The Great Lakes
15 Day Self Drive - from £1,542
Enjoy the relaxed lakeside lifestyle as you travel through the beauty and vastness of America’s Great Lakes. This 15-day self drive loop from Chicago will show you nature at its very best.
- A day exploring the streets of Chicago
- Minneapolis and the Mississippi Mile
- Drive north through the ‘Land of the Lakes’
- Beautiful Tahquamenon Falls National Park
- Views of Niagara Falls from Queen Victoria Park
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Your Self Drive Adventure
Day 1: Arrive in Chicago
Today you arrive in Chicago and transfer to your hotel. For the rest of the day, it's your time to 'dip your toe in' so to speak, with a wander around this vibrant city.
Hotels:(Standard) Raffaello (2 nights)
(Budget) Best Western Hillside (2 nights)
Day 2: Chicago
Enjoy a day exploring Chicago. Stroll along fashionable Michigan Avenue, the Magnificent Mile, for some world-class shopping or marvel at some of the most impressive architecture in the city's bustling business district. The Willard Tower, at 108 stories, stands as Chicago's tallest building since its completion in 1974 and is the tallest building in the Western Hemisphere. Boat cruises are offered on the Chicago River and Lake Michigan. In the evening do not miss a visit to one of Chicago's famous blues clubs.
Day 3: Chicago - Milwaukee - Madison (170 miles)
Today your tour through the beautiful Great Lakes area begins with a short stop in Milwaukee, famous for its breweries and beer gardens. Continue to the capital of Wisconsin, Madison, where you will spend the night.
Hotels:(Standard) Hotel Madison Concourse (1 night)
(Budget)Best Western West Towne Suites (1 night)
Day 4: Madison - Minneapolis/St. Paul (270 miles)
The twin cities of Minneapolis and St. Paul share the same history; however, the character of the 2 cities at the Mississippi River couldn’t be any different from each other: Skyscrapers are dominant in Minneapolis; St. Paul almost looks European with its historical buildings and old churches.
Hotels:(Standard) Millennium Minneapolis (2 nights)
(Budget)Comfort Inn Bloomington Airport (2 nights)
Day 5: Minneapolis/St. Paul
Walk along the ‘Mississippi Mile’ in Minneapolis and relax in one of the many parks, visit the Mall of America, one of the largest shopping centres in the US with its own amusement park and Sea Live Aquarium inside, or simply take a stroll along St. Paul’s downtown area.
Day 6: Minneapolis/St. Paul - Duluth / Ashland (160 miles)
Drive north through the ‘Land of the Lakes’ to Duluth, which attracts millions of visitors each year. The city at the shores of Lake Superior has one of the biggest inner harbours in the world and offers plenty of scenic walks and routes.
Hotels:(Standard) Best Western The Hotel Chequamegon (1 night)
(Budget) Radisson Hotel Harborview (1 night)
Day 7: Ashland/Duluth - Marquette (255 miles)
Enjoy today’s drive to the Apostle Islands National Lakeshore and to Marquette, which welcomes you with popular beaches, many museums and a lighthouse.
Hotels:(Standard) Landmark Inn (1 night)
(Budget) Ramada Inn Marquette (1 night)
Day 8: Marquette - St. Ignace (165 miles)
This part of your trip has one of the most beautiful routes you will encounter: Visit impressive waterfalls in Tahquamenon Falls National Park, take a boat cruise in Munising, or simply relax walking along one of the many beaches. You should also take the ferry to Mackinac Island. Motorized vehicles have been prohibited on the island, so visitors get to explore the area by foot, by bike or by taking a carriage ride.
Hotels:(Standard) Grand Hotel (1 night)
(Budget) Best Western Harbor Pointe (1 night)
Day 9: St. Igance - Traverse City (105 miles)
Near the ‘Cherry Capital of the World’, Traverse City, is Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, which welcomes you with spectacular views, steep cliffs, high dunes and numerous scenic walkways and routes. Traverse City is a nice resort town at the shores of Lake Michigan, with many wineries and vineyards with tastings close by.
Hotels:(Standard) Grand Beach Hotel (1 night)
(Budget) Quality Inn by the Bay (1 night)
Day 10: Traverse City - Detroit (260 miles)
After stopping in mostly small towns, seeing beaches, cliffs and waterfalls in different National Parks along your route, today this will change with your arrival in Detroit. Visit one of the many museums in the city, most of which are located in the neighbourhood around Wayne State University and the College for Creative Studies. The city's Greektown and three downtown casino resort hotels serve as part of an entertainment hub.
Hotels:(Standard) Trumbull & Porter Hotel Detroit (1 night)
(Budget) Red Roof Inn Deerborn (1 night)
Day 11: Detroit - Toronto (230 miles)
You cross the border into Canada and drive along Lake Erie and arrive on the last of the Great Lakes, Lake Ontario. Toronto, the most populous city in Canada, is a paradise for shopping and sightseeing fans alike. Visit the Eaton Centre for your shopping needs and enjoy a stunning view over the city and Lake Ontario from the CN Tower, one of the tallest buildings in the world.
Hotels:(Standard) Chelsea Hotel Toronto (1 night)
(Budget) Bond Place Hotel (1 night)
Day 12: Toronto - Niagara Falls (80 miles)
One of the highlights of your trip awaits you, Niagara Falls. Visit Queen Victoria Park which offers beautiful views of the falls and take a boat trip to experience the full power of the water. The town, which is half Canadian and half American offers plenty; casinos an IMAX movie theatre and the Skylon Tower, a restaurant with stunning views of the falls.
Hotels:(Standard) Doubletree by Hilton (1 night)
(Budget) Holiday Inn Niagara Falls (1 night)
Day 13: Niagara Falls - Cleveland (220 miles)
Rock 'n Roll fans all over the country visit Cleveland’s Rock 'n Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, a glass pyramid with excellent exhibitions and educational programs around the rock music history.
Hotels: (Standard) Hyatt Regency at the Arcade (1 night)
(Budget) Comfort Inn Downtown (1 night)
Day 14: Cleveland - Elkhart (240 miles)
Today’s route brings you into the Ohio and Indiana Amish Country. Drive along US-20 and stop at an Amish store or visit one of Amish museums along the way. Visit the Downtown Riverwalk in Elkhart and relax in one of the many parks of the city.
Hotels:(Standard) Hilton Garden Inn Elkhart (1 night)
(Budget) Red Roof Inn Elkhart (1 night)
Day 15: Elkhart - Chicago/Departure (110 miles)
Enjoy the last view on Chicago’s skyline on your relatively short drive along the southern tip of Lake Michigan. Your trip ends with the rental car return and flight back home.
15 Day Self Drive - from £1,542
with flights from £1,942
Our Budget option includes all the benefits of our standard but offers a lower category of accommodation for the more budget conscious.
- Budget accommodation – from £1,092
Price is per person, based on 2 sharing a double or twin room and include pre-booked accommodation, air-conditioned car and unlimited mileage. One-way fees charged locally. Hotels specified are subject to availability and may be substituted by one of a similar or higher standard.
Self Drive Touring
Enjoy independent touring at its very best. Book our self drives as they are or add extra days in the places you choose. Normally available in both directions.
Your self drive includes:
- Well planned, easy to follow route
- Travel guide and maps
- 14 nights pre-booked hotel accommodation
- The choice of standard or budget hotels
- Modern air-conditioned car
- Unlimited mileage
- Roadside assistance
- Car upgrades available upon request