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Quick trip around Lake Michigan itinerary

Wichita, Kansas
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Quick trip around Lake Michigan itinerary

We are a family of 5 adults, taking a quick trip around Lake Michigan the first week in May. We are starting out in Chicago on Monday morning, May 6th and ending in northern Indiana late on Thursday, May 9th. After reading some forums, I have decided on the following itinerary:

Day 1 - drive to Pictured Rocks, see a few waterfalls and drive/hike around the area

Day 2 - drive to Soo Locks. Have lunch there, then head to Mackinac Island and stay overnight.

Day 3 - spend the morning at Mackinac Island, if needed, then head towards Traverse City, seeing sights along the way and check out Sleeping Bear Dunes.

Day 4 - drive on down to Indiana, stopping in Holland for the Tulip Festival on the way.

I realize that we won't have much time to do a whole lot, but we have never been to this area and see this as an exploritory trip for future trips to the area with more time later on. So, here are the questions:

- What waterfalls should/can we see at Pictured Rocks that are a quick walk?

- Should we skip the Soo Locks and head on over to Mac Island sooner? What do we absolutely need to do/see in Mac Island?

- I've been looking for a zipline tour for our family. We have never done one. Does anyone know of a good one that is open for the season during this time?

- What is the best driving route to see the sights traveling from Mac Island to TC? Is it best to stay in TC or somewhere else?

- Lastly, we will only have a few hours to take in the Tulip Festival. What are the things we should see or where should we go first to make the best of our time there?

Thank you.

MI
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for Ludington
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1. Re: Quick trip around Lake Michigan itinerary

Thats a LOT of driving and drive time for 4 days! Wow.......

Chicago
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2. Re: Quick trip around Lake Michigan itinerary

That's way too much driving. You aren't leaving yourself time to do much else. If you want to end up in northern Indiana consider staying on the Michigan side of the lake.

new jersey
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for Charlevoix, Michigan
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3. Re: Quick trip around Lake Michigan itinerary

I agree. I don't think it's a quick trip around Lake Michigan, I think this is a LONG trip around Lake Michigan. The towns, beaches and scenery around Lake Michigan are beautiful but seeing all of it from the window of a car is exhausting, frustrating and not satisfying, in my humble opinion. Instead, I would head east and north around the west side of Lake Michigan and enjoy a little bit of what the west side of the lower peninsula of Michigan has to offer. You could drive a long day the first day and end up on Mackinac Island then work your way south. Make sure to spend time at the Sleeping Bear Sand Dunes National Lakeshore. This will be a more rewarding trip, again, in my opinion. Even this plan is ambitious for only 4 days. Good luck and I hope you come back to beautiful Michigan when you have more time! Moms

Wichita, Kansas
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4. Re: Quick trip around Lake Michigan itinerary

Thank you all for your concerns and suggestions. We are used to lots of driving, and we are fully aware that we won't get much chance to savor Michigan to its fullest. It is an ambitious itinerary and kinda like a Chevy Chase vacation ;). Whoa, hopefully, things won't go that bad! Thanks momstravel for the alternative route idea to get the Mackinac Island.

Do you suggest that we take time to stop in Holland for the Tulip Festival? If so, what is the best things to see and do there if you only have a few hours? Or should we just proceed on up to Sleeping Bear and Mackinac?

Thanks, again?

Chicago's North...
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5. Re: Quick trip around Lake Michigan itinerary

no trip around lake michigan should be a quick one....

at any rate, if that's all the time you have, then your plan is doable.... i suppose for an exploratory trip, it's gonna have to do.... you could skip the SOO locks for this trip. mack island is worth a day trip---i wouldn't stay overnite as there's too much other awesome stuff to see around the big lakes....

here's what you should do:

leave chicago early and get up to pictured rocks. stop by big spring on the way up and perhaps piers gorge..... explore the sights in the vicinity of munising. stay the nite. get out early and drive east along H-58 and explore the sights along the way as the national park stretches a long ways along the coast.... time permitting, stop at tahq falls state park. either stay in the area (paradise town?), or head south towards mack island and stay the nite in st ignace... next morning, get out and cross the bridge and take the ferry out of mack city.... do the day trip---rent bikes and ride around the island..... if i'm not mistaken, i've seen people parasailing near mack island, so that might be something to look into if you don't find any ziplining outfits (the water will be cold).... that evening, head south towards traverse city... normally, i'd recommend taking the scenic coastal route, but you're short on time, so take the main highways.... stay in TC. next morning, beeline it straight to sleeping bear dunes... take the drive, explore the beaches etc... water will be too cold for swimming, but it's beautiful nonetheless.... that evening, head south towards holland... next day, do the festival, then head south to indytucky. as you may notice, my itinerary is clockwise.....no use going thru chicago more than you have to.... i'm not much into tulip fests, but if you wanna see it, go for it... if not, skip it and check out silver lake dunes, or perhaps saugatuck instead....

so, all in all, take your "quick trip" around the lake, and DEFINITELY plan to come back, and DEFINITELY plan more time: a week to 10 days is needed to do this trip properly.... just so you know, the northern portion of your trip will likely be cool/cold----they're having a VERY late spring this year (several feet of snow on the ground in places, and more on the way) and don't expect much vegetation to be leafed-out yet....

============================================

some links:

beachtowns.org

harborcountry.org

mackinacisland.org/http:/…lmct.html

http://www.michiganwines.com/

http://www.sleepingbeardunes.com/

http://www.nps.gov/piro/index.htm

http://www.uptravel.com/

www.travelwisconsin.com/Door_County.aspx

=============================

and a slide show of our trip last year:

…tripadvisor.com/tripwow/ta-064d-4778-84f0…

Edited: 11 April 2013, 01:02
Wichita, Kansas
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6. Re: Quick trip around Lake Michigan itinerary

Thanks so much for the great itinerary ideas! Thanks also for the heads up on the weather in the area that time of year.

Manistique, Michigan
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7. Re: Quick trip around Lake Michigan itinerary

A route from Pictured Rocks, Munising to St. Ignace could be taken by going down to Fayette Historic Town site which is part of the Fayette State Park on the Garden Peninsula and from there to St. Ignace.

The drive on Hwy 13, Forest Highway 13 is a nice ride. Also going down the Garden Peninsula is interesting.

The Fayette Historic Town site is in a beautiful bay.

…wikipedia.org/wiki/Fayette_Historic_State_P…

www.exploringthenorth.com/fayette/town.html

The link below is a google map link to the route

http://goo.gl/maps/v92fN

Cedarville, Michigan
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8. Re: Quick trip around Lake Michigan itinerary

Your itinerary is beyond crazy. You can get to northern Indiana by taking I-90 East from Chicago. On the Skyway bridge look to your left and you will see Lake Michigan, maybe even a freighter. This is a more sensible "scenic" trip than the one proposed. I don't know you so I will stop insulting you now.

Seriously, scrap your plans. Good suggestions have been made.

An interesting trip would be north to Milwaukee for a beer tour and brat then Lake Express car ferry to Muskegon. Explore Grand Haven, Holland, South Haven, Saugatuck, and St. Joseph.

Another option would be to drive up to Ludington on I-196 and US-31 and then track back down.

Traverse City and Upper Peninsula are just too far for a 4 day driving trip. Plan for 1 week each in UP and TC/Tip of the Mitt in the future.

Wichita, Kansas
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9. Re: Quick trip around Lake Michigan itinerary

I love getting these varied responses. We are checking into the possibility of each one. Thanks.

new jersey
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for Charlevoix, Michigan
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10. Re: Quick trip around Lake Michigan itinerary

Oh now, I like the Milwaukee over to Ludington then south trip! Good call Irish Yooper! For a taste of the larger dunes at Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, stop by Warren Dunes or the Silver Lake Sand Dunes instead. Nothing compares to the beauty of Sleeping Bear but these other dunes give you an idea of the magnificence and power of Lake Michigan!