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  1. Default 17 day trip in the Great Lakes region

    Hi there!

    I'm Will, from London (UK) and I'm new to the forum.

    Me and some friends are planning on a road trip in late September - early October and were thinking of hitting the Great Lakes region, starting and finishing in Chicago.

    I was looking for any contributions / ideas of where we can jut off. Are there any cool towns / cities or green spaces / national parks that anyone can recommend. We did a 3700 mile trip around the west last year in 17 days so wouldnt mind a couple of big drives (google says the current route is only around 1700 miles)!

    Thanks for all your help!
    Last edited by Midwest Michael; 02-23-2011 at 05:42 AM. Reason: removed dead link - info reposted by user below

  2. Default Hmm...

    It would seem that my link isnt working properly so I'll just try to describe the route!

    Chicago to Milwaukee hugging the western shore of lake Michigan
    Continuing up the lake to green bay
    Up to Escanba, MI
    Drive through Hiawatha National Forest and Sault Ste Marie State Forest into Ontario
    Take the ON -17 to Sudbury, Ontario
    Take ON - 69 to Toronto
    See Niagara Falls
    Take I90 to Sandunsky, OH for Cedar Point!
    Visit the Henry Ford museum in Dearborn, MI
    Head back to Chicago

    Hope this all makes some kind of sense and thanks again!

  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default lots of great options

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    There are a ton of great options for this trip.

    There are a few articles in our Routes section, as well as more than a few ideas built into the RTA Map Center, so those are a few good places to start.

    Just a handful of ideas: Door County (Wisconsin), Marinette Co Waterfall Tour (Wisconsin), Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore (Michigan), Mackinac Island (Michigan), the Soo Locks (MI/Ont), Agawa Canyon Train Tour (Ont), Several parks in and around Georgian Bay (Ont.), Wineries near Niagara (Ont.), Rock and Roll Hall of Fame or Cuyahoga National Park near Cleveland, and Several Parks along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan like Sleeping Bear Dunes and Indiana Dunes.

    One note, you may want to try to go a bit earlier, say early to mid-september. It can start getting quite cold in the UP and Western Ontario by October, plus when you are that far north, you start seeing the spectacular peak colors around mid-september. Also keep in mind that some places will start closing down for the season by October. Cedar Point, for example only operates on Weekends in Sept. and Oct.

  4. #4

    Default A Superior Ride

    Hello Will,

    From Green Bay, I'd be tempted to head due north on US 141 through Iron Mountain and Crystal Falls, MI. In particular, Crystal Falls is a quaint and scenic small town on a hillside overlooking the Paint River and would be a good place for an overnight.

    From Crystal Falls north on US 141 takes you through dozens of miles of virtually uninhabited state and national forest lands, with Amasa being the only village of any size (and where hopefully one can still stop and have a beer at the bar where a stuffed bear occupies his own barstool 7 days a week.

    At the north end, US 141 ends at US 41 south of L'Anse, and it's just a short distance to Houghton and the Keweenaw Peninsula. The copper mines of the Keweenaw are the basis for much in the way of present-day exhibits of the small towns and local mining history. Pasties for lunch, Friday night fish frys at pretty much every restaurant, gnocci, polenta, and fried smelt at the Italian places, and Finnish saunas up in Houghton. Houghton is also a port of embarkation for passenger ferries to Isle Royal National Park, set on a small island perhaps 30-35 miles out into Lake Superior from Houghton.

    Irrespective of the Houghton/Keweenaw/Isle Royale side trip, head east/south on US 41/MI 483 through Marquette and Munising to Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. From Marquette to Munising in particular, 41 and 483 hug the Superior shore and with some elevation from place to place, it is a "superior" view to US 2's hugging of the Lake Michigan shore on the south side of the UP. The autumn colors combined with the colorful striped appearance of the National Lakeshore's sedimentary rock bluffs should be spectacular, and I believe boat tours should still be running in late September (for exactly that reason). You can then head on across the central and eastern part of the UP to the Soo.

    From about Crystal Falls all the way to and just beyond Munising, the UP is hilly to slightly mountainous, and the Autumn colors should be close to peaking during your visit.

    From Iron Mountain all the way to Marquette, you're in mining country, where today 2nd to 4th generation Swedes, Finns, Italians, and Poles cling tightly to the foods and traditions of their ancestors homelands. That makes it more than a bit like a drive through Scandinavia with a little bit of central and southern Europe tossed in.

    And lastly, check ahead for the possibility of a European-style road rally, the Press On Regardless, being scheduled during your visit. I think recent years have seen it run a bit farther west, mostly or wholly in Wisconsin, but for quite some time Houghton was the headquarters and the various stages ran in the forest lands south, east, and west of there. The nickname for the POR was "A Superior Ride" hence its appearance in the subject title of this post.


  5. Default Thanks

    Thanks, Foy and Michael for your great responses!

    Houghton / Isle Royal looks great.

    Do you, or anyone else, know of anything else worth seeing on the road between Sudbury and Toronto?

  6. #6
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    As I mentioned before, Georgian Bay has many National and Provincial Parks all along the coastline with tons of different recreational activities from kayaking and beaches, to scenic drives activities and much more.

    I've driven through this area, making a couple stops, but I've only made the trip in one day, so there wasn't nearly enough time to dig into all the things to do in the area - but it is someplace I intend to head on a future trip.

    One thing that should be noted, travel through Canada is going to be much more expensive than in the US. There are some things that always cost more but the big thing is that the Canadian Dollar is much stronger than the US Dollar right now that's will make most things in Canada 25% or so more expensive. For example, last summer Gas in Sault Ste. Marie Ont was about US$4/gallon, compared to $2.80/gal just across the bridge in Michigan.

  7. Default

    Thanks for that, Michael, we'll be sure to make sure we top up on as much of everything as possible in MI then!

    One thing about Georgian Bay. Do you know if there's a ferry between Wabozominissing and Killarney or do you need to drive back up north and east to get across the bay?

    Cheers again!

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default a ferry, but not there

    I don't think there is a ferry service available on the north end of the Island, however, you can ferry from South Baymouth to Tobermory.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    My map doesn't show a ferry in that location, it looks like you have to take Highway 6 in and out.

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