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post #8 of Old 03-20-2019
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Re: Suggestions Please for Great Lakes Bucket List Cruise

Hey PeterVV,

This is a great time to pull out the charts and dream about the upcoming season. The "season" is a key item to consider when planning if your ultimate goal is being on the Hudson and heading south before the NY Canal system closes. So begin with the end in mind and also know that our brothers to the north are a bit stricter with radios licences, holding tank lockouts and port-of-entry procedures. Make sure you know/comply with their rules before you venture into Canadian waters.

(We sail Lake Michigan out of Milwaukee and often spend our time north from a line Winthrop Harbor to South Haven.)

Now the fun stuff . . . It sounds like you tend to enjoy the local sights, sounds and flavors as you sail from here to there. Lake Michigan is dramatically different on the WI side vs MI side. The WI side has no anchorages from Chicago to Door County. Great for quick N/S travel but has limited tourist interest. The MI side can be dangerous if you are sailing to a calendar schedule and like to explore local attractions. The coastal communities on the MI side have re-invented themselves as tourist destinations for visitors from both the land and the lake. Great marina support exists from South Haven north to the Manitou's and Leland. There are quite a few places where you can drop the hook vs tied to a dock.

From Leland/Manitou's you have a choice to take a side trip over to WI and the Door County/Green Bay area. This will easily consume a week.

Grand Traverse Bay can consume nearly a week on its own if you venture south all the way to Traverse City and do touristy things.

North of Leland and Grand Traverse Bay are Beaver Island and/or the Charlevoix/Petoskey area. And then you head for the Mackinac Bridge.

A touristy trip, the length of Lake Michigan, can easily consume four or five weeks.

Things to know about Lake Michigan in general:

May . . . cold! Early June . . . unpredictable weather and often brisk temps. Quite a few places aren't open until later in the May.

Many of the municipal marinas are now operating with/through centralized reservation systems. Most of the MI side uses the MI DNR camping/boating reservation website. Many of the WI ports are using the DockWA reservation system. The days of spontaneous overnight port stops (call/radio ahead to ask for transit dock space) are just about done.


`99 Beneteau Oceanis 352, #282 WiTCHCRAFT
Milwaukee, WI
Sailing Lake Michigan and the Great Lakes

Last edited by MSN2Travelers; 03-20-2019 at 03:07 PM.
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