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Help with tweaking final itinerary

Wabash
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Help with tweaking final itinerary

Looking for suggestions to tweak itinerary for a road trip. Don't want to dawdle too much, but don't want to be rushed to fit everything in our itinerary. We enjoy scenic views, short hikes, good (reasonably priced) food, wine, shopping, etc.

Day 1 Drive from home in Indiana to Mackinaw City. Couple of hours to explore before we go to 6:00 pm Mass. (Or we could skip this overnight in MC, and just come up the following day as originally planned and take an afternoon ferry to the island. Have reservations for two nights on the island.)

Day 2 & 3 10:00 am ferry to Mackinac Island. Plan to do the normal stuff on the island: carriage ride, tour the Fort and the Grand Hotel; shops, use the walkways around the island. We're not bike riders, but are in reasonable shape for retirees, and enjoy walking. How busy will it be if we take our Grand Hotel tour on a Sunday?

Day 4 10:00 am ferry back to MC. Drive to Tahquamenon Falls. Drive takes approx. 1-1/2 hrs, but not sure how long to plan on spending there. Next, drive to Munising (approx. 2 hrs) for Pictured Rocks Want to take the boat cruise, but would we be rushing to get on the 5:45 pm sunset cruise, or would it be better to plan on the 10 AM cruise the following morning? Overnight Munising.

Day 5 Unless on the sunset cruise the evening before, after taking the 10 AM boat cruise, drive back to Mackinac City for another overnight. (Unless there is somewhere closer to Cross Village to stay overnight.)

Day 6 Tunnel of trees scenic drive with stops along the way. Also want to spend time in Petoskey and Charlevoix. Overnight in Traverse City for 2 or 3 nights.

Day 7 Sleeping Bear Dunes (how much time should we plan to spend here?)

Day 8 Spend time in Traverse City (there is some sort of festival-- I think and art fair, as well as Taste of TC) Time permitting in afternoon, drive up Old Mission Peninsula to enjoy scenery and stopping a couple of wineries. If we don't spend the 3rd night here, we'd still be able to spend some time in TC before leaving around 2:00 PM for home.

Day 9 If staying 3rd night in Traverse City, we'll be driving home this day. (Will take about 6 hours and will be driving through Grand Rapids back to Indiana. Is there anywhere along the way where we should plan a short stop?)

Do we need to be extra cautious about any hazards along the way? (Bears, snakes, etc) Starting our trip the weekend after Labor Day, so hoping bugs won't be bothersome.

We love Michigan, but so far we've only been as far north as Holland on the west side of the state. We're really looking forward to this trip and hoping it doesn't rain, especially for the falls and Pictured Rocks. Don't mind chilly temps, and I'm sure we'll enjoy our trip whatever the weather.

Thank you.

Petoskey, Michigan
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1. Re: Help with tweaking final itinerary

A few thoughts....I think your trip up to Day 5 sounds good. Day 6 however, is pushing it a little. You need several hours to do the Tunnel of Trees and stop in Good Hart and then stop in Harbor Springs for lunch. You can then do Petoskey for shopping in the Gaslight District and do cruise through Bay Harbor on the way to Charlevoix. I'd even recommend staying overnight in Charlevoix. By the way, Sleeping Bear Dunes is south of Traverse City, so you might need to make that Day 8. My personal opinion is Traverse City is okay for one night, or use it as a base and go to the Leelanau Pennisula - must see Leland! You are correct that a drive up Mission Pennisula is nice, but not a must in my opinion. You might consider staying at Crystal Mountain for your last night. Check it out.

Little Rock
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2. Re: Help with tweaking final itinerary

When are you taking this trip? Time of year will depend on how crowded everything is.

http://www.crossinthewoods.com/

On your day #1, if you want to attend a unique mass, you can go to The Cross in the Woods (formally the Catholic Shrine) in Indian River Michigan. It is about 25 miles south of Mac. city and 18 miles east of the Harbor Springs / Petoskey area.

Other than that I would say Dre has good suggestions ... definitely stop in at Legs Inn (Cross Village / top of Tunnel of Trees), Harbor Springs (bottom of Tunnel of Trees), and stop in at Bay Harbor (between Petoskey & Charlievoix).

Williamston...
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3. Re: Help with tweaking final itinerary

On day 4, you can do the Tahquamenon Falls pretty quickly if you like. There are the upper falls and the lower falls, and you can drive between them in probably under 15 minutes. Don't try the hike between them, that'll eat up a lot of your time. Assuming you spend about 30 minutes at each site and toss in a lunch there, you're looking at a couple of hours. If you leave by 2:00, you should make it in plenty of time for the 5:45 cruise. You want to get there about an hour and a half before departure time, both to make sure you get a ticket, and also to line up to get the best seats on the boat (you want to sit on the right side on the way out). Try for the sunset cruise because the setting sun will cast a nice glow on the rocks. You aren't probably going to get that with a morning cruise.

On day 7, Sleeping Bear Dunes is basically a half hour drive west of Traverse City. You can probably get your fill of it in about 4 hours. If you're up for some water activity, there's a place a bit to the south where they rent canoes so you can go canoeing on the gentle and shallow Platte River. In any case, you should still have plenty of time to come back to Traverse City for dinner.

If you are going through Grand Rapids, then you really need to make a visit to the Fredrik Meijer Gardens. There's nothing quite like it and can probably be done in 3 hours.

Don't worry about bears. Yes, they do live in Michigan, but I'd be really shocked if you encountered one at any of the places you're going. As for snakes, you probably won't see many, especially if you make a lot of noise while walking. If you do see one, 99% of the time it's just a harmless garter snake.

SOUTH FLORIDA
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4. Re: Help with tweaking final itinerary

Sorry steeler fan transport for asking my question on your site but we will be doing a similar road trip beginning Sept 8. Will be staying in Munising on Sept 15 and could therefore do either the 10am cruise or the sunset cruise at Pictured Rocks. Just wondering everyone's opinion on which is best. Didn't know when it will actually get dark that time of year which obviously would effect the scenery.

Edited: 24 August 2013, 16:07
Wabash
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5. Re: Help with tweaking final itinerary

No problem, bevsouthflorida. The departure times change accordingly. For Sept 10th when we're there, the 2-1/2 hr sunset cruise leaves at 5:45. According to the chart I looked at, for Grand Rapids the sun officially sets at 8:01 that day, so we'd be getting back at dusk, and the main viewing of the rocks would be in the earlier portion of the cruise. Looks like it will set at 7:52 on the 15th. With pictured rocks being slightly further west, that would make sunset a few minutes later there.

Wabash
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6. Re: Help with tweaking final itinerary

Thanks everyone for the great suggestions and comments. If we don't make it to Cross in the Woods for 4:30 Mass on Saturday, we will definitely make it a stop on our way driving south.. Taking all of the comments into consideration, I've done some add't tweaking. We will plan on the sunset cruise at Pictured Rocks on day 4, overnight in Munising, and leave right after breakfast for day 5 to Cross Village, lunch at Legs Inn, tunnel of trees with stops, and overnight in Petoskey or Charlevoix. Day 6 we'll spend the morning in Charlevoix, and after lunch, we'll head to Traverse City which will be our base for the next two or three nights. I'm thinking we'd still have enough time on Day 6 to drive, at least part way, up Old Mission Peninsula. Day 7 will be spent exploring Sleeping Bear Dunes, taking scenic drive and picking up 22 in Glen Arbor. Should have time to travel this route all around Leelanau Peninsula with stops in Leland, Suttons Bay, etc, It will be a full day. Evening dinner in or near Traverse City. If we don't make it to the Fredrik Meijer Gardens this trip, we'll definitely plan on it the next time we go up to the Saugatuck area. The gardens are only 3-1/2 hour trip from our home so easily can be incorporated into another trip.

Thanks again everyone. I have been able to plan some pretty memorable vacations with he help of all of the locals and other travelers. TA has never let me down!

7. Re: Help with tweaking final itinerary

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