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This thread is for those people that plan to cruise or have cruised the Great Lakes during the summer and wish to share their plans, experiences, local knowledge, etc..
For example; what are your favorite spots? Best places for kids? Best food? best marinas? Festivals?

My wife and I will be cruising Lake Michigan and upper Lake Huron during July and August with my twin 7 year olds and are looking for new adventures.

Looking forward to reading your comments.
 

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arrgh!
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Yeah... I mentioned in another thread I would like to cruise the Great Lakes

Used to live in Toledo and still trave to Put in Bay.. seems like a good place for kids during the day.. at night for adults who have not grown up. Also ---- as far as kids... in Sandusky (same area) is the amusement part Cedar Point

http://www.great-lakes-sailing.com/Great Lakes Sailing Guide
 

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Beaver Island and surrounding islands in Northern Lake Michigan are fascinating. North Channel in Northern Lake Huron is breath taking. Petoskey and Harbor Springs, on Little Traverse Bay, in Michigan are awesome towns with a lot of everything from art, food, culture etc. Maybe Mackinac Island by the Mackinaw Bridge since you have young children. If you are not familiar you should check it out. Many many cool and interesting things to see and do. Great Lakes encompass a huge geographic area and this is but a small part. Enjoy
 

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A couple of thoughts on some places in West Arm of Grand Traverse Bay...
1. Apple Island (goes by other names as well)— small island north of Traverse City, great place for families. Anchor on the east side of the angle, near the bottom. There are outhouses on the island and a trail around. Holding ground is sand. Check depths carefully; the sand shifts.
2. Traverse City - What can I say? It's the cool place now... hard to get into and out of and slips there can be difficult to get. No good places to anchor.
3. Suttons Bay Marina - I used to live in Suttons Bay and it's my favorite port in the area. The marina has guest slips with a depth of about 5 ft (check with them, it varies), also a long wharf with deeper spots. You can also anchor off the marina. The marina has a large park and swimming area. Access to restaurants, shops, movie theater and ice cream and a nice village to just walk.
4. Omena Bay— Great place to anchor but it takes a bit of skill. The bay has a shelf around it with a steep, steep drop off. The key is to find a space where you can get your hook down without having to put out enough scope that you could end up aground. Try the north side of the bay, half way down. There is a restaurant on shore, not much else.
5. There is a bay north of Omena point that doesn't have a name as far as I know. It's another shelf with a deep center place, but a great place to anchor and swim. Shore is private.
6. Northport- nice municipal marina, nice village, great bakery.
 

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I would suggest anything with a beach or play ground;). We usually find something they like at most towns we have stopped at.

We sail on lake Erie. My kids are 6 & 9. Their fav trip we do before school the last 3yrs is 1 night anchoring out.. Lots of swimming and sometimes a beach at Kelly's island, next day at cedar point water park, then a day on the rides, next day put in bay.. They love the gem mining thing there, winery (fresh grape juice), golf cart rides, and a great playground. Mom and dad get some sailing in all but one day so everyone is happy! For us it's a 6-9hr trip to the islands depending how much we motor :)
 

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Hi there. We are contemplating a week of cruising/sailing with our family on the Great Lakes this summer. Kids are 9, 11, 15. Will be a bit crowded in our 26' boat so we are looking for lots of outing possibilities on shore. Eastern Lake Ontario (Bay of Quinte area) has been recommended as beautiful. But, I'm not sure about beaches or kid-friendly activities in that area. I'm intrigued by Western lake Erie, Cedar Point, etc. However, the current algae bloom crisis each summer tends to scare me off. If we can't go swimming, we're done! Recommendations? Thanks
 

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We sail this area a lot. I would not worry to much about the alge issues. You can see it and it's easy to know when not to jump overboard. Cedar point, vermilion, the islands (put-in-bay, pelee, Kelly's, etc) are usually not to effected vs toledo, oh where that stuff washes in. I have not been to lake Ontario but there is a lot to in this area that can keep the kids interested and allows for some fun sailing :) if you plan it right.
 

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Hi again. If you are from south west lake Erie, when does the algae generally begin to form each summer? Mid-july? What size of boat do you sail? I have heard that, because of erie's shallow depth, she can get pretty choppy, pretty fast.
 

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The algea can be bad by late summer depending on how much rain (run off from the farms) we experience. The lake can produce square waves, NE is generally the worst, not uncommon to see 6 footers with a 3 second period when it blows. But the west end of the lake is fun with many island to visit and enjoy, our favorite is Pellee Island, big beach, quiet, clear water. If you go there bring your passport and is can pass to check in. Check back into the US at PIB.
 

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Hi again. If you are from south west lake Erie, when does the algae generally begin to form each summer? Mid-july? What size of boat do you sail? I have heard that, because of erie's shallow depth, she can get pretty choppy, pretty fast.
We sailed four of the five Lakes last season, coming down from Thunder Bay to Lake Ontario. I've been sailing Superior for a decade, so I was ready to be underwhelmed by the "little" Lakes of Erie and Ontario. Boy, was I wrong :confused:

Yes, Superior can throw up much bigger seas, and has far greater fetches, but Erie can go from flat calm to boiling, steep, short-wavelength, messy seas in a matter of 15 minutes. It's the Lake the spooked me the most :eek:.

Not trying to scare you off. It's a beautiful Lake. The western end is a great place to explore. Pelee Island is wonderful and Long Point is a great place to anchor off of. Port Dover is wonderful stop (bljones is a great host :)). We explored the lower end of the Grand River... and that's just the Canadian side. Watch out for well heads and fishing nets. You'll have a great time.
 

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There are no all weather sheltered anchorages around the Islands in Western Lake Erie. Note these islands are limestone. Consult your charts as navigation mistakes are crunchy. The anchorages are wind direction dependent. North side of Kelly's Island is good when wind is from South West, South, Southeast. Untenable all other times. Anchorage in Schoolhouse Bay off Middle Bass is good for North and Northeast winds. Anchorage on west side of Pelee south of Scudders for South East, East, Northeast winds. The other anchorages are adversely affected by reflected power boat slop which makes them unusable. There are marinas at Kellys, Put-in-Bay, Middle Bass Island, and Pelee Island. Also mooring balls at Put in Bay which require a $35/night fee.

If you want to go to Cedar Point in Sandusky Bay there is a Marina on site along with several other marinas on the south side of Sandusky Bay. A not so well known tip is that the Sandusky Sailing Club has free dockage for visiting yacht club members for up to 5 nights. Totally protected marina, floating docks, with full utilities and showers etc. Max sailboat size is 40' and depths to 7'.

There are a few places in Sandusky Bay that you could anchor in like Bay Point sandbar and off Lions Park. These anchorages are wind direction dependent.

Lake Erie can be a tough place to sail but with all the available weather information it is manageable. Good planning and eye to the western sky is important. You will be fine. If you are coming from the East (Port Colborne?) Plan your trip based on the wind direction. Sometimes it pays to sail diagonally across the lake to get the right wind direction. There are plenty of ports on both sides of the lake as you sail west. Port Stanley, Port Dover, Erieau, Leamington, Pelee Island on the Canadian side, Dunkirk NY (tricky), Erie Pa, Ashtabula, Geneva, Grand River, Mentor (tricky), Cleveland, Edgewater, Lorain, Vermillion, Huron, Sandusky, and Port Clinton on the US side.
 

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I'd call first. I've seen boats from Lake Ontario there before. My sense is that they are pretty accommodating about it. Just make sure you contact the Sailing Club, the Sandusky Yacht Club is a whole other story.
 
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