Road Trippin'

Destination: Great Lakes

Map of the Great Lakes

What’s so great about the Great Lakes region?

The states that make up the Great Lakes region (New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin and Minnesota, plus the Province of Ontario in Canada) offer some of the most incredible attractions and activities for every season of the year.


Grapes ready for harvest, Niagara, Ontario, Canada

New York borders two of the Great Lakes, Erie and Ontario, and is home to some of the most amazing fall foliage scenery in the world! Better yet, you can take in Mother Nature’s spectacular work as you enjoy the Lake Ontario Wine Trail. From boutique wineries, distilleries and cideries, to charming Bed & Breakfasts, great restaurants, bountiful farm markets and unique shops and sites, the trail offers something for everyone!


Cross Country Skiing

While some may grumble about the cold temperatures and lake effect snow, most longtime residents of Wisconsin embrace the winter wonderland. In addition to 5,000 miles of snowmobile trails, 700 miles of cross country ski trails, and 445 runs at 30 downhill ski and snowboard areas, Wisconsin offers Skijoring. Derived from the Norwegian word for “ski driving,” Skijoring is a blend of cross country skiing and dog sledding believed to have been created by enterprising Scandinavians who hitched their skis first to horses as a means of faster transport. Today, the Nordic skiing technique is one of the state’s most unique winter sports. Check out all of their fun winter activities here.


Wooden Windmill in Holland Michigan

Springtime can be surprisingly warm, depending on the amount of snow and ice that formed during the winter on the Great Lakes. To find some of the area’s most amazing spring flowers, you’ll want to tip toe through the tulips at Holland, Michigan’s annual Tulip Festival May 6-14, 2017. Enjoy a week of amazing flowers, Dutch dancing, parades and other great attractions that surround the historical and quaint town of Holland.


Chicago Skyline aerial view

Summer in Chicago is full of festivals, parades, museums and amazing food! Located on the west side of Lake Michigan, Chicago is home to the country’s tallest skyscrapers. Enjoy a leisurely bike ride along Lake Michigan or venture to the Magnificent Mile for some of the best shopping. Be sure to immerse yourself in the local culture and attend any one of the weekly festivals and parades.

Quick facts about the 5 Great Lakes:

1. Lake Erie

Observation deck binoculars overlooking a distant Cleveland

  • The name was derived from erielhonan, the Iroquoian word for long tail, which describes its shape
  • Has the most varieties of fish in the Great Lakes region because it has the warmest waters
  • Home to the alleged 30-40 foot monster called Bessie. People have been spotting her since 1793

2. Lake Huron

Dawn Of A New Day

  • Named for the Wyandot Indians, or Hurons, who lived there
  • Lake Huron has the longest shoreline because it has over 17,500 islands scattered throughout
  • Below the lake are 9,000 year-old hearing structures used by prehistoric people when the water levels were significantly lower

3. Lake Michigan

Panoramic view of the Chicago River and skyline

  • This is truly a great body of water, as the name is derived from the Ojibwa Indian word mishigami, meaning large lake
  • It is the only Great Lake located entirely in the United States
  • Known for its many great shipwrecks and even have a museum

4. Lake Ontario

Toronto Skyline at Sunset

  • Ontario is the Huron word for lake of shining water
  • This lake is the smallest of all the Great Lakes when measured in surface area
  • Babe Ruth’s first home run was hit out of the park and into Lake Ontario

5. Lake Superior

floating maple leaf, Lake Superior

  • World’s largest freshwater lake
  • The name comes from the French word lac supérieur, meaning upper lake
  • Island Royale located on Lake Superior has several large lakes on it – making it a lake within a lake


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