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The Great Lakes Trail Self-Drive

17 days from £3,845pp

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

Itinerary highlights

  • Visit the rejuvenated cities of Detroit and Minneapolis - St. Paul.

  • Explore the enormous sand dunes at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

  • Go walking and cycling in car-free Mackinac Island.

  • Relish the tranquility and thriving wildlife in Isle Royale National Park.

  • Discover Wisconsin's pretty Apostle Islands.

Price includes

Scheduled international flights
Fully insured vehicle hire
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  • Detroit
  • Whitehall
  • Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
  • Mackinaw City
  • Mackinac Island
  • Mackinaw City
  • Marquette
  • Isle Royale National Park
  • Houghton County
  • Bayfield, Wisconsin
  • Minneapolis and St Paul

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 Detroit

International outbound flight , Detroit

Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Detroit. Arrive in Detroit and make your own way to your downtown hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax after your journey.

Day 2 Detroit


Spend a day exploring the car manufacturing city of Detroit which is enjoying rapid rejuvenation. Don't miss a visit to the fascinating nearby Henry Ford Museum.

Day 3 Whitehall

Detroit , Whitehall

Collect your hire car and drive through the heart of Michigan to the little town of Whitehall on Lake Michigan's east coast.


Day 4 Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Whitehall , Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore

Drive along the coast of Lake Michigan to Traverse City. There are some delightful state parks to visit on the way, many of which offer glorious coastal views.

Day 5 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 6 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 7 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 8 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 9 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 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.


Day 10 Isle Royale National Park

Marquette , Isle Royale National Park

Your drive takes you inland today, past the Huron Mountains, Baraga State Park and along the shore of Keweenaw Bay. Park your car and then take a thrilling seaplane flight from Houghton to Isle Royale National Park.

Day 11 Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park

Isle Royale National Park is the largest island in Lake Superior. Largely forested, this beautiful and isolated place is known for significant populations of wolves and moose, and is a haven for walkers, kayakers and wildlife enthusiasts. Enjoy a day breathing in the pure air and discovering this natural island gem.

Day 12 Bayfield, Wisconsin

Isle Royale National Park , Houghton County , Bayfield, Wisconsin

Return by seaplane to Houghton and then take the scenic drive past the Porcupine Mountains into Wisconsin. Your base for the next two nights is the village of Bayfield, ideally located for exploring the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore.


Day 13 Bayfield, Wisconsin

Bayfield, Wisconsin

Take a scenic cruise to the Apostle Islands that consist of 21 islands at the northern tip of Wisconsin. See extraordinary standing rocks, sea caves and lighthouses whilst also keeping a look out for deer, eagles and bears.


Day 14 Minneapolis and St Paul

Bayfield, Wisconsin , Minneapolis and St Paul

Leaving behind the shores of Lake Superior, head inland to the twin cities of Minneapolis - St. Paul.


Day 15 Minneapolis and St Paul

Minneapolis and St Paul

Spend a full day in Minneapolis - St. Paul. The cities are known for excellent shopping, restaurants and nightlife, but there are also great museums and sports venues to visit.


Day 16 International return flight

Minneapolis and St Paul , International return flight

Drop off your hire car prior to boarding your onward flight.

Day 17 International return flight

International return flight

Arrive home today to complete your journey.

Audley Travel specialist Monty
Audley Travel specialist Maddy

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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Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily Max Temperature Monthly Rainfall
Traverse City and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore
Mackinac Island
Isle Royale National Park
Minneapolis and St Paul

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