Home to some of the most beautiful landscapes in the world, North America is mother to The Great Lakes, some of the most powerful and breathtaking bodies of fresh water known to man. If you are looking to take a scenic drive, the Great Lakes are the best choice. Hop in your car, plan your next hike or get on your motorcycle because the adventure of your lifetime awaits.
The Bruce Trail & Niagara Escarpment: Highway 6 North
This route takes you on an adventure from Lake Erie, across Lake Ontario into the depths of Lake Huron in a single road trip. This trip along Highway 6 North mimics the experience of hiking The Bruce Trail, a 900 km trek that brings you along the UNESCO protected, Niagara Escarpment, through the miles of rock cliffs where the highways run and ends at the grotto caves, shipwreck sites and emerald green waters of Tobermory, Ontario. Starting in Niagara Falls, this trip captures the essence of The Great Lakes, bringing you stragiht to the Niagara Escarpment, the headwaters of five major river systems, adorned with Eastern White Cedars, the oldest trees in North America. This trip can be done in its entirety by foot, bicycle or car.
The Canadian Shield & Indigenous Culture: Trans Canada Highway 17 North
Start your journey from Lake Huron to Lake Superior through Northern Ontario by getting on the Chi-Cheemaun Ferry in Tobermory, Ontario and setting sail for the abundant lands of Manitoulin Island, home of famed Canadian Indigenous Artist, Carl Beam. Visit recognized spaces of Indigenous Heritage such as Shingwauk Residential School, Garden River First Nation, Batchewana First Nation and the Agawa Pictographs located alongside the edges of Lake Superior. Finish your tour by getting on Highway 17 North and drive through the Canadian Shield along Lake Superior to see locations of paintings by The Group of Seven and iconic Canadian statues such as the giant Loonie in Echo Bay and a massive sculpture of Winnie the Pooh in White River, the birthplace of Walt Disney’s much loved cub.
Ontario’s Superior Country & The Group of Seven: Highway 17 North to Highway 61
This route takes you along the edges of Lake Superior by following along Ontario’s Superior Country on Highway 17 North from the “Coldest City in Canada,” White River, Ontario, through the secluded sandy beaches of Pukaskwa National Park to the Canadian landmark, Sleeping Giant rock formation in Thunder Bay. Ending with a drive down Highway 61 to Northeastern Minnesota watching the waves crash against the rocks in Split Rock Lighthouse State Park, this route can be broken up into several days as you sit and view the scenic Canadian locations created by the famous landscape painters, The Group of Seven.
Lake Superior & Apostle Island Sea Caves: Highway 61 to Highway 13 to Highway 2
This scenic drive will take you around the north shore of Lake Superior in Minnesota, through Duluth, one of the most underrated travel destinations of the midwest. Ending with world class views of the picturesque waterfronts of Lake Superior of the Ashland lakeshores and a visit to the sea caves at the Apostle Islands in Wisconsin, this road trip provides an in depth experience of all that the Western tip of Lake Superior has to offer. Explore the Superior Hiking Trail at Chequamegon National Forest to get up close and personal with wildlife like white tail deer, gray fox and eagles at Hawk Ridge and enjoy the scenery as you drive over the Aerial Lift Bridge which can be quite an experience as it can be lifted to allow for 135 feet of clearance for water traffic.
Hiawatha National Forest: Highway 41 South to Highway 2
This route will bring you from harbourfront to harbourfront, through the wild and scenic forests and dramatic shorelines that the ports of Lake Superior and Lake Michigan have to offer. Start off your trip by checking out the shipwrecks spread over 10 miles of Lake Superior shoreline in Marquette, Michigan and then head down Highway 41 to Escanaba, Michigan to explore the lively foliage and home to Little Bay du Noc, a perfect place to get out of the car and check out the history of the area. The trip from Marquette to Escanaba is distinguished by the forested shores of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and is the perfect drive to take in the phenomenon of changing leaves that takes place in the fall where landscapes go from dense green to bright yellow, vibrant red and calming orange. This road trip is the best option if you are looking to explore land and great lakes.
Mackinac Island & Upper Peninsula: Highway 23 to Highway 25
This route takes you down the entire eastern coast of Lake Huron avoiding all interstates, along the Heritage Route 23 which travels 200 miles up the Lake Huron Shoreline and the Pure Michigan Historic Byway. The trip begins in Mackinaw City, Michigan, where you can drive over the innovative suspension bridge and take a ferry to Mackinac Island, the Victorian community where all motor vehicles are banned. It continues through Cheboygan to Alpena and ends with Standish. Enjoy the views of Lake Huron while driving down Highway 23 through a historical waterfront journey along Lake Huron with cities that boast over 40 heritage locations along the coastline. Skip over to Highway 25 and take a ride around “the thumb” of Michigan with the most places to stop spread across one highway. This trip has views of rolling pastoral landscapes on one side and waterfront views on the other, hugging the entire eastern coastline of Lake Huron, delivering one of the most scenic and captivating road trips on the Great Lakes.
South Shore & Waterfront: Route 6 to Highway 20 to Route 5
Running along the south shore of Lake Erie, this trip provides an up close and personal drive across the lakeside with glimpses of ports, piers, mansions. This 115.3 mile route from Toledo, Ohio to Cleveland, Ohio could be completed as a day trip and will fill an afternoon with scenery for miles. Take in the beautiful history while observing the opportunity to go fishing all year round at these waterfront cities. This route is user friendly and can provide hours of waterfront fun for people on bicycles, motorcycles and more. This trop is an excellent chance to get outside and see the Great Lakes for an afternoon.
Great Lakes Seaway Trail: US Route 20 to HWY 5
This 518 mile drive covers the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, a byway in the scenic northeastern United States which covers a large section of Great Lakes Eerie, Lake Ontario and the St.Lawrence River. Starting in the State of New York, make your way through Pennsylvania to Buffalo and Niagara Region to get the best scenic views that the Great Lakes has to offer. The Great Lakes Seaway Trail starts off at the Presque Isle State Park, french for “almost an island” where you can visit thirteen different sandy beaches and the city of Dunkirk, a historical site that holds a strong connection to Lake Eerie. It ends with a trip to the end of the Great Lakes Seaway Trail, in the town of Messina. The changing seasons makes The Great Lakes a tough trip to beat and you can keep going back, but your trip will never be the same, there will always be something new to see.