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Chicago, Illinois, USA. Route 66

Ultimate Guide to the Best places to visit in The Great Lakes Region

Dive in; From bustling cityscapes to serene shorelines.

Discover our Ultimate Guide to the Best places to visit in The Great Lakes Region. Whether you’re drawn to the iconic skyline of Chicago, the charming waterfronts of Milwaukee, or the picturesque islands scattered across the lakes, this road trip promises an unforgettable journey


1. Mackinac Island, Michigan

Visit the enchanting gem of Mackinac Island, a slice of vintage heaven that will transport you to a bygone era. Here, bikes and horse-drawn carriages rule the streets as cars are prohibited, great for a road trip, right? It’s certainly a quirky twist that makes it a perfect destination for a road trip adventure!

You can access the island in Lake Huron via ferry.

What to do on Mackinac Island? Check out the timeless elegance of the ‘Grand Hotel,’ or take a leisurely stroll through Mackinac’s botanical gardens, where nature unfolds its beauty in a serene oasis.

Top Tip… No visit to Mackinac Island is complete without indulging in the world-famous fudge!


2. Detroit, Michigan

Make a pit stop in the vibrant city of Detroit, Michigan, along your Road Trip around the Great Lakes. Known affectionately as the Motor City, Detroit is packed full of history, music, and innovation.

Don’t miss the Detroit Riverwalk, a scenic stretch along the waterfront offering stunning views of Canada and the city’s skyline.

What to do in Detroit? Immerse yourself in the soulful beats of Motown at the Motown Museum and delve into the fascinating history of innovation at the Henry Ford Museum. Consider a dinner cruise along the river, offering a front-row seat to Detroit’s best river views and a delightful culinary experience.

This classic city boasts a diverse array of eateries, each offering a unique flavor of its own. Don’t miss the chance to savour Detroit-style pizza, a local favorite that adds a delicious slice of authenticity to your road trip through the Great Lakes.

Detroit, Michigan, Great Lakes USA

Detroit, Michigan

3. Chicago, Illinois

Visit Chicago, Illinois, and discover the birthplace of electric blues and house music with a constant hum of jazz that travels on the wind. Enjoy one of America’s most iconic skylines as you take in the glistening glass skyline from the rooftop bars, relax with a cold craft brew or along a legendary riverboat cruise.

What’s in Chicago, Illinois? Relax in the green space of Millennium Park, supercharge shopping along the Magnificent Mile, and uncover the historic Navy Pier. The windy city is excellent for getting around on foot. There are 26 miles of uninterrupted lakefront, a trail to walk along, and 15 miles of sandy beaches.

What to do when Visiting Chicago? Take one of the many cruises that run along the river. Visit Cloud-Gate in Millennium Park. Also known as The Bean, it’s a mirrored sculpture and is a famous shot for your Instagram feed! 

Take a tour around Wrigley Field, one of the oldest ballparks in the nation; you may be lucky enough to catch a game! 

Discover the dynamic dining scene when you visit Chicago, and you must try a Chicago-style hotdog, of course! As you tour the city, you can’t miss the iconic sounds of Jazz music playing around every corner.

When is the best time to visit Chicago, Illinois? Whether you’re visiting in the hot summer or the chillier months through the winter, there’s a different adventure to be had, giving you a new experience of Chicago with each visit. Winter brings picturesque snow, and summers are undeniably hot; you can always find a cool spot by the lake. 

Click here to view our Road Trip Itineraries that explore Chicago…

Cloud Gate in Chicago, Route 66

‘Cloud Gate’ in Chicago

4. Cleveland, Ohio

Visit Cleveland, Ohio, one of the Best Places in The Great Lakes, on the cold shores of Lake Erie. Cleveland is home to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, West Side Market and the Annual Airshow. 

Where is Cleveland, Ohio? Set on the shores of Lake Erie, Cleveland is along the top perimeter of the United States. Visit Cleveland, Ohio, just 2 hours, 10 minutes drive from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, 2 hours 10 minutes from Columbus, Ohio, and 3 hours 20 minutes from the mighty Niagara Falls

What to do on your trip to Cleveland, Ohio? Rock out to music legends in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Start your day with a trip to the Cleveland Botanical Garden for peace in the urban sanctuary brimming with beautiful flowers. Next, you can visit Cedar Point Amusement park, the roller coaster capital of the world, for a whole collection of thrills!

Cleveland, Ohio, is museum central, with many free to enter. This includes the Cleveland Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Art (MOCA) and The Cleveland Museum of Natural History!

Sports fans will love Cleveland Pro Football Hall of Fame. Alternatively, play football in one of the 18 parks surrounding the area, referred to by locals as the “Emerald Necklace”!

Did you know… The classic Christmas film ‘A Christmas Story’ was filmed in Cleveland, Ohio, In the neighbourhood of Tremont. Interestingly, producers wanted the look of an old Indiana steel town in the ‘40s.

Click here to view our Road Trip Itineraries that explore Cleveland…

Cleveland, Ohio, USA skyline on the river

Cleveland, Ohio

5. Niagara Falls, New York

Niagara Falls is often at the top of peoples bucket lists! You will feel and hear the mighty rumble of this natural wonder before you see it, with a mighty mist that rises to fill the air between Canada and New York.

Where is Niagara Falls? One of the best places to visit in the East of the USA. Made up of three powerful waterfalls, Niagara Falls is divided over the Canada-America border. Two of the three falls are on the American side and ‘Horseshoe Falls’ is in Canada. You can view Niagara Falls from either side of the river, and with your passport, you can cross the border and witness another view of the falls.

What to do at Niagara Falls? On the American side, walkways and the observation tower reach out for a real feel and great glimpse of the falls. The maid of the mist takes passenger onboard ferry rides right into the heart of the waterfall and is the only way to experience the mist this way! 

A great way to see the falls is at night. Each night the falls are illuminated by bright lights and the water glows, for special occasions, the lights will change in colour for the occasion, it’s one not to be missed! On the Canadian side of Niagara Falls, you take in unrestricted views of the falls. In Toronto, you can explore the arcade-like attractions which fill the streets with family-friendly restaurants and amusements. 

Click here to view our Road Trip Itineraries that explore Niagara Falls…

Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls, Best places Great Lakes

Horseshoe Falls, Niagara Falls

6. Milwaukee, Wisconsin

Get a taste of Milwaukee Magic in this industrial city. Nestled on the western shore of Lake Michigan, Milwaukee is a vibrant jewel at the crown of the Great Lakes.

What to do in Milwaukee? Take a stroll along the scenic RiverWalk or venture into the Historic Third Ward where you can find boutiques, galleries, and restaurants and the night will some alive. Visit the Milwaukee Art Museum, where wings unfold over the Lake.

Catch some midwest beach vibes at Bradford Beach, a popular destination that’ll make you feel although you’re in California!

Click here to view our Road Trip Itineraries that explore Milwaukee…

Milwaukee, Wisconsin, USA river

Milwaukee, Wisconsin

7. Madison, Wisconsin

Madison is one of the colourful wonders of Wisconsin.

Along the Great Lakes coastlines, you’ll find beaches that look although you’re beside the Pacific Ocean. North Beach is along the Lake Michigan Waterfront and is a great way to enjoy some time here.

Madison, Wisconsin

Madison, Wisconsin


More Road Trip Inspiration

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