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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    worcestershire UK
    Posts
    17

    Default 3 week trip to Great Lakes / Great Plains - any ideas please

    Hi there this site looks very friendly and very helpful so I am looking for some advice. My husband and I have travelled to the states on numerous occasions but have not toured the area of The Great Lakes or The Great Plains so we thought it was about time we did!
    We are flying to Chicago in late July then out again three weeks (all but a day) later. At the moment the only sketchy ideas we have are:
    We would like to drive North through Michigan and over the Mackinac Bridge then head through Wisconsin then head over the Minnesota, poss N&S Dakota before heading back towards Iowa and ultimately back to Chicago. The only definite 'must do', so far is Madison County Iowa to see the bridges and a small amount of time (few days minimum) to enjoy the lakes themselves - any ideas?
    I would really like to start booking some hotels / motels etc so need to get my head around a route!
    Any suggestions greatly appreciated. Also just for your info we are outdoor / walking / wildlife spotting & photography sort of people rather than restuarants / shopping / cities! We are happy to do a fair bit of driving each day ino order to see all of the places - we aren't thinking this will be a rest!
    Thanks in hopeful anticipation!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default so much

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    With three weeks there is so much you could see it is hard to even start narrowing things down. A few places I'd start would be the various national parks, monuments, and lakeshores, like Indiana Dunes, Sleeping Bear Dunes, Pictured Rocks, Apostle Islands, Teddy Roosevelt, Mt. Rushmore and the Badlands to name a few. There are also several noteworthy state parks like Custer SP in the Black Hills and Lake Itasca SP - the headwaters of the Mississippi in Minnesota.

    Of course those things are just the tip of the iceburg. If you check out the Roadtrip Routes section, you'll find quite a few articles that list off possibilities in this part of the country. I'll also suggest you check out a number of field reports from this area, like Dangermouse's trip around Lake Michigan and beyond from this summer, Harry's trip to the UP, and Buck's trip to the Midwest. Also check out Illision's South Dakota report - and make sure you also click the link to their planning thread.

    That's just a sample of what's already here, but should give you a good start. Once you've got a more specific idea of your own must sees and a general route, we can help with some more specific thoughts and ideas.

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Location
    Tucson, AZ
    Posts
    9,358

    Default Great Spots Abound

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    Ideas for enjoyable, interesting, and/or informative stops in the general area you've described are not hard to come be at all, so here are just a few. As you work your way north along the east shore of Lake Michigan, be sure to stop at some of the great lakeside parks, especially Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Then in the shadow of the Mackinac Bridge, there's Colonial Michilimackinac State Historical Park. If you want to add a quick trip to Canada to your itinerary, continue north a bit to Sault Ste. Marie and visit the locks. Heading west along the southern shore of Lake Superior, some highlights would be the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.

    Next up, you'd head out across the Great Plains starting with a trip through the Land of 10.000 Lakes on MN-210/US-10 past several small state forests and the Tamarac National Wildlife Refuge. Then it's across North Dakota on I-94 with a possible stop at Hobart Lake National Wildlife Refuge on the way to Theodore Roosevelt National Park and the Little Missouri National Grassland.

    Then head south into western South Dakota and a number of scenic venues around Rapid City. Turn back east, basically on I-90, past Badlands National Park, Wall Drug, and the Corn Palace on your way to Iowa and finally back to Chicago.

    AZBuck

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    worcestershire UK
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Thanks so much for taking the time to answer. I have had a look at some of your suggestions and looked into other posts as suggested it all looks great!
    Just a quick question... approx how far is it to drive (hours or miles) from Chicago to The Mackinac Bridge area? I wonder where wuld be good stops to make along the way. We both love swimming and would love to take a dip in the lake a couple of times on the trip - do you think 3 days from Chicago to Mackinac is do-able?

  5. #5
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Location
    Green County, Wisconsin
    Posts
    13,063

    Default

    By the direct interstate route, its only a 400 mile drive, so you could make the trip in 6 hours or so if you needed to. It will take a little longer going along the lake, but 3 days will be a very easy trip.

    You really need to go back and actually look at the links and suggestions that Buck and I provided, those links include several stops and other ideas to explore Lake Michigan and the Lower Penninsula - including Indiana Dunes and Sleeping Bear dunes just to name a few.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    worcestershire UK
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Thanks for that I have been looking at the Indiana Dunes and the Sleeping Bear Dunes they will definitely get a visit from us. I am glad that a three day drive is do-able as we don't want to just motor through on the Interstate missing all of the scenery.
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 11-14-2010 at 02:01 PM. Reason: Sorry, New Members are not allowed to post off site links

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Oct 2010
    Location
    worcestershire UK
    Posts
    17

    Default

    Whoops - sorry!

  8. Default

    Check out the Morton Arboretum, just a bit west of Chicago. Great trails.

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