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New Orleans to Michigan/Wisconsin for Lake Michigan Vacation

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New Orleans
posts: 21
reviews: 3
New Orleans to Michigan/Wisconsin for Lake Michigan Vacation

We're driving from New Orleans for a 2+week vacation to the Lake Michigan area in mid- to late Sept 2013 and hope to do most of the Lake Michigan Circle drive.

My first question: has anyone done the drive from the south (LA/TN) area to the Lake Michigan area. Looking for an interesting drive.

Also, once we get to our destination, whether we start in Michigan or Wisconsin, we know we want to do the loop from Door County, WI to Traverse City, MI. We are in the late 50/mid-60 age and in very good shape and health. Suggestions on an intinerary (how much time do we need in each city/town and what towns are close enough to use one as the base and make day trips).

I'm sure I'll have more questions. I appreciate any information and suggestions.

Chicago
posts: 4,111
reviews: 177
1. Re: New Orleans to Michigan/Wisconsin for Lake Michigan Vacation

to start you off, here's a TA road trips article on touring the great lakes:

tripadvisor.com/Travel-g191-c183176/United-S…

as for driving from the south, if you're not pressed too much for time, maybe do at least some sections of the great river road on your way north (or south).... driving from NOLA to lake michigan, via 55-57 is pretty boring north of mt vernon, IL.... southern IL is very pretty hill country, however.... likewise, southern indiana, south of indy is nice hill country, but north of indy, via 65, is pretty boring.....

when you get to the northern end of lake michigan, in the upper peninsula, i STRONGLY recommend veering north to the shores of lake superior.... be sure to check out tahq falls and pictured rocks national park... allow a good 2-3 days for this portion of the trip!

Edited: 12:43 am, August 28, 2013
Michigan USA
posts: 657
reviews: 3
2. Re: New Orleans to Michigan/Wisconsin for Lake Michigan Vacation

I can't be of much help with your drive here, but I totally agree with StrangeTripper and suggest you take the "northern" route across the Upper peninsula versus following US 2.

If you have the time, I would suggest taking 141 up to US 2 west to M-45 north, make a short detour to see Bond Falls (and stop at the Paulding General Store for the biggest hand dipped ice cream cones you've seen in a while!) and continue up to the Porcupine Mountains and Lake of the Clouds. Beautiful scenery and plenty of hiking trails and a nice Visitor Center. (the Visitor Center at US2 and M45 is very nice as well)

Then you could continue from there to Marquette and visit Presque Isle which has hiking trails. If there's time I might also suggest you stop and visit the Superior Dome on NMU's campus. It is the World's Largest wooden dome building. Really quite a remarkable structure. Very impressive on the inside.

From there you can continue on to Munising (Pictured Rocks) and the Taquamenon (sp) falls and then down to Traverse City.

Some of the trees are starting to show some color so you might be treated to beautiful fall scenery as well.

Enjoy your vist!

New Orleans
posts: 21
reviews: 3
3. Re: New Orleans to Michigan/Wisconsin for Lake Michigan Vacation

We've got our route from NOLA to Door County which will be our first stop and will be staying in Ephraim for 3 nights. My next question: is the northern route from Door County to Michigan (Mackinaw Is, Charlevoix, Traverse City, etc) worth the drive or should we go back down and take the Ludington ferry to Manitowoc? Time is not really an issue. Thanks so much!

Michigan USA
posts: 657
reviews: 3
4. Re: New Orleans to Michigan/Wisconsin for Lake Michigan Vacation

I personally would say that it's worth the drive. There's a reason I leave SW MI to visit up there for 3 weeks every year. It is beautiful country and there's much to see. It would be a shame to be so close and not use the opportunity. Again, my humble opinion. :-)

Michigan
posts: 6
reviews: 37
5. Re: New Orleans to Michigan/Wisconsin for Lake Michigan Vacation

Some of Michigan's most beautiful scenery is in the Upper Peninsula. While the west coast of Michigan is nothing to sneeze at, the ferry is not only expensive, it's unexciting, unless you want a direct demonstration of just how wide Lake Michigan is. The northern route will definitely add to your drive time, but I can just about guarantee you'll enjoy it.

Chicago
posts: 4,111
reviews: 177
6. Re: New Orleans to Michigan/Wisconsin for Lake Michigan Vacation

if time isn't an issue, then definitely take the northern route around the lake... and while you're up there, depart from the lake michigan coast and go up to lake superior as i said in my previous post.... while the northern lake michigan coast is relatively wild and scenic compared to down here, the lake superior coast is some of the finest scenery you will see in the middle of the continent....

while i disagree with the other poster regarding the ferry (i much prefer the ss badger over the lake express) and usually recommend the ferry, if you have the time, drive thru the yoop.... and besides, as we move into fall, the lake will likely get angrier more often, which would mean a most unpleasant ride, especially if you're prone to sea sickness....

and finally, if time is not an issue, then do yourselves a favor and spend the 2-3 days up there---you won't regret it!

7. Re: New Orleans to Michigan/Wisconsin for Lake Michigan Vacation

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