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Classic Great Lakes Self-Drive

16 days from £2,870pp

Includes flights
What is tailor made? Customised itinerary | Every trip is unique | Flexible accommodation options | Designed to your budget

Itinerary highlights

  • Visit the cosmopolitan city of Chicago.

  • Explore the tranquil shores of lakes Michigan and Superior.

  • Go walking or cycling on car-free Mackinac Island.

  • Look for wildlife in Michigan's unspoilt Upper Peninsula.

Price includes

Scheduled international flights
Fully insured vehicle hire
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  • Chicago
  • Whitehall
  • Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
  • Mackinaw City
  • Mackinac Island
  • Mackinaw City
  • Marquette
  • Green Bay
  • Door Peninsula
  • Milwaukee
  • Chicago

Itinerary idea in detail

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Includes international flights from a choice of UK airports, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

Day 1 Chicago

International outbound flight , Chicago

Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Chicago.

Day 2 Chicago


Spend the day exploring Chicago. Don't miss taking an architecture boat trip on the Chicago River to admire, and learn all about, Chicago's superb twentieth century buildings. This evening, perhaps take in a baseball game at Wrigley Field or enjoy this buzzing city's excellent restaurants and nightlife.

Day 3 Chicago


Enjoy another day in the 'windy city'. Visit 360 Chicago, one of the city's tallest buildings, for far-reaching views of Navy Pier, the beaches along Lake Michigan, and the buildings and shops of the Magnificent Mile. No visit is complete without seeing Cloud Gate, or simply 'the bean' in Millennium Park.

Day 4 Whitehall

Chicago , Whitehall

Collect your hire car and drive along the southern and eastern coasts of Lake Michigan to the little town of Whitehall. After leaving greater Chicago there are some lovely smaller settlements and places of interest to explore en route such as Saugatuck Dunes State Park.


Day 5 Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Whitehall , Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Drive north along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan to Traverse City, with the settlements getting smaller and more rural as you drive north. You may wish to stop at Ludington Sate Park and the little town of Manistee on the way for lovely views over Lake Michigan.

Day 6 Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Spend a full day exploring the amazing, and huge, sand dunes in Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. You may wish to take the ferry to the little islands of North and South Manitou or take the Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive. Other options include a visit to Grand Traverse Lighthouse or go wine tasting at some of the nearby wineries.

Day 7 Mackinac Island

Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore , Mackinaw City , Mackinac Island

Enjoy another scenic lake-edge drive today as you make your way to Mackinac Island. This coastline is dotted with small villages and pretty state parks. Park your car at Mackinaw City and then take the foot passenger ferry over to Mackinac Island. The afternoon is free to explore this car-free island.


Day 8 Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is a delightful natural retreat, with plenty of lovely walking and cycling paths affording magical sea views. Most of the island is a state park and transportation is confined to horse and carriage. Visit historic Fort Mackinac and the island's lovely limestone bluffs and emerald green forests.


Day 9 Marquette

Mackinac Island , Mackinaw City , Marquette

Return to your car and drive across the Straits of Mackinac to Marquette in Michigan's Upper Peninsula. This is a delightfully scenic drive through Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and past Munising Falls and Rock River Falls Canyon.


Day 10 Marquette


Michigan's Upper Peninsula is lightly populated and full of picturesque forests, lakes and mountains. Its many state parks are a haven for wildlife including black bears, wolves, and bird life. Moose in particular thrive in large numbers here. There is also a wide variety of outdoor activities to enjoy including wonderful walking trails, fishing, kayaking and mountain biking. Marquette itself offers two lake-side beaches and is a diving hotspot.


Day 11 Green Bay

Marquette , Green Bay

Head inland, away from Lake Superior, today as you drive south to Green Bay. You may wish to stop at Escanaba River State Park before crossing into Wisconsin. This afternoon explore the Green Bay Botanical Garden, visit Heritage Hill State Historical Park or take in a National Football League Green Bay Packers game.


Day 12 Door Peninsula

Green Bay , Door Peninsula

Leaving Green Bay, drive along the Door Peninsula to the little town of Ephraim. This scenic peninsula has 300 miles of shoreline, 11 lighthouses, and is known for its cherry and apple orchards. There are five state parks that provide opportunities for walking, cycling, swimming and fishing.


Day 13 Milwaukee

Door Peninsula , Milwaukee

Drive along the western shore of Lake Michigan to the city of Milwaukee. There is time this afternoon to explore this lakefront city and enjoy its resurgent shops, restaurants and nightlife.

Day 14 Milwaukee


Spend a day exploring Milwaukee including the Pabst Theatre, the Milwaukee Art Museum and the Greek Orthodox Church, designed by Frank Lloyd Wright. The highlight for many though is the Harley Davidson museum which celebrates over 100 years of these iconic motorcycles.

Day 15 International return flight

Milwaukee , Chicago , International return flight

Continue your drive south along the shore of Lake Michigan back to Chicago. Drop off your hire car prior to boarding your onward flight.

Day 16 International return flight

International return flight

Arrive home today to complete your journey.

Dave, an Audley Travel specialist
Audley Travel specialist George

Contact a specialist

The specialist who designs your trip to the USA will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip. Your dedicated specialist will take the time to understand your preferences and build them into an itinerary to match, working to your budget. He or she will keep perfecting it until you’re completely happy and ready to book.

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When to go

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Place Daily Max Temperature Monthly Rainfall
Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Mackinac Island
Green Bay
Door Peninsula

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