Made up of bodies of water as large as some seas, the Great Lakes area makes for one incredible base to plan a road trip around. In fact, the entire U.K. can fit inside the combined area of the five Great Lakes.
Combine this with the variety of biospheres like dune-filled beaches, sandstone cliffs, and cityscapes, and it’s no wonder so many RV enthusiasts head to the shores of the Great Lakes each year.
In this article, you’ll learn about some stops surrounding all the lakes with a few extras nearby thrown in. You can plan an entire itinerary or add to an existing one. Read on for all you’ll need to plan your Great Lakes road trip!
Best Great Lakes Road Trip Destinations
Our full guide below will take you around all of the Great Lakes with lovely stops in between. Read on to add a mix of nature, city attractions, and scenic roads all along your Great Lakes road trip!
Our first stop is Windy City! Head to Lakeshore Drive in Chicago, IL, to get started right with the best views of Lake Michigan in town. From there, check out the Navy Pier
to explore a lakeside promenade of restaurants, cafes, and attractions. And don’t forget to grab a slice of the famous deep-dish pizza before you go!
Walk off your meal on the Lakefront Trail
, a paved path that winds along the shoreline. It can get crowded so you might want to plan your walk early in the day.
RV campgrounds near Chicago:
Just a ways up north, Green Bay, WI, is another potential stop to add to your Great Lakes road trip bucket list. Explore the inlet all the way down to Gills Rock for a more quaint, secluded feeling, or stick around Green Bay proper to take in some local attractions.
Learn a thing or two at the National Railroad Museum
or the Neville Museum
. Or observe some animals at the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary
. History buffs might enjoy a visit to Heritage Hill State Historical Park
featuring re-enactments of life during the Civil War Era.
RV campgrounds near Green Bay:
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Indiana Dunes National Park
A 40-minute drive southwest of Chicago will get you to our next destination: Indiana Dunes National Park
in Chesterton, IN. As the name suggests, it’s all about the dunes. Sandy beaches at the southernmost tip of Lake Michigan await you here. You can take the “three-dune challenge” and hike them all or just kick back and wait for a gorgeous sunset
When you’ve had enough sand and sun, the nearby towns of Porter and Chesterton are packed with quaint shops, antique galleries, and wineries just waiting for you to explore.
RV campgrounds near Chesterton:
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Ohio’s Cincinnati Zoo
has been dedicated to education and preservation since the late 1800s. It’s well worth the drive from Lake Erie to enjoy the nearly 2,000 animals there. The grounds themselves are beautifully arranged into a scenic botanical garden. It’s a perfect spot for a fun date or family outing.
Check out the animal exhibitions like the Cheetah Run and Giraffe feeding, or take a look at their special events
calendar. End the night in nature at one of the nearby RV campgrounds before heading towards Lake Erie in the morning.
RV campgrounds near the Cincinnati Zoo:
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Michigan’s Mackinac Island
is renowned for its fudge, lack of cars, dining, amazing sunrises and sunsets, and its panoramic view of Lake Huron. Start by jumping on a ferry for a trip around the island’s lighthouse, or try a guided horse-drawn carriage tour ending at Fort Mackinac to get a full history lesson of the island.
This is the perfect spot to take your time. Go slow and enjoy the variety of bakeries, restaurants, spas, and surrounding natural scenery all around you. Retire for the evening on the island or at a nearby RV campground.
RV campgrounds near Mackinac Island:
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
Witness the variety of interesting geological features just south of Lake Superior at Michigan’s Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
. Smooth sandstone cliffs, sandy beaches, waterfalls, and wooded trails are all on the table at this scenic spot located in Munising, MI.
The park’s name comes from the colorful mineral deposits that shine when lakewater runs across them. Try taking a look at the cliffs from a boat tour for the best view. Or head to the park’s famous Miner’s Castle.
RV campgrounds near Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore:
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Stop by Detroit’s Motor City for a good stopover before you see Lake Erie. The Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation
and the Gilmore Car Museum
are two must-sees to learn the city’s history as a center of the automotive industry.
When you’re ready to get back to nature again, check out the nearby Lake St. Clair, or make your way to Lake Erie. Try one of the RV campgrounds below for a comfortable stay.
RV campgrounds near Motor City:
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The Musical Fountain in Grand Haven, MI, is a great stop to see Lake Michigan, especially if you’re traveling with family
. Spend your days relaxing along the shore of Lake Michigan at the Grand Haven State Park before heading back downtown for the show.
Every night, the fountain illuminates in a synchronized light show with a myriad of colors shifting to music. After the show, you’ll have plenty of local bars and restaurants to choose from before heading back to camp in the evening.
RV campgrounds near Musical Fountain:
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Our last destination lies along the Canadian-New York border. Head to this unique location for a view of a natural wonder — Niagara Falls. Be sure to hop on Maid of the Mist for an up-close view by boat. But be prepared to get soaked. If you’re feeling adventurous you can trek through the nearby Niagara Falls State Park or take in some history at Old Fort Niagara.
Rest easy at one of the RV campgrounds below.
RV campgrounds near Niagara Falls:
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Dive Into the Shimmering Great Lakes
You’re all set for your Great Lakes road trip! No matter where you go, it’s all about how you get there. For all the comforts of home like only an RV can deliver, pick up a Cruise America RV rental
to make some amazing memories along the way.
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