In this episode of Tough Boats we adventure through America’s Midwest across the Great Lakes of North America. Bordering Canada in the North and the USA in the South, the Great Lakes are the largest reservoir of fresh water in the world containing 6 quadrillion gallons of water! As well as being home to around 34 million people, it’s also one of the world’s busiest shipping routes transporting 80 million tonnes of goods per year.
We started our episode on the Detroit River, bridging the gap between Lake Huron and Lake Erie. We then travelled north up route 23 which hugs Lake Huron’s rugged coast. After crossing Mackinac bridge, and a brief stop on the beautiful Mackinac Island, we visited Whitefish point and the deadly Shipwreck Coast. The final part of our journey saw us hopping on board the Great Lakes largest vessel, the Paul R Tregurtha, and travelling through the St Mary’s River and the Soo Locks into the largest lake in the world, Lake Superior. We finished our epic adventure at the twin ports of Duluth and Superior having cruised over 400 miles to the most western point in the lakes.
- GENERAL INFO
- TOP TEN MUST SEE + DO
- DON'T FORGET
- EATING AND DRINKING
- SAULT STE MARIE + SOO LOCKS
- MACKINAC ISLAND
- PORT HURON
- ST IGNACE
WHEN TO VISIT
Michigan’s winters (December – March) can be brutally cold and the entire lakes can freeze over. The summer season May – October will give you better weather and a chance to get on the water and enjoy some boats!
WHAT TO WEAR
The Great Lakes offer a huge range of resorts from the luxurious Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island to lake side camping spots.
The nearest airports to the section of the Great Lakes that we travelled on are Detroit, Minneapolis, Sault Ste Marie and Alpena. Route 23 takes you by land on a spectacular tour of the sunshine coast.
The best way to explore the great lakes is to hire a car or go by boat.
TOP TEN MUST SEE + DO
1. Mackinaw Island
2. Detroit History Tours
3. Visit Detroit Yacht Club
4. Visit Soo Locks at Sault Ste Marie
Great Lakes U.S. Army Corps
Detroit District – Lake Superior
Boat schedule hotline
Phone: +1 906-253-9290
7. Visit Oscoda Lumberjack Monument
8. Take a trip over Mackinac Bridge
9. Snorkel the Bermuda at Munising
10. Visit Fort Mackinac, Mackinac Island
1. Swim wear
2. Sun cream
3. An appetite!
4. A good road map
5. Walking boots
EATING AND DRINKING
American portions are BIG! Local dishes included whitefish and walleye from Lake Huron, Mackinac Fudge, and Pasties from the northern Peninsula.
Mackinac Island is a haven for souvenirs and local crafts and famous for its fudge. The shipwreck museum at Whitefish point has a fantastic gift shop with great books, clothing and shipwreck memorabilia.
SAULT STE MARIE + SOO LOCKS
J.W. Westcott Mailboat