Notices

Round trip Lake Michigan?

Old 10-26-2020, 09:21 PM
  #1  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 1,179
Received 324 Likes on 154 Posts
Default Round trip Lake Michigan?

So my wife and I are looking for our next boating vacation, and were thinking of Lake Michigan (summer of 2021).
How feasible would it be with a 32' cruiser to start in Portage, head east, quick stop in St Joe, then spend the night in Holland (marina).
Next day visit Muskegon, then up to Ludington to overnight in the marina.
Next day, visit Frankfort, and overnight in Leland.
Next day, visit some of the islands, and overnight in Charlevoix marina.
Next day, cross the lake and overnight in Escabana.
Next day, head south and overnight on Two Rivers
Next day visit Sheboygan and overnight in Milwaukee
Next day stay in Waukegan
Last day go to Chicago, and then back to Portage.

Is that doable? Or too much? Any must-see areas we are bypassing?
Old 10-27-2020, 06:50 AM
  #2  
Admirals Club Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2013
Location: Green Bay, WI
Posts: 680
Received 169 Likes on 107 Posts
Default

Fayette State Park is a nice small scenic and historic site with a small marina. Make a reservation if you plan on staying during season.
https://www2.dnr.state.mi.us/parksan...=417&type=SPRK

If you go down the Green Bay side of the Door County peninsula there are a lot of small touristy towns.
Sister Bay is a nice marina close to shopping and dining.
Ephraim has a couple nice beaches and you can anchor out by the swimming beach, Nicolet Bay, or the small bay in Horseshoe Island but it is almost impossible to get into a marina slip.
Fish Creek has lots of shops and dining. Very busy during the summer so make reservations. Alibi marina in fish creek treats you good.
Egg Harbor is also a nice town and marina.
All of these Door County marinas will be busy during the summer so call ahead.
Cut through back to Lake Michigan at Sturgeon Bay.

I've never stayed in Two Rivers so don't know much about it.
Harbor Centre Marina in Sheboygan is nice and about a half mile walk to the river boardwalk that has shopping and dining, or you can take a boat ride up the river and dock to eat at some places.
Port Washington Marina is nice and located right in the downtown shopping and dining area, if you stay at the "inner" marina the shops are right there.
Milwaukee only had a small coffee shop in the area of the marina the last time I was there but you can take your boat up the river for dinner.


Old 10-27-2020, 06:00 PM
  #3  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 1,179
Received 324 Likes on 154 Posts
Default

Great info, Jhackl, thank you so much!
Sounds like a much better option to take the Green Bay side, looks like it would be a great trip.
Thanks again!
Old 10-27-2020, 07:22 PM
  #4  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,449
Received 313 Likes on 194 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by berrie View Post
So my wife and I are looking for our next boating vacation, and were thinking of Lake Michigan (summer of 2021).
How feasible would it be with a 32' cruiser to start in Portage, head east, quick stop in St Joe, then spend the night in Holland (marina).
Next day visit Muskegon, then up to Ludington to overnight in the marina.
Next day, visit Frankfort, and overnight in Leland.
Next day, visit some of the islands, and overnight in Charlevoix marina.
Next day, cross the lake and overnight in Escabana.
Next day, head south and overnight on Two Rivers
Next day visit Sheboygan and overnight in Milwaukee
Next day stay in Waukegan
Last day go to Chicago, and then back to Portage.

Is that doable? Or too much? Any must-see areas we are bypassing?
Seems like you want to go around the whole late in 9 days. It leaves little time to enjoy each place you stop at. I'd like to do a loop around the lake, but I'd probably want to do it in 3-4 weeks minimum.

Your plan also doesn't seem to account for potential weather delays.

Some places you want to stop may need advance reservations, especially in the summer. Hopefully, the covid thing will be over by then, but who knows. I know that this summer a lot of places would not rent you a slip without an advance reservation, even if you were standing there with cash in your hand.
Old 10-28-2020, 08:11 PM
  #5  
Senior Member
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Feb 2015
Location: Kansas City
Posts: 1,179
Received 324 Likes on 154 Posts
Default

Ssobol,

You are correct about the relatively short duration for such a trip, we did already discuss that.
Unfortunately I only have so much vacation, and staying in marinas and food for 4 while on the boat isn't necessarily inexpensive either.
We wouldn't want to go if there was some bad weather in the forecast, which makes making reservations more of a challenge. But maybe it will also be a blessing by dictating our speed due to unavailability of slips.
We're still just gathering info to see whether we would like to do this or not, and I greatly appreciate your input.
Old 10-28-2020, 10:45 PM
  #6  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Feb 2013
Posts: 1,449
Received 313 Likes on 194 Posts
Default

If you only have limited time I might suggest picking a section of the lake, say from St. Joe north to Manistee. On Lake MI harbors are around 20 miles apart. I would head north hitting every other one. On the way south I'd hit the alternate ones I missed on the way up. This way you could go as many stops up/down the lake as you like. Perhaps the weather will slow you down or you find a town you want to stay more than one night in.

Might also want to look into anchoring out some nights if your boat and crew are setup for it. Saves marina fees and can spare the food budget a bit by buying at the grocery store vs. a restaurant. Also, not rushing around trying to get all the way around the lake in a limited number of days is probably better on the fuel bill. I've anchored overnight on the river in St. Joe and also out on the lake when the weather is nice.
Old 10-29-2020, 09:12 PM
  #7  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: chicago
Posts: 243
Received 25 Likes on 16 Posts
Default

We do a lake Michigan trip almost every year. I agree with everyone that your trip maybe too aggressive for 9 days. I would agree with the suggestion of picking a section of the lake. Some observations about the Lake.
My observations:
  • Michigan side is nicer than the Wisconsin side.
  • Northern part of the lake is better than the southern
Might I suggest something like:
  • If you live in KC, trailer to Sturgeon Bay WI and put in. (Centerpoint marina is awesome)
  • Day 1 travel on the "inside" of the door county peninsula to Beaver Island. It will take a full day and there are several islands. You can visit all of Beaver Island in a night/morning
  • Day 2 Beaver Island-Mackinaw Island (technically in Lake Huron)--short trip
  • spend 1-2 days at Mackinaw...research this island it is GREAT
  • Day 4 travel from Mackinaw to Bay Harbour/Harbor Springs MI
  • Spend 1/2 day-day visiting towns
  • Day 6 Frankfort/Manitou Islands and then head back to Sturgeon Bay
this leaves you some weather days as well.

Lake Michigan is great (especially the northern part)

enjoy,
mark
Old 10-30-2020, 09:20 AM
  #8  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Sep 2010
Location: 615
Posts: 3,761
Received 804 Likes on 406 Posts
Default

Lots of good commentary here. You could allocate 20 days and still not consume all of Door County, Big Bay deNoc, Little Bay deNoc and nearby sites. If putting in on the west side of the lake and crossing to Ludington (for example), you could easily have your plans screwed with 3 days of strong northerlies. In any case, you'll love the trip; ENJOY!!!
Old 11-01-2020, 11:43 AM
  #9  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Mar 2016
Posts: 151
Received 43 Likes on 23 Posts
Default

Definitely like the northern half of the lake better scenery wise. Charlevoix is a great little town. Lots in walking distance. Bay harbor/ petoskey area Definitely stay at bay harbor vs petoskey/ harbor springs. Beaver Island is a nice stop. Fayette park is beautiful.

I keep my boat at bay harbor, if you end up doing this drop me a line!

Good luck
Old 11-15-2020, 08:35 AM
  #10  
Junior Member
 
Join Date: Jul 2020
Location: Muskegon Michigan
Posts: 13
Received 0 Likes on 0 Posts
Default

The Michigan side is MUCH nicer. The Michigan Department of Natural Resources reserves a few slips in every port and they are easy booked and cancelled online if you plans change due to weather, etc. Just Google the DNR site and you'll see where to book slips.
Old 11-20-2020, 05:52 PM
  #11  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Apr 2009
Location: Michigan
Posts: 4,424
Received 1,185 Likes on 649 Posts
Default

I'd agree with most/all of what has been said. In 9 days no way I'd try to loop the lake. You would miss a lot of good stuff, just burn fuel, and likely not make it with normal weather that kicks up.

Trailer up to Green Bay area. Hit a place or two and cross to Beaver Island, then many great places in all directions. Charlevoix is nice, plus if weather is bad you can spend a day going inland to Boyne City. Harbor Springs, Petosky, Traverse City. Fish town is very nice (Leland).

A sunset table outside at Beaver Island Lodge is to this day one of my best meals... great food and amazing sunset.

Or trailer up east side of lake, Ludington or north and do the same kind of trip staying on east side of Lk Mich. The places further south are OK, but more of a place to keep a boat and day trip out on the lake, or to leave from, but really not worth hitting. Grand Haven and Holland are OK, but more big city stuff than nice boating marinas, etc.
Old 11-23-2020, 05:05 PM
  #12  
Admirals ClubCaptains Club Member Admiral's Club Member
 
Join Date: Jun 2005
Location: Monroe, MI
Posts: 822
Received 340 Likes on 137 Posts
Default

Originally Posted by ericinmich View Post
I'd agree with most/all of what has been said. In 9 days no way I'd try to loop the lake. You would miss a lot of good stuff, just burn fuel, and likely not make it with normal weather that kicks up.

Trailer up to Green Bay area. Hit a place or two and cross to Beaver Island, then many great places in all directions. Charlevoix is nice, plus if weather is bad you can spend a day going inland to Boyne City. Harbor Springs, Petosky, Traverse City. Fish town is very nice (Leland).

A sunset table outside at Beaver Island Lodge is to this day one of my best meals... great food and amazing sunset.

Or trailer up east side of lake, Ludington or north and do the same kind of trip staying on east side of Lk Mich. The places further south are OK, but more of a place to keep a boat and day trip out on the lake, or to leave from, but really not worth hitting. Grand Haven and Holland are OK, but more big city stuff than nice boating marinas, etc.
I fully agree with this. While downtown Holland is nice, you would have to Uber to it from any of the Marinas. Saugatuck is cool, but really not overly exciting. The further north you go the better as the little towns are true old port towns - i.e. they exist because the port on Lake MI exists - thus everything is really close. It is really cool to read the history on most of them and how they started as logging or fishing locations.

JD
Old 11-25-2020, 08:24 AM
  #13  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: Southeast Michigan
Posts: 2,840
Received 222 Likes on 179 Posts
Default

The Michigan shore of Lake Michigan is usually the lee shore. Winds are typically from the Southwest. Weather patterns are very unpredictable. It is not unusual for wind speeds greater than 20-knots to occur with wave heights of several feet developing. Those conditions are not conducive to coastal cruising along the Michigan shoreline.

As an example, we cruised northwest Lake Michigan in August 2019. Initially we were planning to start at Leland, and head across the lake to Fayette. Lake Michigan had been unusually flat all summer. However, the winds predicted for our launch date were much too high for a pleasant 65-mile crossing. We decided to drive the boat over to the West side of the lake on the trailer.

On a Saturday we trailered to Escanaba and launched there. They have an excellent facility. We next visited Fayette, then on south to Wisconsin at Sister Bay for a couple nights. Thence to Chambers Island--a private island but we have good friends there. At that point the weather forecast warned of sustained 35-knot winds with seas developing to five-feet or higher. We departed a day early on Thursday to Escanaba in much more pleasant conditions. We hauled out on Friday and went home. One boat that was in our fleet came over from Lake Huron on its own bottom. They were weathered in at Escanaba for a week.

To expect nine consecutive days of calm on Lake Michigan is a bit too optimistic. In my experience, you can only enjoy the Michigan shoreline of Lake Michigan on selected days when the winds and waves permit pleasant boating. There is a reason that the State of Michigan has provided a "Harbor of Refuge" about every 25-miles along the shore line--you need to be able to get off the lake in a hurry on many days.

Last edited by jhebert; 11-25-2020 at 08:32 AM.
Old 01-20-2021, 06:43 PM
  #14  
Senior Member
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Shores of Lake Mich
Posts: 747
Received 87 Likes on 52 Posts
Default

Northern part of lake is best.
The weather is most likely to be calm from mid-July to end of August. June the water is still cold, September the nights can be a bit too chill.
You will likely have a day that's too rough in 9 days, maybe two, depends upon direction you are going and your tolerance for the ride.
There are lots of little hops if you start as recommended by a night at Beaver Island, then its 25-30 miles to a bunch of great towns all mentioned above.
My wife and I did Charlevoix to Charlevoix this summer and spent time at Beaver, Mackinaw, Les Chenaux channel, then Harbor and then final day wandering Lake Charlevoix. We had two days where the boat earned it's reputation as a big wave machine, the rest of the time was smooth to moderate chop. We took our bikes, and had a ton of fun riding around, but you can rent them at Mac and in Bay Harbor (thought that was a while ago.)

Bay harbor is a great spot for a night, then pop over to Harbor Springs and dock at their shoppers dock, enjoy the town. There are at least a dozen other great spots that are being skipped in this list. Sunset in Boyne City, Sunrise at South Manitou, Leland for fish and a beer......you gotta go 40 or so summers and still not see it all!
Likes:

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are Off
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off


Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Contact Us - Archive - Advertising - Cookie Policy - Privacy Statement - Terms of Service - Do Not Sell My Personal Information -

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.