5 Fabulous Trips to Plan Around America’s Great Lakes!

Destinations USA Great Lakes

You may not know it, but America’s Great Lakes are home to some of the most beautiful views in the world. Stretching from Canada to the United States, these five great lakes in USA and their massive bodies of water boast several islands and boat tours that will leave you breathless. 

When you want to make your next trip truly memorable, head to one of these five fabulous trips around America’s Great Lakes. The views will inspire your soul and remind you that this great nation is the greatest on earth!

This post is part of our series Discover the USA

Where to Start

What You Should Know Before Planning a Trip to the Great Lakes USA Region:

  • Know the best time to visit the region. Different seasons will give you different things to see and do, so knowing when to go can make a big difference.
  • Make bookings and reservations as early as possible. Tourist spots, like state parks and campgrounds, are more likely to fill up during peak season.
  • Invest in a rental car (including gas). For an optimal way of seeing the area and exploring side roads, your own VAN Rental New York will make a huge difference in your trip.

Erie, Pennsylvania

Erie is an industrial city located on the southern shore of Lake Erie, the nation’s 12th largest lake, and is home to a variety of attractions, including the Presque Isle State Park. The state park offers all-season activities for all ages and has beautiful beaches, forests, and wetlands. 

Great Lakes Road Trip Lake Erie

For those who want to explore the natural beauty of Erie, there are plenty of opportunities for hiking and biking on the 10-mile trail or going fishing in one of four designated fishing areas. You can also enjoy bird watching or nature walks through the beautiful woods.

There are also many different water sports available at Presque Isle State Park. You can take a sailboat out on the lake or visit one of the many water-based attractions, including museums, beaches, and a marina. With several picnic areas and pavilions that visitors can rent for family gatherings or other events, you can do plenty of things, making Erie an excellent spot for your perfect getaway!

Check out all our favorite Pennsylvania lakefront vacation spots here + other great family attractions in Pennsylvania that you can add to your itinerary.

Cleveland, Ohio

Cleveland is a cozy little city with many amenities and beautiful natural spaces on the northeastern edge of the Great Lake Chain. Lake Erie lies on the west side of town and offers boating, fishing, swimming, and more activities for those who want to take a dip. Meanwhile, miles upon miles of forests lie on the east side, where hikes can be taken. 

Great Lakes Road Trip - Ohio

A trip to Cleveland, Ohio, would not be complete without a visit to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum, where visitors can explore all things rock n’ roll, including live performances and memorabilia from some of the world’s most famous musicians! With such diverse geography, it’s no wonder that Cleveland offers so many amazing destinations!

Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan

One of the most beautiful but often overlooked cities on the Great Lakes in Sault Ste. Marie, Michigan. It lies at the convergence of Lake Superior and Lake Huron and is an important area for the logging and steel industries. 

The city center is a historical marvel with Victorian-style homes lining the streets. The impressive locks are worth a visit, as well as the International Bridge, where you can simultaneously walk across it and take in spectacular views of both lakes from opposite sides!

Chicago, Illinois

Chicago is one of the most iconic cities in the country, both for its skyline, architecture, and deep-dish pizza. Located on Lake Michigan, it’s a city known for thinking big (after all, it is called The Windy City).  

For your next family getaway to the great lakes of the USA, consider a trip to Navy Pier! There are boat tours as well as exhibits to explore throughout the pier. You can also visit Shedd Aquarium or view art at the Art Institute of Chicago. As you head out onto Lake Michigan, stop by Oak Street Beach or Loyola Beach for some fun in the sun!

You can find our complete guide to exploring Chicago with kids here.

Muskegon, Michigan

Muskegon is located on the southeast shore of Lake Michigan. The state park has a good number of hiking trails as well as gorgeous views of Lake Michigan and Muskegon Lake. Other fun things you can do in Muskegon include biking or running the 6.2-mile Nature Trace bikeway. There is also an apple orchard nearby!

If you are interested in trying out one of these natural wonders, visit Muskegon State Park today! You won’t regret it!

Great Lakes Road Trip - Muskegon


So these were the five best trips you can plan for your next vacation. When planning a vacation around the greatest lakes in the United States, there are many things to consider. The number of days you have to spend on the trip, the budget, and the type of activities you enjoy are all important factors to be considered. 

The best way to find yourself on one of the five great lakes road trip USA is to make a list of all the activities you want to do and compare them with the days you have on your trip. Hopefully, this great lakes of USA travel guide has helped you narrow down options for your next trip!

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A beautiful sunny day over Lake Superior titled The Great Laes 5 fun destinations to try
a view of Chicago along Lake Michigan with text overlay Great Lakes Family Vacation

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