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  1. Default Northern VA road trip to Mackinack Island

    Hi, I am new to this thread. Our family is going on a road trip to Mackinack Island this summer. We live in Northern VA, anyone made the trip from there? We are wondering what the best places to stop and see while driving. We are also deciding if we want to make the trip in an RV. Wondering if there are good RV parks to stop on route. Any advice would be appreciated! Thanks!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Some Very Basic Thoughts

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    We'll give you all the help we can, but understand that we simply don't believe in a list of "best places to stop and see". What you stop and see will depend on what your interests are, not ours. So until we know what interests you, we really can't suggest specific stops.

    With that said, I will note a few things. First, it's going to take essentially two full days to make the trip one way. That's if you take the most direct Interstate route through Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Ann Arbor and Saginaw. Note that that route would also entail some hefty tolls on an RV, more so if it has a double rear axle. If you have more than two days available to make the trip (each way), then you can look at taking some slower, but still four lane, non-Interstate routes. You could also consider going through Canada (passports required) on one of the legs, by way of Niagara Falls.

    As for where to stop overnight, that will depend on your final choice of route and pace, but as a rule-of-thumb state parks usually offer good natural settings at a moderate price. Commercial 'campgrounds' can sometimes be little more than parking lots with trees built around a convenience store, and yes I know my prejudices are showing.

    My wife and I are planning a RoadTrip between St. Louis and the Mackinaw City area via Lansing for next spring, so I have done a fair bit of research on possible things to see and do, but again those are sites that appeal to us and might not be your cup of tea. So the more you can tell us about how you see your trip unfolding, the more help we can be.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Southern California


    Welcome to RTA!

    We love to help with trips like this, but a little more information is needed in order to make good recommendations that might be useful.

    First, how long do you have for the trip? Do you own the RV already or were you planning to rent? What kinds of places do you enjoy visiting? There are thousands of places between northern VA and Mackinac Island, MI, so being able to narrow them down for you would be helpful.

    If you were planning to rent an RV, thinking it might be a less expensive way to travel, you may want to reconsider. The cost of renting, plus all the different "packages" that you may want/need to consider (linen package, cookout package), is not cheap. Add to that, overnights at $20-55/night (or more, in a tourist area). It might make your average motel room and restaurants seem a bit more reasonable! (I say this as an ex-RV'er. We gave it up when the combined storage fees, repairs, and overnights were higher than the costs of motels & restaurants. I love the lifestyle, though, and often miss my RV kitchen.)


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin


    It's worth noting that cars are not allowed on Mackinac Island, so if you're planning to spend a few days on the island, you're either not going to be able to use the RV while you're there, or you're going to have to ferry on and off the island every day (at a cost of about $20 per person for each round trip).

  5. Default

    If you can afford an RV, I highly recommend that you instead spend the money staying three or more nights on Mackinac Island.

    I love staying at the Island House Hotel; its location is perfect; near but not in town. Be sure to rent some bikes and ride around the entire island. Going down the center is also very interesting. There are also many Geocaches on the island which are great fun to do. The island deserves at least two full days of your time.

    A very popular spot is the German town of Frankenmuth Michigan, especially Bronner's; a mamouth Christmas store with lots of displays and things to see inside and outside. Enjoy walking around the city and eat at Zehnders or Bavarian Inn. Both are famous for their chicken dinners but the Bavarian Inn also has German dishes.

    If you have time, spend a full day in Dearborn at Greenfield Village and the Henry Ford Museum. Ride in a Model T, a steam locomotive, or a horse drawn wagon. They also run buses to the F150 assembly plant.

    Along Lake Erie you'll find Cedar Point, the roller coaster capital of the world. An hour further you can board ferry boats to hectic Put-in-bay and laid back Kelly's Island.

    Well, those are some of MY favorites.

  6. Default

    I envy you. I havenít been to Maxkinac island in over 40 years so would love to visit again. I canít help you with RV or extensive road experience like the experts here but can talk about getting out of No.Va to head west. We use to do it to Indiana. First off, avoid the Beltway and I-95 totally. Go out to Leesburg and pick up Rt 15 north to Frederick, Md then I-70 west to Hancock and pick up I-68 west. It also avoids the PA Turnpike. Then, a favorite rest stop for us was Sideling Hill soon after you get onto 68. Itís the cut through the mountain. Great views, an interesting exhibit about the area, and for us it was about two hours into the trip so a great place to get out and stretch. Hereís a link I found on it, Enjoy your trip. Thereís a lot of good advice here. Iíve been hooked on RTA ever since I discovered it.

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