stops and entertainment, but there are some changes too when you’re not driving all day, every day.
Stops on the Great Lakes Tour
If you’re coming from the East Coast, then make your first stop at Niagara Falls. Niagara Falls is one of the most iconic natural spots for tourists visiting the US, so make it a must-see for your family too. This trip also ensures you see Lake Ontario water! Since you can head a few minutes north from the falls to “Niagara on the Lake” you can see all the five great lakes in one trip if you do that quick trip north.
From there, driving through Pennsylvania and Ohio, you can definitely get a touch of nature, stopping through and seeing some of the Lake Erie coast, before planning a day at the water park Cedar Point, which is located on the shores of Lake Erie.
Next, head north into Michigan where you’ll catch the rest of the Great Lakes. Places to visit on the way north include:
- Detroit – Motor City USA, with a revitalizing downtown and views into Lake St. Claire (not a great lake, but connects to Lake Huron and Erie) and into Canada, you can spend the day in any of the museums, or choose to make your way north to the thumb of the lower peninsula. With many home stays and cabins available, you’re bound to find something in your budget for fun and frolic on a lake.
- Next, find your way north to Mackinac Island. You’ll need to pay for your car to be parked in either Mackinaw City or St. Ignace, but this is definitely worth a day’s visit. Choose to stay over night or stay on either side of the Big Mac (the 5 mile long Mackinaw Bridge). To the east of the bridge is Lake Huron, to the West is Lake Michigan.
- From there, head north to Sault Ste. Marie. The Soo Locks are magical for any ship lovers! After a picnic in any of the numerous parks, head west to have a boat tour of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore which is along Lake Superior as well.
- Spend the night in Marquette, before heading to the Keweenaw Peninsula, where, if the weather is right, you may note that you’re far north enough to see Aurora Borealis: The Northern Lights! Yes, every summer they become visible from Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, and you may catch them while being on the shores of Lake Superior.
- From there, head south on US-41 into Wisconsin where you’ll see the many bays of Lake Michigan. Wisconsin is known for their cheese, so don’t miss it!
- Next, head into Chicago and catch the windy city, before finishing your trip and heading home.
Of course, if you’re headed from the south or west, you can always start your trip from Chicago, but a Great Lakes tour is definitely a fun, educational and relaxing way to enjoy a road trip this summer.