The Great Lakes Challenge

At the beginning of our socially distant road trip, the Great Lakes weren’t really on my radar. Daniel and I didn’t plan on visiting any of the Great Lakes, let alone all five of them.

Well it’s 2020. Nothing is going as expected. After visiting both Lake Superior and Lake Michigan, it occurred to me that we could make a point to visit every lake.

Ok I’ll come clean. I stole the idea from Daniel. On a previous road trip, he planned to dip a toe into each of the Great Lakes. That seemed like a great idea so I decided to do it too.

Daniel also wrote a blog post about our tour of the Great Lakes. You can read it here: Driving the five great lakes.

Lake Superior

Our first Great Lake encounter was Lake Superior in Duluth, Minnesota. Our friend Evan took us on a tour of his favorite stomping grounds, including Minnesota Point and Wisconsin Point. I couldn’t resist putting my feet into the lake as we strolled along the beach. You can read more about that particular adventure here: Great America Road Trip Days 36-42: Duluth Interlude.

Daniel and Evan stroll along the beach at Minnesota Point
Getting my feet wet at Wisconsin Point

Our second encounter with Lake Superior was during our visit to Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Daniel and I drove through Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to see the fall foliage. During the visit, we stopped at Miners Beach to enjoy some time in the sand.It was fun seeing Lake Superior from a different vantage point. More details here: Falling for Fall Foliage at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore.

I get a little wetter than planned in Lake Superior. Photo by Daniel.
Miners Castle Beach on Lake Superior in Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore

Lake Michigan

The next Great Lake on our itinerary was Lake Michigan. Daniel and I first encountered Lake Michigan at Indiana Dunes National Park. We then continued up the coast and got to get further acquainted with the lake at Warren Dunes State Park in Michigan. Both parks have miles of lovely beaches. More details here: Indiana Dunes: The National Park You’ve Never Heard of and A Lazy Beach Day at Warren Dunes State Park.

Dipping my feet in Lake Michigan at Indiana Dunes National Park
Daniel braves the water at Warren Dunes State Park

Lake Huron

Our visit to Lake Huron was a brief one. Although we first saw Lake Huron on our drive across the Mackinac Bridge, I didn’t dip my feet into the lake until our return trip. We stopped at the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse on the south side of the bridge so that I could make it official. More details here: A Long Travel Day Across Michigan.

Standing in Lake Huron with the Mackinac Bridge in the background

Lake Erie

Our first encounter with Lake Erie was at the Sandusky/Bayshore KOA Campground in Ohio. We got some nice views of a little corner of the lake but I didn’t put my feet into the water. The shore was rocky and the water looked a bit marshy and gross. More details here: The Pandemic Dilemma: Traveling across America during COVID-19.

Lake Erie as viewed from the Sandusky/Bayshore KOA Campground in Ohio

Since I didn’t dip my feet into Lake Erie while we were in Ohio, Daniel and I rectified the situation on our drive to New York. We pulled off of I-90 at Westlake Public Beach and parked on the pier. It’s a cute little beach only minutes away from the Interstate. The waves were really choppy that day so I got a bit wetter than I planned.

Standing in Lake Erie at Westlake Public Beach
View of Appa parked on the pier
Westlake Public Beach
Big waves today
Oops! Those waves are bigger than I anticipated.

Lake Ontario

Daniel and I encountered our fifth, and final, Great Lake at Four Mile Creek State Park in New York. Located on Lake Ontario, the park provides distant views of Toronto all the way across the other side of the lake. This park doesn’t have a swimming beach or sand. Most of the coastline is comprised of cliffs but there is one rocky sandbar where the creek flows into the lake. I wore flipflops and a puffy jacket for this encounter.

Braving the cold waters of Lake Ontario at Four Mile Creek State Park
There’s Toronto in the distance!

Four Mile Creek State Park

Daniel and I camped at Four Mile Creek State Park due to its proximity to Niagra Falls but ended up loving the park in its own right. We lucked into a campsite with a waterfront view and it was incredible. Plus there weren’t many other people around since we camped mid-week. I heard that it was pretty packed on the weekends though.

Our campsite at Four Mile Creek State Park. The lake is just on the other side of the road.
A cool marshy area where Four Mile Creek meets Lake Ontario
The sandbar at Four Mile Creek
Lake Ontario
Photo bomb!

Where are we now?

We are at Four Mile Creek State Park on Lake Ontario!

Date: October 7, 2020
Great American Road Trip Status: Day 94
Starting Location: Streetsboro/SE Cleveland KOA
Ending Location: Four Mile Creek State Park – Youngstown, NY

Miles Traveled: 237
Total Trip Mileage: 6333.2

For more details on our Great America (Socially Distanced) Road Trip, see my previous posts:

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