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  1. Default St. Louis, MO to Traverse City, MI

    Hi, I am planning a road trip from St. Louis to Traverse City this August. I am traveling with my 5 y.o. (and no other adults). This will be my first road trip. Do you have any suggestions? Is it realistic to do this trip in one day or should I plan for 2? Should I make reservations for a midway motel stop ahead of time? Any roads I should avoid? Any particularly scenic roads I should take? Is it a difficult trip? Thanks for any suggestions.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.

    Default On the limit.

    Hello and welcome to the RTA forums !

    This is right on the limit as to what we would normally recommend for a full days travel, however, alone with a 5 year old ,I think the 11/12 hours of travel [or so] will be a bit much for the 2 of you, especially as it's your first road trip. I would think that you would be OK finding lodgings along your route without the need to book, therefor you could see how far you get without pushing yourselves, and finish off your trip the next day. Have Lot's of short breaks where the young one can let off a bit of steam and keep you both fresh.

    I am sure you will get good advice about routes for you later in the day, so I will leave that to those familiar with the area.

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

    Default a couple options

    Welcome to the RTA Forum!

    This trip is just under 600 miles, so it could be done in a day, but it would be a rather long day on the road (at least 10 hours, likely closer to 11 or 12) and you really wouldn't have time to stop and enjoy anything. The direct route would be I-55 to Chicago, I-94/I-196 to Grand Rapids, and US-131/MI-113/MI-37 into Traverse City.

    If you can take two days you start opening yourself up to a few more options. Following basically the same route, you could make a stop in Springfield for a look at some of the Lincoln sites, old Route 66 and a Cozy Dog, Obviously Chicago has a million things you could do, but I'd probably bypass it an instead head for Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Then Rather than going up to Grand Rapids, I'd get off I-94 and take US-31 right up the shore of Lake Michigan. There are several state parks right along the beach, and one final stop (or a very easy daytrip during your time in traverse city) would be Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. If you want to take this more scenic route, and make some stops, you're going to need to spend a night on the road, but I think you could play that by ear. You shouldn't have much difficultly finding a place to stay without a reservation.

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Oct 2008
    Joplin MO


    I-55 to Chicago, I-94/I-196 to Grand Rapids,
    From I-55, take I-80 east to I-94. Have 60 cents in exact change ready for the tollbooth at the I-80/I-294 junction.

    Leave STL early enough in the morning to get through the Chicago area before afternoon rush hour if you are going during the week. I'd say that should be 9am at the latest. Chicago is roughly the halfway point, so you need to get through it and probably at least into Michigan before stopping for the night. There should be plenty of hotels between the state line and Grand Rapids. North of Grand Rapids, I don't know what you will find as you are no longer on an Interstate highway.

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