Open roads and open waters await on an epic tour of the US’s lakes


Chicago, Illinois

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In association with: Brand USA

A road trip across the midwestern US offers the perfect opportunity to behold incredible lakes, reconnect with nature and glimpse into the country’s rich history

Beginning and ending in Chicago, Illinois, Brand USA’s On the Shores of Great Lakes itinerary takes your clients on a journey through states abundant in history, art and natural wonders – showcasing some of the world’s greatest lakes along the way.

In Chicago, cruise down the river towards Lake Michigan – the first of two Great Lakes on this road trip – for some remarkable skyline views.

Next in Madison, Wisconsin, outdoorsy types are well catered for. The scenic trails are perfect for walking or cycling or take to the waters of Lakes Mendota and Lake Monona for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.

Head northwest to Minnesota and, along the way, stop to cruise along the Wisconsin River and admire the famous rock formations of the Lower and Upper Wisconsin Dells. In Minnesota, visit the Twin Cities of Minneapolis and St Paul, where picturesque walking trails around the Chain of Lakes and historical landmarks await.

Minneapolis, Minnesota

The charming town of Grand Rapids is three hours north and surrounded by Minnesota’s natural beauty, where visitors can venture outdoors or explore the arts and entertainment heritage before crossing back to Wisconsin.

The second Great Lakes stop is Lake Superior, home to the Apostle Islands, which are accessible from the Wisconsin city of Bayfield. Boat or guided paddling tours are perfect for seeing the jagged rocks close-up, while ice sled tours are a must in the winter.

Next, near to Marquette, Michigan, the Keweenaw Peninsula juts into Lake Superior and is the perfect spot to connect with nature. Further along the coast, marvel at the colourful sandstone cliffs of the Pictured Rocks and the two dramatic waterfalls along the Tahquamenon River while travelling to Michigan’s St Ignace, the gateway to Mackinac Island.

As a National Historic Landmark, the island offers an experience reminiscent of days gone by, with Victorian architecture and a ban on cars, making way for horse-drawn carriages.

Transport history is top of the agenda in Detroit, where the Henry Ford Museum of American Innovation showcases cars, planes and unique markers of history including the Rosa Parks bus. Music lovers should visit the Motown Museum, where Stevie Wonder and the Supremes recorded hits.

Mackinac Island, Michigan
Mackinac Island, Michigan

Head back to Wisconsin and take the Lake Express Ferry to Milwaukee. Craft beers and culinary delights aren’t in short supply here, and summer visitors should attend one of the city’s famous festivals.

Follow the Lake Michigan shoreline back to Chicago, where a taste of their iconic deep-dish pizza rounds off the trip.

Download the full itinerary here.

To book this itinerary for your clients, call Gold Medal on 0800 014 7777, or visit

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Win a £100 John Lewis voucher

To be in with a chance of winning a £100 John Lewis voucher, answer a question about this itinerary. For more information, how to enter and terms and conditions, visit:

Become a US expert

Expand your knowledge by completing the badges on Brand USA’s USA Discovery Program. This online agent training programme has more than 60 modules and can help you sell trips to the US more effectively to your customers. Whether it’s must-visit places, unique experiences, historical facts or dining tips, this resource offers comprehensive overviews of states, cities, and experiences across the country. Complete a badge today at:


PICTURES: Brand USA; Anton Fresco

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