The Great Lakes: Chicago, Green Bay, Detroit, Niagara Falls & More
- 15 Days
- 15 Days
- Prices From:
- US$ 2,650
MODERATE| SELF DRIVE: A terrific trip introducing you to four of the Great Lakes. From Chicago, north along the shores of Lake Michigan to the point where it meets Lake Huron. Down to Detroit along Lake Erie into Canada and Lake Ontario until you close the loop driving the southern shores of Lake Erie back to Chicago. Milwaukee, famous for brewing and Mackinac Island, steeped in history are stops enroute, as are Niagara Falls and Toronto. The Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland is worth a visit before returning to the ‘Windy City’.
This two-nation roundtrip 15-day self-drive journey starts and ends in Chicago, the Windy City. The tour skirts the Great Lakes, taking you to Chicago, Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Michigan, Toronto, Niagara Falls, Detroit, and back to The Windy City. Highlights include an architectural boat tour in Chicago, Hiawatha National Forest, the Henry Ford plant, Toronto’s CN Tower, and a boat ride to the foot of the Falls for a wet and wild perspective of one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
Start in Chicago, where you will tour the city’s harbour, visit Willis Tower, the second tallest building in North America, or check out incredible panoramas from 360 Chicago. Head out to Wisconsin’s largest city, Milwaukee. Rent a kayak or take a water tour along the lakefront of Lake Michigan, experience the city’s brewing heritage with a brewery tour, or visit the famous Harley Davidson Museum to view more than 450 Harley-Davidson motorcycles and thousands of interesting artifacts.
The green and natural environs of Green Bay, Wisconsin, beckon. Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary or the Green Bay Packers Hall of Fame are popular attractions. Continue to St. Ignace, then take a ferry to the magical resort island of Mackinac, Michigan. Book a horse and carriage ride (cars are prohibited on the island), take tea at the Fort Mackinac Tea Room, or gaze at the frothy-white 1887 Grand Hotel National Historic Landmark overlooking the glistening Straits of Mackinac.
Drive through Charlevoix to the Cherry Capital of the USA, Traverse City, then motor on to Detroit, the “Motor City.” Attractions here include the sandy beaches of Lake Michigan, shopping, and a myriad of dining experiences. Next, cross the Canadian border to Toronto. Sitting at the tip of Lake Ontario, the most eastern of the Great Lakes, this dynamic city boasts a mix of attractions. Shop funky Queen Street West, ferry to the Toronto Islands, soar to the CN Tower viewing platform, wander the Entertainment and Distillery Districts, or explore the more than two dozen world-class galleries of the Royal Ontario Museum, showcasing art, culture, and natural history (including a cool dinosaur exhibit).
One of the Seven Wonders of the World awaits in Niagara Falls and is sure to be one of your fondest memories. See the American and Horseshoe Falls from the shore, or get up close with a boat ride to the foot of the thundering Falls.
Head back across the border to Cleveland, Ohio, stopping at PresqueIsle State Park, a 3,200-acre sandy peninsula that offers sweeping coastline views and nearly 14 miles of gentle trails. In Cleveland, your choices are endless: the botanical gardens, the zoo, the Cleveland Museum of Natural History, Cuyahoga Valley National Park with its photogenic 65-foot Brandywine Falls, or the famed Rock & Roll Hall of Fame.
Spend your final tour days taking the scenic route back to Chicago along the Lake Erie Coastal Trail and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan. Upon arrival in Chicago, an evening of dining and music on the water’s edge at Navy Pier is the perfect wrap-up for your very water-oriented tour.
- 15 Days
- 15 Days
- Prices From:
- US$ 2,650
Itinerary View Trip Map
Arrive at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport and transfer independently to your hotel. Depending on your time of arrival you might have time to see a little bit of the city. Chicago has the nickname “The Windy City” but if you know the story behind its moniker, it has little to do with wind. The city is rightly renowned for its dramatic architecture and the ‘Chicago Loop’ is the famous and vibrant area where you see great architecture with delightful eateries, chic shops, and boutiques to boot. Apart from boasting some of the tallest buildings in the world, Chicago is proud of many excellent museums, delightful Lincoln and Millennium Park, and its world-famous deep-dish pizza.
Step outside today and experience mile after magnificent mile of the Windy City. Stroll the Lakefront. Take an architectural boat tour. Visit the second tallest building in North America, Willis Tower. Check out incredible panoramas from 360 CHICAGO. See mind-bending reflections of the city skyline at the "Bean" (Cloud Gate). Enjoy Buckingham Fountain's colorful light and music display as it glows against the skyline and lakefront or indulge in some cheesy goodness at one of Chicago's famous pizzerias. Whatever you choose, the Windy City will blow you away with the sheer number of things to see and do.
Chicago - Milwaukee
Departing Chicago, you head north to Wisconsin's largest city, Milwaukee, just 90 miles away. This friendly Midwestern city is a combination of cherished tradition and modern attitude. Built along the lakefront of Lake Michigan with the Milwaukee River weaving through downtown, excursion boats and kayaks beckon one to get out on the water. Experience the city's brewing heritage on a brewery tour, or explore one-of-a-kind attractions like the Milwaukee Art Museum, Miller Park, and the world's only Harley-Davidson Museum.
Milwaukee - Green Bay
Today it's on to Green Bay, Wisconsin's oldest community. With Lake Michigan serving as the city's north border, Green Bay is defined by its natural surroundings. Explore nature while learning the importance of preserving natural landscapes with a visit to Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary. Railway buffs will be in seventh heaven when visiting the National Railroad Museum, one of the oldest and largest museums dedicated to the country's rich railroad heritage. And for those with a passion for NFL football, a visit to the Green Bay Packer's Hall of Fame at Lambeau Field is a must.
Overnight Green Bay
Green Bay - Hiawatha National Forest - St. Ignace
Offering stunning views of the shoreline, today's scenic drive along the northwestern coast of Lake Michigan takes you through Hiawatha National Forest and Manistique enroute to St. Ignace. Known as the "Gateway to the Upper Peninsula", St. Ignace is where the great waters of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan meet. Enjoy a stroll along the Huron Boardwalk for a taste of pure Michigan, and savor a slower, simpler lifestyle in this area filled with blue waters, green forests, and incredible places of discovery.
Overnight St. Ignace
St. Ignace - Mackinac Island - St. Ignace
Take a ferry to the timeless resort island of Mackinac - the jewel of the Great Lakes - where cars are prohibited, and bicycles and horse-drawn carriages rule the roads. Visit Fort Mackinac, located on a bluff overlooking the entrancing Straits of Mackinac, and enjoy the view from the porch of the Grand Hotel. Drive your own buggy along the shoreline or rent a bike and explore over 70 miles of natural and paved trails. Whatever you choose, the beauty and history of Mackinac will captivate you. Return to St. Ignace in the late afternoon.
Overnight St. Ignace
St. Ignace - Traverse City - Detroit
Crossing the Mackinac Bridge that connects Michigan's Upper and Lower Peninsula over the Straits of Mackinac, make your way south through Petoskey, one of the most beautiful regions in the state, and Charlevoix, to the Cherry Capital of the U.S - Traverse City. From here it's on to the "Motor City." Once known as the "Paris of the West," Detroit acquired the nickname "Motor City" because of its longstanding recognition as the historic heart of the American automotive industry.
Whether you want to spend your day inside at a museum or play all day on the lake, there's plenty of things to do in Detroit. At the Ford Piquette Avenue Plant, visitors can take a step back in time and gain a first-hand look at the birthplace of the 1909 Model T automobile, while at The Henry Ford, you discover America’s culture, inventions, people, and can-do spirit. There's also a Riverwalk, awesome art galleries, Motown's first recording studio, beautiful beaches, shopping meccas and excellent dining.
Detroit - Toronto
Today, an early start is recommended to cross the U.S./Canada border into Ontario today to ensure you have plenty of time to explore Toronto with its diverse neighbourhoods which make it one of the most cosmopolitan cities in North America. Little Italy, Greektown, Chinatown, Queen Street West, Kensington Market are just some of the areas worth exploring.
Spend the day exploring Toronto's top attractions. Enjoy spectacular views from the top of the CN Tower. Delve into the depths of The Royal Ontario Museum, the biggest museum of world cultures and natural history in Canada or stroll through The Distillery Historic District. Step back in time to a period of European elegance and splendor with a visit to Casa Loma or hop on a ferry and embark on a journey to Toronto Island where along the water you'll find awesome beaches and summer cottages from the 1920s. The city’s culinary scene embraces cuisines from all over the world, its nightlife is vibrant and there’s theatres, galleries, and music clubs galore.
Toronto - Niagara Falls
Just an hour-and-a half drive from Toronto one of the Seven Wonders of the World awaits. Packed with attractions, dining and adventure, Niagara Falls offers a vast array of activities. Zip to the top of Skylon Tower for the best view around, and in the evening get a different view of the Falls with the nightly illumination and seasonal fireworks.
Overnight Niagara Falls
During a full day at the Falls there’s many things to consider. Naturally, you should take a stroll along Table Rock to view the thundering waters of the Horseshoe Falls or take a ride aboard Hornblower Niagara Cruises. Their ‘Voyage to the Falls’ takes you as close as possible to the Canadian Horseshoe Falls. You can also stop by Niagara-on-the-Lake, a short drive away and known for its wineries and the summer Shaw Festival, an internationally knows series of theatre productions. The picturesque flower-filled, tree-lined old town features 19th-century buildings along delightful Queen Street. Alternatively, you might opt to visit the Skylon Tower, hovering 775 feet above the Niagara gorge or let Lady Luck tempt you at one of the many impressive casinos.
Overnight Niagara Falls
Niagara Falls - Cleveland
If you fancy a beach break while enroute to Cleveland, we recommend stopping at Presque Isle State Park. As Pennsylvania's only ‘seashore,’ this 3,200-acre sandy peninsula offers beautiful coastline views and nearly 14 miles of scenic trails along Presque Isle Bay and Lake Erie. A culturally diverse city on the shores of Lake Erie, Cleveland has all the attractions and excitement needed for a fun-filled adventure.
The Great Lakes Science Centre is a museum and fantastic educational facility with permanent as well as travelling exhibits. Music fans, of course, are bound to visit the world-famous Rock’n’Roll Hall of Fame.
Cleveland - Chicago
Leaving Cleveland, you can choose to add a few hours to your day by driving along two different Great Lake shores, stopping at Marblehead Lighthouse along the Lake Erie Coastal Trail and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan, or you can drive straight through miles of cornfield back to Chicago. The choice is yours, but we recommend taking the scenic route. Upon arrival in Chicago, head to Navy Pier for an evening of dining and entertainment. This is the perfect spot to spend your last evening overlooking Lake Michigan.
Make your way to Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport for your flight home unless you plan to extend your stay in the area.
Daily departures: April 1 - October 31, 2023
- 15 days Intermediate Car Rental with unlimited mileage (Mazda 3 or similar)
- Detailed day by day itinerary
- 2 nights moderate accommodations in Chicago
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Milwaukee
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Green Bay
- 2 nights moderate accommodations in St. Ignace
- 2 nights moderate accommodations in Detroit
- 2 nights moderate accommodations in Toronto
- 2 nights moderate accommodations in Niagara Falls
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Cleveland
- 1 night moderate accommodations in Chicago
- Car rental insurance
- Travel insurance
- International and domestic airfare & airfare taxes
- Entrances fees to sites not explicitly listed as included
- Meals and beverages not mentioned
- Road tolls
- Items of a personal nature
- Visa fees if applicable
- Walk or run in Central Park
- Gaze at Chicago’s Willis Tower, one of the tallest buildings in North America
- Stroll the Lakefront or take an architectural boat tour in the Windy City
- Explore nature in Wisconsin and enjoy stunning views of the shoreline, driving along the coast of Lake Michigan
- Refresh your spirits in the waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron at St. Ignace
- Take a ferry to Mackinac Island and step into a world filled with the charm of a Victorian village (optional)
- Follow Cherry Orchards Drive along the shores of Lake Michigan
- Discover Detroit, the automobile capital of America also known as “Motor City”
- Explore cosmopolitan Toronto, Canada’s largest city
- Feel the thundering roar and tremendous power of Niagara Falls’ waters, one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
- Unplug and recharge as you pass through Indiana Amish Country, where life blends seamlessly with today’s mix of commerce and community
TERMS AND CONDITIONS:
Prices are "from" per person based on twin/double share accommodation and for travel in low season. Seasonal surcharges and blackout dates may apply. Limited seat/spaces and all pricing is subject to change and availability. Rates for single or triple travellers are available on request. Additional terms and conditions apply for car rental - please inquire.
1 Oct 2023