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Author Topic: Great Lakes road trip  (Read 1059 times)

MantyMadTown

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Great Lakes road trip
« on: March 27, 2018, 04:14:56 PM »

My brother and I were planning to go on a Great Lakes road trip, maybe some weekend in October, where we visit all five of the Great Lakes in one day. I first got inspiration for it while looking at blog posts of people from Michigan and Ontario doing it, but I've never seen anyone from Wisconsin ever do it. So here's what we have planned:
  • We leave very early in the morning from Manitowoc, WI, maybe around like 5 or so (it's right on Lake Michigan so we already have that covered)
  • Drive up to Munising, MI (Lake Superior)
  • Cross the Mackinac Bridge and go down to Bay City (Lake Huron)
  • Cross the Canadian border and drive to Learnington, ON (Lake Erie)
  • Drive up to St. Catherines (Lake Ontario)
Then we would stay at a hotel somewhere around Niagara Falls, and visit Niagara Falls and Detroit the next day.
So far it seems like a solid plan, even though we haven't booked anything yet (we still need to get our passports as well!), but is there any advice you would like to give for these kinds of road trips so we can make the most of it? It's a 14 hour drive on the first day and I don't want to get fatigued.

Edit: This summer we decided to hold off on the trip until next year. We're not going until the last week of September/first week of October 2019.
« Last Edit: October 02, 2018, 12:44:18 AM by MantyMadTown »
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OracleUsr

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Re: Great Lakes road trip
« Reply #1 on: March 27, 2018, 09:11:34 PM »

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GaryV

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Re: Great Lakes road trip
« Reply #2 on: March 28, 2018, 07:38:05 PM »

Consider taking an extra day, going from Manitowoc to Munising first.  Then the rest of your itinerary on you full-day - you get both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron as you go across the Bridge.  You'll save nearly 4 hours on your full-day trip.

Take the "long route" via US-2 and M-94 to Munising, and you can stop off at Fayette St Park (historical iron town) and Big Spring at Palms Brook St Park.  And in Munising, you can take the Pictured Rocks boat tour, or drive into the PR National Lakeshore.
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MantyMadTown

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Re: Great Lakes road trip
« Reply #3 on: March 29, 2018, 01:41:04 AM »

Consider taking an extra day, going from Manitowoc to Munising first.  Then the rest of your itinerary on you full-day - you get both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron as you go across the Bridge.  You'll save nearly 4 hours on your full-day trip.

Take the "long route" via US-2 and M-94 to Munising, and you can stop off at Fayette St Park (historical iron town) and Big Spring at Palms Brook St Park.  And in Munising, you can take the Pictured Rocks boat tour, or drive into the PR National Lakeshore.

That sounds like a good idea but the plan was to try to visit all five lakes in one day. We were gonna visit some other destinations on our two days driving back, however.
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GaryV

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Re: Great Lakes road trip
« Reply #4 on: March 30, 2018, 06:35:13 AM »

Consider taking an extra day, going from Manitowoc to Munising first.  Then the rest of your itinerary on you full-day - you get both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron as you go across the Bridge.  You'll save nearly 4 hours on your full-day trip.

Take the "long route" via US-2 and M-94 to Munising, and you can stop off at Fayette St Park (historical iron town) and Big Spring at Palms Brook St Park.  And in Munising, you can take the Pictured Rocks boat tour, or drive into the PR National Lakeshore.

That sounds like a good idea but the plan was to try to visit all five lakes in one day. We were gonna visit some other destinations on our two days driving back, however.
You would get all 5 - start at Superior, get Michigan and Huron at Mackinac, then on to Erie and Ontario.
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MantyMadTown

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Re: Great Lakes road trip
« Reply #5 on: March 30, 2018, 05:56:20 PM »

Consider taking an extra day, going from Manitowoc to Munising first.  Then the rest of your itinerary on you full-day - you get both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron as you go across the Bridge.  You'll save nearly 4 hours on your full-day trip.

Take the "long route" via US-2 and M-94 to Munising, and you can stop off at Fayette St Park (historical iron town) and Big Spring at Palms Brook St Park.  And in Munising, you can take the Pictured Rocks boat tour, or drive into the PR National Lakeshore.

That sounds like a good idea but the plan was to try to visit all five lakes in one day. We were gonna visit some other destinations on our two days driving back, however.
You would get all 5 - start at Superior, get Michigan and Huron at Mackinac, then on to Erie and Ontario.

Honestly using the Straits of Mackinac sounds like taking the easy way out to me. I know Lake Michigan and Huron are connected through that strait, but at that location it essentially feels like they are both the same lake, instead of if you visit them at two separate locations. The only way starting at Munising would work would be if I drove down to Manistique to clinch Lake Michigan first.
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MNHighwayMan

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Re: Great Lakes road trip
« Reply #6 on: March 30, 2018, 06:47:50 PM »

Hydrologically speaking, Michigan and Huron are one lake.
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froggie

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Re: Great Lakes road trip
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2018, 08:55:55 PM »

I can understand the novelty of trying to reach all five in one day, but I'd rather experience more than just rushing around to reach them all.  I reached all five on my trip last summer, though it involved parts of three days on my vacation.

Your proposed itinerary is over 14 hours.  That's awfully long for just one day.  I'd suggest something similar to GaryV and *start* with Lake Superior.  Despite crossing the Mackinac Bridge (and the Straits of Mackinac), you'll legit get Lake Michigan and Lake Huron separately (via US 2 and Bay City, MI respectively) if you follow your itinerary but start at Munising, MI first (or another town along Lake Superior).  Also, by changing your endpoint from St. Catherines to Hamilton, you'll further save time (down to about 10 hours per the Goog) and you won't be quite as rushed...especially if you hit traffic or problems in Detroit or crossing the border.
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MantyMadTown

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Re: Great Lakes road trip
« Reply #8 on: March 31, 2018, 12:57:39 AM »

The reason why we chose St. Catherines is because it was close to Niagara Falls. And it's not that much farther of a drive than Hamilton.
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webny99

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Re: Great Lakes road trip
« Reply #9 on: April 20, 2018, 09:51:34 PM »

The reason why we chose St. Catherines is because it was close to Niagara Falls. And it's not that much farther of a drive than Hamilton.

The drive between the two is nauseating, though.
I hate that stretch of the QEW  :ded:
Hamilton is also a bit more interesting of a city... St Catharines is small and not very lively, though definitely more central.

I can't personally say I've ever been to all the Great Lakes in one day (or even one trip) but I've come home from Minnesota via Winconsin and the UP a few times, and I'd say it's doable in a day (albeit a very long day). What might be stretching it is to try to actually stop and see all the lakes. I do appreciate the novelty, though, and I think it's certainly a cool idea, and certainly possible, even if it will be pretty intense.

M 35 and US 2 are excellent roads. I would definitely say between the two you've "seen" Lake Michigan without needing an additional stop.
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Flint1979

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Re: Great Lakes road trip
« Reply #10 on: May 03, 2018, 01:45:17 AM »

I would start in Munising you've got Lake Superior that way. Then when you're crossing the Mackinac Bridge you've got both Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. But instead of going to Detroit I would go to Port Huron, you'll get a second look at Lake Huron and you can drive straight to St. Catherines, get Lake Ontario then drive down to either Port Colborne or Fort Erie to get Lake Erie.

I could never do that trip I'd be doing a lot of doubling back since I live in the middle of the Lower Peninsula.
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Beltway

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Re: Great Lakes road trip
« Reply #11 on: May 03, 2018, 06:32:21 AM »

My brother and I were planning to go on a Great Lakes road trip, maybe some weekend in October, where we visit all five of the Great Lakes in one day.

What do you do when you get there?  I think an important thing is to at least dip bare feet in the water when you first visit a major body of water.  I have done that with both Lake Erie and Ontario on the same day.   They are -cold- even in the summer.  You might not want to try that in the middle of winter!   I swam in Lake Michigan at Chicago as a child, and even in summer it is so cold that you have to go in an inch at a time.  All 5 lakes have many beaches.
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