A week touring the Great Lakes of North America

Published on 

A week touring the Great Lakes of North America

Set off from Chicago and hit the highway to the Great Lakes for a stunning break amidst nature. The magnificent Midwest region invites you to take a trip of a lifetime.

A week touring the Great Lakes of North America

Day 1: A city break before escaping to nature

When you arrive in the United States' third largest city, a taxi will take you to The Willows Hotel, nestled in a pretty street in the Lakeview neighbourhood. You are plunged into the cosy atmosphere of this small and friendly boutique hotel. With its big leather armchairs and fireplaces, the place immediately envelops you in the peaceful ambiance of the America of lakes and coniferous forests.

You have chosen the U.S. Midwest to recharge your batteries. In the Windy City, there are so many beaches that the region is nicknamed the U.S.'s Third Coast. You now decide to go and get some air on Oak Street Beach, one of the city's most attractive beaches. You will find many an intense game of chess being played out on the beach. Make your way over the fine sand and dip your toes in the cool water, among the swimmers. Towering above the beach, an impressive skyscraper cityscape unfolds. Take a last look at the city's grandeur before embarking on your journey into the heart of nature.

The Willows
555 W Surf St
Chicago
IL 60657
United States of America
+1 773-528-8400
willowshotelchicago.com

Oak Street Beach
Chicago
IL 60657
United States of America

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A week touring the Great Lakes of North America

Day 2: Driving along Lake Michigan

Having picked up your car, head north out of the city. A sense of freedom comes over you as you drive along Lake Michigan. One of the five Great Lakes of North America, it stretches out as far as the eye can see. After driving for four hours, the lighthouses of Door County pop up one after the other at the side of the road. The vista opens up over the cliffs of Eagle Bluff and Horseshoe Island, an island of that very shape, facing the shoreline.

Stop off at Ephraim. Sheltered in a small bay, this pleasant port and village makes a perfect base to explore the surrounding natural delights. Your bed for the next two nights is at the Eagle Harbor Inn. You will feel right at home in this Victorian hotel with its New-England-style charm. There are a welcome indoor pool and sauna in the grounds too. Take a stroll past the white wooden houses, a reminder of the village's Scandinavian heritage. Some restaurants, such as the Old Post Office Restaurant with its views over the lake, still serve fish boil, created in the 19th century by migrants from northern Europe.

Eagle Harbor Inn
9914 Water Street S
Ephraim
WI 54211
United States of America
+1 920-854-2121
www.eagleharborinn.com/

Old Post Office Restaurant
10040 Water Street
Ephraim
WI 54211
United States of America
+1 920-854-4034
www.oldpostoffice-doorcounty.com/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A week touring the Great Lakes of North America

Day 3: Crystal-clear waters and kayaking

Door County does in fact open the doors to its protected landscapes. This peninsula is home to more natural parks than any other region in the United States. You have set your sights on Washington Island, so head to Northport Pier, at the tip of the peninsula. A ferry will take you over to this tiny isolated paradise in next to no time. From there, make your way to Schoolhouse Beach. As you turn a bend in the road, this surreal site sweeps into view, and it is even better in the morning with few visitors. You come face to face with a huge beach of white pebbles stretching into the distance. This spectacular cove glistens with crystal-clear waters. You will soon be slipping into your swimsuit and taking a heavenly swim! Sit at a picnic table on the edge of the beach in the shade of the forest, and simply soak up the scene.

On your way back down the peninsula, call into the Door County Kayak Tours agency in Jacksonport. Next up is a kayak excursion to discover the delights of Cave Point County Park. After paddling along the indented coastline, you will come to millennia-old caves that are only accessible from the sea. Do not forget to look up as well, as bald eagles can sometimes be seen gliding above the area. Your kayak ensures you get the best spot to admire the creeks of Whitefish Dunes State Park.

Schoolhouse Beach
Washington Island
Wisconsin
United States of America

Door County Kayak Tours
Jacksonport
6329 WI-57
United States of America
+1 920 355-2925
www.doorcountykayaktours.com/cave-kayak-tour/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A week touring the Great Lakes of North America

Day 4: Cycling along Lake Superior

Goodbye Wisconsin, hello Michigan! After a five-hour drive, some of it through dense forest, the charming university town of Marquette welcomes you to the shores of Lake Superior. In the middle of the lovely brick facades of the historic centre, you will find the Landmark Inn. In this traditional hotel, choose a room overlooking the port. Make sure you head up to the bar on the sixth floor to admire the views. The largest fresh water lake in the world, covering 82,350 square kilometres, it stretches over the border and into Canada.

After lunch at the hotel's pub, rent a bike and explore the wooded peninsula of Presque Isle Park, located five kilometres from Marquette. Cycle along the panoramic Peter White Drive to the eastern end of the park. There, you can climb up to the top of the sandstone cliffs, a fantastic viewpoint to take in the creeks gouged out of the rock. Your bike ride continues along a pine-lined avenue, where you may come across a friendly white-tailed deer. Get ready for a moment of absolute serenity when you get to Sunset Point as the colours and shades of the sky are reflected in the waters, against the backdrop of the Huron Mountains.

Landmark Inn
230 N Front St
Marquette
MI 49855
United States of America
+1 906-228-2580
www.thelandmarkinn.com/

Presque Isle Park
Michigan
United States of Americav

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A week touring the Great Lakes of North America

Day 5: An air of yesteryear on Mackinac Island

The road to Lake Huron, three hours to the east, offers stunning views of its beaches and their limpid waters. You will not be able to resist a dip before continuing on to St.Ignace. After this wholesome swim, leave your car in the car park and board the ferry for Mackinac Island. You step off the boat into one of the most popular destinations in Michigan. As motorised vehicles are prohibited, the star attraction is a ride on horseback or in a horse-drawn carriage – just like in the good old days.

An air of romanticism wafts through the streets of the town centre lined with Victorian houses. Rose and her husband offer a warm welcome at the Cottage Inn, their bed and breakfast accommodation located in a small street, a stone's throw from the lively Market Street. Stroll among the old and superbly restored buildings and visit one of the famous fudge shops that make this soft, crumbly sweet with caramel, nut, peanut butter and chocolate flavours. At Original Murdick's Fudge, for example, you might even get the chance to watch the confectioners at their work. Armed with wide spatulas, these fudge experts vigorously stretch and knead the sweet paste to shape the tasty treats you then get to sample.

Cottage Inn of Mackinac
7267 Market St
Mackinac Island
MI 49757
United States of America
+1 906-847-4000
www.cottageinnofmackinac.com

Original Murdick's Fudge
7363 Main St
Mackinac Island
MI 49757
United States of America
+1 906-847-3530
www.originalmurdicksfudge.com/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A week touring the Great Lakes of North America

Day 6: Geological wonders of Lake Huron

A hearty breakfast of quiche, yogurt and blueberry cake will set you up to take on the active day ahead. Hiking boots on, stock up on supplies and water before setting off to explore Mackinac Island State Park. The island's fort can be found at the heart of the park. Visiting the fort takes you back to the days when Europeans first settled in the Great Lakes area. To sum up a history lesson: long occupied by native Americans, both sides in the War of Independence wanted to get their hands on the island due to its strategic commercial position. Only the fort, built in 1780, survived the conflict.

Walk along the coastal path used by cyclists to reach Arch Rock. Climb the 207 steps to admire this geological wonder. A stunning limestone arch is there to meet you high above Lake Huron. This natural phenomenon was formed by the action of waves in a long-ago era when the level of the water was much higher. Linger for a while and feel the energy of the place. Your excursion continues along the wooded trails of the park. In the cool forest with its intense scents, find your own little corner for a picnic and watch the glorious sunset.

Mackinac Island State Park
Michigan
United States of America
+1 231-436-4100
www.mackinacparks.com/

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

A week touring the Great Lakes of North America

Day 7: A gourmet break before your return

Next morning, the ferry will take you back to St.Ignace for your return journey to Chicago. Stop off at Traverse City to break your journey and relax on one of its beaches, with full amenities, on the shores of Lake Michigan. For lunch, find a table at the gastronomic Boathouse Restaurant, with its exquisite views over the port of the small town. In this bright and airy setting, savour local produce such as Great Lakes whitefish served with shredded crab, sundried tomatoes and artichoke. Your taste buds will rejoice with such a surprising combination of flavours.

After your meal, you have another five hours on the road to take in this awesome, monumental landscape, the star of the Great Lakes of North America, one last time.

Boathouse Restaurant
14039 Peninsula Dr
Traverse City
MI 49686
United States of America
+1 231-223-4030
www.boathouseonwestbay.com/