• Traverse City Sunrise

Great Lakes Explorer Tour

Explore the USA's magical Great Lakes region on this spectacular eight day small group tour.

With a mix of lively cities, scenic landscapes and unique small town communities the Great Lakes draw visitors from across the world, discover the unique charm of the region for youself on this fantastic tour which circles through Lake Michigan from Chicago. 

Along the way you will embrace  history, culture, breath-taking scenery and craft beer.

Learn all about Chicago's infamous gangster past, sample some cool jazz, indulge in a glass of wine on the Leelanau peninsula, enjoy the car free experience of Mackanic Island with a horse and carriage ride taking in the Victorian themed architecture. Take in the breath-taking views whilst aboard the ferry ride on Lake Michigan, a photographers dream.

Experience the Harley-Davidson museum and take the chance to sit upon these iconic beauties. A Bavarian Bierhaus experience awaits you, sample some German delights both gastronomic and craft beers. You will then head back to Chicago where your tour will end.

Duration
8 days
Options
Group basis, Escorted
Start your journey
a group of people in a city

Trip highlights

  • Tour the Harley Davidson Museum in Milwaukee
  • Take a Chicago Architecture Photography River Cruise
  • Sample the delights at the Bavarian Beer Garden dinner
  • Enjoy a night at Kingston Mines Blues Club

Arrive in Chicago and meet your fellow group members at the hosted reception with your Tour Manager.

As day two begins its time to explore the vibrant and historical city of Chicago. 

There’s no better way to tour Chi-town as it’s called than on the Chicago Architecture Foundation’s architectural River Cruise. However we don’t take the ordinary river tour. We’ll board an exclusive CAF photography river cruise, perfect for photographers or budding amateurs. 

In the afternoon make your choice between a selection of included experiences. Embrace your inner gangster on the Chicago Sin & Suds walking tour where you will taste both Midwestern craft beer and the city's infamous history. Or glide through Grant Park and the Museum Campus on a cultural and historic Segway tour of Chicago.

Experience the coolest sounds in town at Kingston Mines Jazz Club this evening. Sit back, relax and enjoy the sounds that have been gracing this club since 1968. You may want to eat before you go, but we recommend saving your appetite for the southern style fare available to buy onsite from Doc’s Rib Joint.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Palmer House Hilton or similar

You won’t need your passport to enter this Holland, on the shore of Lake Michigan. Enjoy a stroll taking in all the Dutch heritage and architecture. Embrace downtown soaking up its ambiance and its plentiful supply of shops, galleries and eateries.

Discover breath-taking views as you explore the Leelanau peninsula with its noted wineries and passionate winemakers...why not try a glass or two?

Traverse City is the evenings destination filled with retro charm and has a big city with a small town feel to it. There are plenty of restaurants with fresh, farm to table food for you to choose from. There is an eclectic mix of shows that you could choose from opera to jazz.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Indigo Hotel or similar

Your destination today is Mackinac Island located in Lake Huron which is reached by ferry and completely car free which allows you to take in the sounds and sights in peace and quiet. The whole island is listed as a National Historic Landmark and has a Victorian theme, be sure to visit the Grand Hotel for its wonderful architecture.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Lake View Hotel or similar

Do things your way in the morning as the island of Mackinac is yours to explore.

Make your choice its bicycles or horse-drawn carriages as the only modes of transportation here. You can pick up a bicycle – or adult tricycle –  with trail maps guiding you on various routes throughout the island. Take the perimeter route to loop around Mackinac Island’s shoreline. Navigate the rocky shores of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron with majestic views of their deep blue waters.

Dive in to a more  “immersive experience” to see Mackinac Island’s points of interest such as Skull Cave, the Grand Golf Course, Arch Rock, Governor's Residence, and Fort Mackinac.

For a more sedate morning why not try a guided horse-drawn carriage instead. See many of the island’s sites with stops along the way.

During the afternoon and evening the time is yours to use as you wish.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Lake View Hotel or similar

Today you will be heading south and along the way there will be a chance to sample some locally made craft beer - a real treat in our opinion.

Late afternoon enjoy the ferry crossing and take in the superb views across Lake Michigan to Wisconsin.

This evening you will visit Milwaukee's most unique downtown food destination, the Milwaukee Public Market. Embrace the unique, high quality selections of artisan and ethnic products, and freshly-prepared foods, you’ll have a wide variety of dinner options from its independent merchants. A fantastic end to the day.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Aloft Downtown or similar

Once known almost exclusively as a brewing powerhouse, the city now boasts the beautiful Milwaukee Riverwalk and Milwaukee Art Museum.

This morning you'll past the beautiful mansions along Lake Michigan with numerous exciting photo opportunities at the city’s most unique landmarks, you will also have the opportunity to interact with locals and experience the city as they do. City Hall, the Milwaukee Art Museum, North Point Lighthouse, Miller Park and the Historic Third Ward, are just a few of the stops on this tour.

The afternoon will be spent at the Harley-Davidson Museum. “It’s the best of American design and culture – seasoned with freedom and rebellion, showcased in a landmark building.” You will hear  the stories of the extraordinary people, products, history and culture of Harley-Davidson and for some of you, this is the moment you've been waiting for. That's right, go ahead and jump on one of the many motorcycles that inhabit the gallery.

German heritage is apparent throughout Milwaukee and in its beer gardens!

You'll enjoy a final night dinner together at a Bavarian Bierhaus. Enjoy Bavarian food favourites and both local and German style beers from its own brewery.

Suggested Accommodation

  • Aloft Downtown or similar

Today we will leave Milwaukee and arrive in Oak Park, once the home of Frank Lloyd Wright, where he designed and built some of his earliest buildings. Unity Temple and Wright's own former home and studio are among the many Wright buildings still preserved in the village. You will then go on to tour the Wright home and see the birthplace of Ernest Hemingway before time for you to buy lunch in the village.

The customer's  departing for home will be dropped off at Chicago’s O’Hare airport. Those staying on will be taken to our post-tour hotel.

Included

  • International flights
  • 7 nights accommodation
  • Welcome reception
  • 1 dinner
  • Transportation via air-conditioned small coach, sprinter or van
  • Travel on the Mackinac Island Ferry & Lake Michigan Ferry
  • Experiences to include: Chicago Architecture Photography River Cruise, Chicago Sin & Suds walking tour or City Segway tour, Night at Kingston Mines Blues Club
  • Winery tour & tasting, Half-day Bicycle for self-guided tour or Horse & Carriage tour, Craft Brewery tasting & lunch, and Bavarian Beer Garden Dinner
  • Sightseeing to include: Holland, Traverse City, Makinac Island, Milwaukee and Oak Park

Not included

  • Tips and gratuities
  • Meals unless indicated in the itinerary