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Classic Great Lakes Self-Drive Tour

14 days from £3,095pp

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Tour 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.

14 days from £3,095pp

Price includes:

  • Scheduled international flights
  • Fully insured vehicle hire
  • All accommodation
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Travel that's shaped around you

We know that travel has the most meaning when it's created individually for you. Our specialists will only start designing your trip once they understand exactly what you want it to be. So, consider this idea simply as inspiration for your own experience.

Itinerary idea in detail

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

  • Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Chicago. Arrive in Chicago and make your own way to your city accommodation, where you will spend the next two days.

  • Upon arrival, make your way to your hotel which is located in the heart of the city. The rest of the evening is yours to enjoy.

  • Collect your hire car and 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.

  • Spend a day exploring Milwaukee including the Pabst Theater, 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.

  • Leaving Milwaukee, drive along the Door Peninsula to the little town of Ephraim. This scenic peninsula has 482 km (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.

  • From Ephraim, drive along Highway 41, a scenic road that hugs Green Bay and passes through the Escanaba River State Forest and Hiawatha National Forest to Marquette, a town well-loved for its outdoor activities.

  • 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 birdlife. 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.

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • This morning, take the ferry back to the mainland and return to your car. Drive south along Lake Michigan, hugging Grand Traverse Bay as you go. Arrive in Sleeping Bear Dunes and explore for a couple of hours before retreating to your room overlooking the Crystal River and Lake Michigan.

  • 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.

  • Drive south along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan to Saugatuck. You may wish to stop at Ludington State Park and the little town of Manistee on the way for lovely views over Lake Michigan. You might also like to stop at Saugatuck Dunes State Park.

  • After leaving Saugatuck, take the two and a half hour drive along the shore of Lake Michigan back to Chicago. Drop off your hire car prior to boarding your onward flight.

  • Arrive home today to complete your journey.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodation, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

Audley Travel specialist Victoria

Contact a the USA 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.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
July is one of the best times to visit
Place Daily max temperature (°C) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Chicago
 
Milwaukee
 
Door Peninsula
 
Marquette
 
Mackinac Island
 

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