If you are an adventurous soul, you already know that there is no shortage of Great Things to do on the Great Lakes. The region boasts the world’s largest group of lakes, making up over 20% of the Earth’s freshwater. They are an ocean-like gift of nature that comprises wildlife, national parks, and beaches, and is a superb itinerary for people who have a passion for the outdoors.
Whether you want to immerse in what these inland seas offer or are eager to explore the states surrounding the Great Lakes, there is always a fitting activity for you. Here are some key attractions you can explore if you are planning a trip to the lakes.
Find out the best spots & plethora of activities along the Great Lakes in the below slides:
- 1 Tour the Sleeping Bear Dunes
- 2 Visit the Art Institute
- 3 Retreat in Mackinac Island
- 4 Hike the Door Peninsula
- 5 Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
- 6 Bird watch near Niagara Falls
- 7 Explore the Field Museum
- 8 Visit the Isle Royale National Park
- 9 Taste the local brews in Milwaukee
- 10 Have fun at the Millennium Park
- 11 Go on rides at the Cedar Point Amusement Park
- 12 Pick fresh produce in Wisconsin
- 13 12 Great Things to do on the Great Lakes
Tour the Sleeping Bear Dunes
Take a trip to the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to experience a memorable outdoor trip of a lifetime. The pristine islands and towering sand dunes are nationally protected to preserve its stunning beauty and wildlife. It lies along the Lake Michigan coast and is nearby Traverse City, which is well-known for cherry festivals and vineyards.
The park offers ranger-guided walks, or you can drive along the captivating Pierce Stocking loop. You can also climb the immense sand dunes or spend a day at the lovely South Manitou Island. It is only one of the many Great Things to do on the Great Lakes.
Visit the Art Institute
The Art Institute of Chicago is the second-largest museum in the U.S. and houses impressive paintings and surrealist works that compete with the world’s famous art destinations. It is home to Nighthawks by Edward Hopper and A Sunday Afternoon on the Island of La Grande Jatte by Georges Seurat, along with other notable pieces collated throughout the years.
If you are an art buff, the Art Institute is a must-see where you can spend the whole day basking in the visual spectacle.
Retreat in Mackinac Island
One truly unique thing about Mackinac Island is that you are not allowed to use motorized transportation—you must get around on foot, by bicycle, or a classic horse and carriage ride. A large portion of the island is a state park and has a charming village built in the 19th century.
According to the belief of the Odawa and Ojibwa people, Mackinac Island is sacred and is believed to be where life began. It features emerald green forests, stunning vistas, and high limestone bluffs to sightsee.
Hike the Door Peninsula
The Door Peninsula separates Lake Michigan and Green Bay, boasting a 300-mile stretch of shoreline and plenty of apple and cherry orchards. The 11 lighthouses in the area are worth seeing, but a very interesting thing to know is that is that it is also called Death’s Door. The strait connecting Lake Michigan and Washington Island has fallen witness to the many ship disasters ending in sunken vessels in the hazardous waters.
There is plenty to do within the peninsula’s state parks, also known as the Five Jewels in the Crown. Some of the Great Things to do on the Great Lakes include exploring many cycling and walking trails, and as well as fishing and swimming spots in the area.
Rock & Roll Hall of Fame
Lovers of rock & roll should visit the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio, and discover the genre across the decades. It pays respect to the legends, origins and enjoys the favorites of the new decade. The museum houses the iconic instruments played by some of the most excellent musicians in the rock scene.
The venue also hosts concerts and events year-round, so you might just be able to watch your favorite artist. It is a great chance to get up close and personal with music!
Bird watch near Niagara Falls
Visiting Niagara Falls is one of the top Great Things to do on the Great Lakes. The majestic waterfall is one of the world’s most iconic natural resources, and within the area are several activities you can enjoy, such as a trip to the Bird Kingdom. This 50,000 sq. ft. facility is a tropical rainforest exhibit housing different bird species and some exotic animals. It is the most expansive free-flying indoor aviary in the world!
If you are an avid bird watcher or are just a curious spectator, this getaway is a perfect adventure. It is a world-class attraction where you can feed and play with Rainbow Lorikeet and take pictures of this beautiful bird haven.
Explore the Field Museum
The Field Museum of Natural History sits along the Lake Michigan shore, holding almost 40 million artifacts and specimens that tell the Earth’s story. It encourages cultural conversation and education that will pique your interest in history.
From mummies to gemstones to a stuffed ape, you can find several unusual yet completely fascinating displays on exhibit. The star is perhaps the largest Tyrannosaurus rex in discovery named Sue, which proudly stands at fourteen feet. It is an active research institution that is designed to be tourist-friendly.
Visit the Isle Royale National Park
Located northwest of Lake Superior in Michigan, the Isle Royale National Park is an International Biosphere Reserve and a National Wilderness Area. It is a primarily preserved island of rich flora and fauna that will captivate the nature lover in you. It is Lake Superior’s largest island and is surrounded by more than 450 smaller islands. It has a significant population of different species, including wolves, foxes, beavers, and loons.
This island is an excellent getaway for wildlife enthusiasts, kayakers, and walkers who want a taste of untouched natural resources. It is accessible by seaplane or seasonal ferry, so you can already tell that it is a memorable trip once you take it.
Taste the local brews in Milwaukee
Beer tasting is one of the best Great Things to do on the Great Lakes. Milwaukee is a great place to start because it is home to a major brewery and plenty of microbreweries in the city. Its link with this beverage is so strong that its major league baseball team is named the Milwaukee Brewers.
Aside from superbly crafted beer, you can also visit the Harley Davidson Museum, which celebrates 100 years of these iconic motorcycles in history. Spend a few hours at the Milwaukee Art Museum to learn about the city and take a peek at the Greek Orthodox Church designed like a spaceship.
Have fun at the Millennium Park
The Millennium Park is a town square located in the heart of Chicago, which features a host of attractions and activities included in our list of Great Things to do on the Great Lakes. For one, it has the iconic Cloud Gate or “The Bean” as it is fondly called. It is a shiny archway that stars in a lot of Insta-selfies. There is also the interactive Crown Fountain and serene Lurie Garden that will give you plenty of things to see and do.
Suppose you are feeling a bit more adventurous. In that case, the Maggie Daley Park features a wall climbing facility for some adrenaline-pumping fun, then have a sumptuous meal at the Plaza at Park Grill. This outdoor dining venue not only serves dishes to crave but also boasts a stunning view of the Chicago skyline.
Go on rides at the Cedar Point Amusement Park
The 18 heart-stopping roller coasters and other rides at the Cedar Point Amusement Park in Sandusky, Ohio, will satisfy the kid in you. You must try the Top Thrill Dragster, which climbs 420 feet into the air and then drastically plunges at 120 mph—literally a stomach-dropping ride that should be on anyone’s bucket list. You can also experience 27 seconds of weightlessness on the Steel Vengeance, which boasts the longest “airtime” among the world’s coasters.
Have a lot of fun in the roller coaster capital of the world and enjoy a view of Lake Erie while you are there. The seventy rides will fill your itinerary for the whole day, or even multiple days if you want to ride the coasters over and over again!
Pick fresh produce in Wisconsin
Wisconsin farms offer freshly picked fruits and vegetables that make the local dishes some of the best you will ever try. You can spend a day at the farm helping the owners harvest pumpkins and take a bite of a juicy Red Delicious right off a tree. The region is teeming with orchards and vast lands with every type of product you can name.
Visit the farmer’s market and meet the locals, who are some of the most hardworking people in the world. If you identify as a “Cheesehead” then a visit to Wisconsin is perfect because it is the largest manufacturer of cheddar cheese in the country! You will be feasting on cheese, crackers, and the freshest fruits while in the area.
12 Great Things to do on the Great Lakes
From nature to city delights, the cacophony of sights and activities on the Great Lakes will help you build memories that last a lifetime. If you are planning on spending a few days in the region, the experts at Rental Trader will be more than happy to help you fix the details of your accommodation. You can discuss it over a call or sign up on the web form and talk to the staff straight away! Alternatively, you can browse through our platform and book the best properties of your choice directly at an affordable price.