Need suggestions for two-week Lake Michigan Circle Tour in JulyWe are considering touring around Lake Michigan in July for 2 weeks starting off in Chicago. We have been to Chicago in December last year and really enjoyed it and thought a planned trip around the lake would be good vacation. What would be the best locations to stay in? We normally plan 2 or 3 days per location, allowing us time to drive to each. Any other information would be good. Many thanks. - Ian, Hull, Yorkshire, England
A Circle Tour of Lake Michigan in July will be a lot of fun, especially if you love beaches.
It's good you're planning now, because July is peak season. It's also good you'd like to spend two or three days in each place, because nearly every lodging has a two- or three-night minimum on peak-season weekends.
You'll need to plan your trip around some big festivals, when every room in town — and towns around — will be
booked. They're the National Cherry Festival in Traverse City; Venetian Festival in Charlevoix; and Coast
Guard Festival in Grand Haven.
If you liked Chicago in December, you'll love it in July. I'd spend at least another two days there, bicycling along the lakefront and maybe catching a Cubs game.
You could spend a day or two in Milwaukee, which is a fun town and has a big lakefront festival every summer weekend.
Otherwise, drive up to Door County and spend two or three days touring it.
Continue through Green Bay and into the Upper Peninsula. You could spend a night in one of the state parks or in Manistique.
Otherwise, go on to Mackinac Island and spend one or two nights there.
Then spend two or three nights based in Traverse City, visiting the Leelanau Peninsula and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.
Spend a night or two in Ludington and your next two or three nights in Holland (if you can get one of the camper cabins in Holland State Park) or the beach-resort towns of Saugatuck or South Haven. Then drive back to Chicago.
The beaches, especially on the Michigan side, are fantastic. For more, see America's freshwater Riviera.
When we did the Circle Tour one June, we stayed at camper cabins right in the beach state parks, which was great. Now is the time to reserve them. For more, see Michigan's great lake cabins.
For more about the Circle Tour, see Circling Lake
If you're traveling with children, see Lake Michigan