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  • Writer's pictureSam Hageman

Road Trip: The Great Lakes

As we plan for our next Road Trip we are reminiscing on some of our older ones. In August of 2018 Garrett, Dexter, & I hit every Great Lake at least once, hitting a few multiple times.

A few things you should note about traveling across the border:

(1) You dog must have the Rabies vaccine & you must have the vaccination records when you cross the border in case they are asked for.

(2) Your dogs food MUST be in its original packaging in case border patrol inspects it.

(3) You cannot bring most perishable items across the border as there are differing laws between the countries for food.

(4) Tell your credit card/debit card company you will be traveling internationally. Also, ask if there are any fees for international transactions (if so you may want to consider exchanging currency).

For more information regarding traveling with pets, click here. For more information regarding traveling to Canada, click here (although due to the Pandemic this is still very limited & not allowed for pleasure).

We started at home in metro-Detroit & crossed under the Detroit River through the Tunnel to Windsor, Canada early in the morning. We stopped at the Windsor Train Station to exchange our US currency into Canadian currency as we would be traveling north where our cash would not be accepted. After that we drove 1 hour to Point Pelee National Park to swim in Lake Erie.

Point Pelee National Park is a pointed peninsula located in Lake Erie's northern region. Lake Erie is the second smallest Great Lake & is prone to outbreaks of e-coli, so you have to watch out for the e-coli warnings when you enter. Also due to this the flies can be awful & bite when the weather starts to warm. We swam on the rocky beach, but quickly ran out due to the flies biting up a storm.

Next we drove 3.25 hours to Fifty Point Conservation Area on Lake Ontario. As Lake Ontario is the smallest Great Lake it is also prone to outbreaks of e-coli, so you will need to check for the warnings posted on the entrance. We ate some lunch at the picnic tables by the shore before we hiked around. When we went the e-coli levels were too high to swim, so we hiked around the recreational loop to the rocky shoreline. We skipped rocks & ran around for a bit before we heading to our last stop of the day.

After a 3.5 hour drive we made it to our last stop of the day, Bruce Peninsula National Park. We drove into the Cyprus Lake Campground & set up camp for the night. We then grabbed our swimsuits, towels, & headlamps, & headed to the Grotto on Lake Huron as we planned to stay until the sunset. The trail there was pretty forest, but very busy in the summer. We swam in the cold water of Lake Huron & thought about going into the caves, but since we had Dexter we decide against it as it would have been too dangerous for him to climb up & down. The rock formations along the shoreline made for great steps & even cliffs which many people cliff dove from. We watched the beautiful sunset & we were one of the last to leave. We put on our headlamps & hiked back to camp. Please be aware there are bears in the area, so we do recommend having a bear bell (like on our Backpack) or bear spray if you plan to be out hiking at night. Once we made it back to camp we cooked dinner on the fire & looked at the stars.

The next day we packed up camp & headed out to catch a car ferry from Tobermory to South Baymouth. The car ferry was an interesting experience. You are lined up into two lines then slowly drive up onto the boat. You park your car on the lower level & head up to the top decks to relax. For two hours we were able to cruise on Lake Huron on a sunny day. I recommend bringing/wearing sunscreen if you go to the top deck. The captain made an announcement right before we arrived to head back to our cars. We then rolled off the boat & headed to our next destination.

We drove 5 hours until we arrived to Agawa Bay Campground at Lake Superior Provincial Park. We set up camp & headed to the dog friendly beach at the end of the campground. We walked the sandy shoreline & watched the sunset over Lake Superior. We stayed up late that night cooking hobo pizzas on the fire, looking a the stars, & witnessing Aurora Borealis for the first time. It was an amazing night & one of our favorite campsites to date.

In the morning we packed up & headed 40 minutes north to Old Woman Bay on Lake Superior within the park. The beach was sandy & beautiful, even though the water was cold it was a great way place to start the morning.

We then drove 2 hours north to Pukaskwa National Park. Once we arrived we set up camp at the Hattie Cove Campground & ate lunch. We sadly got there too late in the day to take the hike to the high suspension bridge & waterfall in the park, however we took the Boardwalk Beach trail near camp & went right to Lake Superior. We went to the sandy shores of Lake Superior & spent the whole afternoon swimming & running along the driftwood covered beach. It was so amazing that we forgot to keep hiking the trail, so instead we headed back to camp, at dinner on the fire, & relaxed until sunset. We then hiked back to view sunset on the beach. The next morning we packed up camp & headed to the park headquarters. We then hiked around the headquarters to see the fantastic views of Hattie Cove.

We then headed back to the U.S. & drove into Minnesota, where we stopped 4.25 hours in at a Rest Stop/Grand Portage State Park. We were able to walk a path to High Falls on Pigeon River for a nice break to stretch our legs & hit the road again. We then drove 45 minutes to Grand Marias State Park in Minnesota for the night. We set up camp for the night, cooked dinner, & then headed into town for some ice cream on Lake Superior. We headed back to camp & went to bed after a round of rummy.

The next morning we made our way back to our home state Michigan, driving 5 hours to the Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park. We stopped at Presque Isle to explore the waterfalls & skip rocks on Lake Superior. We then headed to Union Bay Campground to set up camp for the night, cook on the fire, & play some rummy. We walked Lake Superiors rocky shoreline around sunset, although it was a little too cloudy for a real sunset. However the skies cleared just enough for us to head to the Lake of the Clouds overlook to check out the stars that night.

The next day we headed to our final Great Lake, Lake Michigan. We drove 4 hours to Fayette Historic State Park at the very bottom tip of the U.P. We set up camp & then went to hike around the park. We hiked around the historic park, walked into buildings, & ran into tons of deer throughout the park. There was barely anyone there & we were able to enjoy some quiet the on Lake Michigan the entire night.

We then headed back 2 hours to the Mitten, crossing the Mighty Mac, & stopping at Michilimackinac State Park to enjoy our favorite pasties from Mackinaw Pasties & Cookie Co in Mackinaw City. We walked around the park & Dexter dipped in Lake Huron. We then headed over to McGulpin Lighthouse to visit where Garrett proposed a year prior. We got caught in a storm, but were able to hide out in the little gazebo built on the rocky shores of Lake Michigan. After our stop there we drove the 4 hours back home.

It was an amazing trip & I truly wish we had more time to stop in more places along the Great Lakes. We are spoiled to live in a state where 4/5 Great Lakes choose us, but I wouldn't live in any other state. Hope you can plan a visit to the Great Lakes soon!

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