There are some stunning, ocean like beaches along the shores of the Great Lakes, from Chicago north up to Bayfield Wisconsin and east to Sandusky Ohio. And that’s before you take into consideration the 32,000 islands in the region. Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore on Lake Michigan (pictured) has been voted one of the ‘Most Beautiful Places in America’.
Some of the nation’s most beautiful National Lakeshores including Apostle Island (pictured), Pictured Rocks and Indiana Dunes can be found here, as well as two National Parks – Isle Royale, an island in Lake Michigan and Voyageurs, a kayak and canoeing paradise in northern Minnesota.
Enjoy historic harbours and lighthouses, lakefront boardwalks, unique restaurants and boutique breweries at lakefront resort towns on the Great Lakes, from Chesterton, Indiana to Charlevoix, Michigan (pictured) and Geneva-on-the-Lake, Ohio.
At the beginning of the 20th century, there were some 334 lighthouses on the Great Lakes. Many of these are still standing today and some are open for visitors. But even if you can’t go inside, they are great to look at from the outside. See the Split Rock Lighthouse in Minnesota below.
With baseball, league and non-league football, basketball, motor racing and more than 3,000 top golf courses, it’s fair to say that the Great Lakes states are big on sports. A visit to the Indy 500 in Indianapolis (pictured) is an unforgettable experience).
Take the grandeur of Chicago’s skyline, the beer and Harley Davidson heritage of Milwaukee, the hipster culture of Minneapolis/ St Paul and the musical credentials of Detroit and Cleveland – and you have some seriously great Great Lakes cities to discover, all with fantastic shopping. Don’t forget that Route 66 starts here too.
There are some 32,000 islands in the Great Lakes region, including a National Park (Isle Royale NP) and the unique, historic Mackinac Island (below), where the only methods of transport are horse and carriage and bike. Opportunities for kayaking, canoeing and other watersports abound in these stunning natural surroundings.
The Great Lakes region is known for its picturesque inns but there’s a huge choice of places to stay here from the Covington Inn in Minneapolis (which is actually a boat – pictured) to the sweeping façade of the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island.
From wreck diving in Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, Michigan to riding the coasters at Cedar Point, Ohio, there are thrills aplenty to be had in the Great Lakes region. Like heights? How about TILTing over Chicago’s downtown from the top of the John Hancock Building?
Detroit is the home of Motown, Cleveland witnessed the birth of Rock n’ Roll and Chicago’s blues bars are legendary. With Stevie Wonder, the Jackson Five and Diana Ross amongst the famous names hailing from here, it’s no wonder that the Great Lakes region has such musical kudos. Along with the city museums like the Hitsville Motown Museum, there is also an impressive calendar of festivals taking place throughout the year.