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  • Chicago
  • Milwaukee
  • Green Bay
  • Hiawatha National Forest
  • St Ignace
  • Mackinac Island
  • Traverse City
  • Detroit
  • Toronto
  • Niagara
  • Cleveland
  • Chicago

The large lakes are impressive on their own,  but together as a group they form the largest freshwater area on earth. From the magnificent spectacle of Niagara Falls and the Victorian charm of the island of Mackinac with its rolling dunes, to miles of white sandy beaches, emerald green forests, flamboyant sunsets and countless interesting places. This ambitious route along the banks of the Great Lakes takes you on a journey through their unparalleled landscapes and adventurous nature.

Individual

Day 1 & 2 - Chicago

Welcome to Chicago, one of the largest cities in the United States, Chicago's unique architecture, attractions and local charm make it an unforgettable destination.

What has Chicago got in store for you? Well you might discover the Magnificent Mile, one of the main arteries of the city. Walk along the lake. Take an architectural cruise. Visit the second highest building in North America, the Willis Tower. Discover incredible 360 ° CHICAGO panoramas. View the stunning Cloud Gate reflections in Millennium Park. Enjoy the colourful light and sound show of the Buckingham Fountain or indulge in a delicious deep dish pizza, a specialty. Whatever you choose, Windy City will surprise you with the impressive array of things you can see and do.

Standard Hotel:  South Loop hotel
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Day 3 - Chicago > Milwaukee

Time to discover the largest city in Wisconsin, Milwaukee. This friendly Midwestern city is just 120 km from Chicago and is a mix of tradition and fashionable scenes on the shores of Lake Michigan. The Milwaukee River, which runs through the inner city, invites rowers and kayakers for a trip on its water. Take a tour of the city's brewing heritage or explore unique attractions such as the Milwaukee Art Museum, Miller Park and the world's only Harley-Davidson Museum.

Standard Hotel:  Hampton Inn Milwaukee/Brookfield
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Day 4 - Milwaukee > Green Bay

How about a visit to Green Bay, the oldest community in Wisconsin? Lake Michigan borders the northern part of the city.. This is the place to be if you want to explore nature and educate yourself about the importance of preserving these natural buffers and landscapes in the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary. Railway enthusiasts will be in seventh heaven during a visit to the National Railroad Museum, one of the oldest and largest museums dedicated to the country's rich rail heritage. NFL football fans are sure to have a blast during a visit to the Green Bay Packers Hall of Famers at Lambeau Field, a must.

Standard Hotel:  Aloft Green Bay
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Day 5 - Green Bay > Hiawatha National Forest > St Ignace

The northwest coast of Lake Michigan offers breath-taking views of the coastline and takes you through the scenic Hiawatha National Forest and Manistique to St. Ignace. St. Ignace is known as the "gateway to the Upper Peninsula" where the great Huron and Michigan merge. Take a walk along the Huron Boardwalk to experience purest Michigan and let yourself be inspired by the easy-going, effortless lifestyle of this region with blue waters, green forests and incredibly beautiful hidden gems.

 

Standard Hotel:  BW Harbour Pointe Lakefront
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Day 6 - St Ignace > Mackinac Island > St Ignace

By ferry you reach the timeless island of Mackinac, the pearl of the Great Lakes. Cars are prohibited here. If you want to move around here it is by bike or the horse-drawn carriage. Fort Mackinac sits atop of a cliff and offers a wonderful views of Mackinac Sound, or admire the view from the veranda of the Grand Hotel. At the end of the afternoon you return to St-Ignace.

Standard Hotel:  BW Harbour Pointe Lakefront
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Day 7 - St Ignace > Traverse City > Detroit

Cross the Mackinac Bridge that connects the Upper and Lower Michigan Peninsula with Mackinac Strait and head south through Petoskey, a splendid piece of USA and the cherry capital of the United States: Traverse City. Your final destination today is the "Motor City", Detroit!

Standard Hotel:  Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Riverfront
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Day 8 - Detroit

Whether you want to spend the day in a museum or rather on the lake, there is plenty to do in Detroit. The car of model T. 1909 was born in the Ford Piquette Avenue factory here. In the Henry Ford Museum you will discover America, its culture, its inventions, its people and its initiatives. There is also a river promenade, stunning art galleries, Motown's first recording studio, beautiful beaches, shopping centres and "to die for" restaurants.

Standard Hotel:  Crowne Plaza Detroit Downtown Riverfront
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Day 9 - Detroit > Toronto

Over the border with Canada lies your next destination Toronto, the capital of Ontario and the largest city in the country and home to a dynamic mix of attractions ranging from museums and galleries to the famous CN Tower. Toronto has everything you can expect from a world class city.

Standard Hotel:  Chelsea Hotel
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Day 10 - Toronto

Today you will spend the day exploring the major sights of Toronto. Immerse yourself in the secrets of the Royal Ontario Museum, Canada's largest museum of world cultures and natural history, stroll through the historic distillery district or board a ferry and explore the islands of Toronto. You will find beautiful beaches along the water, holiday homes from the 1920s, a labyrinth to test your courage and insight, a spooky lighthouse and much more.

Standard Hotel:  Chelsea Hotel
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Day 11 - Toronto > Niagara

Only one and a half hour's drive from Toronto, one of the seven wonders of the world is awaiting your visit: the thundering Niagara Falls, its many museums, restaurants and a wide range of activities.

Standard Hotel:  Days Inn by Wyndham Clifton Hill Casino
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Day 12 - Niagara

A whole day in Niagara is fun-filled in no time. Sail the boat to the foot of the powerful waterfalls and enjoy the wet breeze as well as beating the strong currents and the fabulous views from the foot of the Falls. OR choose a different perspective. How about a view and feeling from behind the water falls as you see, hear, feel tons of water thundering down before your eyes as you descend to the viewing platforms.

Standard Hotel:  Days Inn by Wyndham Clifton Hill Casino
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Day 13 - Niagara > Cleveland

If you are looking for a small beach on the way to Cleveland then the Presque Isle State Park is a must. Cleveland is a culturally diverse city on the shores of Lake Erie. You will find all the attractions that contribute to exciting and fun adventures. Rock and Roll with musical legends or enjoy culinary delights from all four corners of the world in one of the incredible restaurants of the city.

Standard Hotel:  DoubleTree by Hilton Hotel Cleveland Downtown Lakeside
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Day 14 - Cleveland > Chicago

If you fancy a leisurely drive back to Chicago along the banks of the two Great Lakes, make sure you plan a stop at the Marblehead Lighthouse along the Lake Erie Coastal Trail and the Indiana Dunes National Park. In Chicago itself the Navy Pier is the place par excellence for a night out of dining and entertainment. The perfect setting to spend your last night on Lake Michigan.

Standard Hotel:  South Loop hotel
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Day 15 - Chicago

End of your Great Lakes adventure!

Hotels & Meals

Mainstream American cuisine is similar to that in other Western countries. Wheat is the primary cereal grain. Traditional American cuisine uses indigenous ingredients, such as turkey, venison, potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, squash, and maple syrup, which were consumed by Native Americans and early European settlers.

Slow-cooked pork and beef barbecue, crab cakes, potato chips, and chocolate chip cookies are distinctively American foods. Soul food, developed by African slaves, is popular around the South and among many African Americans elsewhere. Syncretic cuisines such as Louisiana Creole, Cajun, and Tex-Mex are regionally important. The confectionery industry in the United States includes The Hershey Company, the largest chocolate manufacturer in North America. In addition, Frito-Lay, a subsidiary of PepsiCo, is the largest globally distributed snack food company in the world. The United States has a vast breakfast cereal industry that includes brands such as Kellogg's and General Mills.

Characteristic dishes such as apple pie, fried chicken, pizza, hamburgers, and hot dogs derive from the recipes of various immigrants. French fries, Mexican dishes such as burritos and tacos, and pasta dishes freely adapted from Italian sources are widely consumed. Americans generally prefer coffee to tea. Marketing by U.S. industries is largely responsible for making orange juice and milk ubiquitous breakfast beverages.

The American fast food industry, the world's largest, pioneered the drive-through format in the 1930s. Fast food consumption has sparked health concerns. During the 1980s and 1990s, Americans' caloric intake rose 24%; frequent dining at fast food outlets is associated with what public health officials call the American "obesity epidemic". Highly sweetened soft drinks are widely popular, and sugared beverages account for nine percent of American caloric intake.

(Wikipedia)

Travel Documents

  • Travel documents: All Belgian nationals*  (children and babies included) must be in possession of an international e-passport (biometric) containing min. 2 blank pages,  valid at day of entry and during the entire stay. Connections recommends to let common sense prevail and to build in some slack in terms of validity. Often unforeseen circumstances (weather factors, volcanoes, and threats all kinds) are the cause of a mandatory postponed return date. A credit card is required upon check-in at the hotels and also when renting a car.Please keep this in mind. We strongly recommend you to print out the Esta- or Eta permit and to have it on you while you travel to avoid problems. 

  • All passengers who travel to and /or via the U.S. must apply for an electronic travel authorization at least 72 hours prior to departure. The ESTA procedure must be requested via the official website link https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov and paid by a personal credit card only.

  • Travellers with a non-Belgian nationality and / or travellers travelling on a foreign passport are invited to spontaneously report this matter to the Connections travel consultant and shall contact their respective embassy (s) or Consulate (ate) to obtain the latest updates concerning all current travel requirements and documents. They must apply for an electronic travel authorization at least 72 hours prior to departure via the official website link https://esta.cbp.dhs.gov and pay by a personal credit card only.

Insurances

Have a safe and carefree trip: travel fully insured with our Protections travel insurance! Our Protections insurance policies offer various formulas in order to offer you the widest possible cover (with even a fly-on-time, natural catastrophes and epidemics) for both single journeys or for the entire year.  We guarantee you the best protection at the best price. 

Tailored travel

The tours in our brochures are just a few examples of travel itineraries possible. Our trips can be tailored to suit your specific needs. If you want to book a specific destination or combine it with a mini-tour then we will gladly make you a tailor-made offer. For a personalised day-by-day program please contact our destination experts

Would you like to travel in a group; with your entire family, friends or colleagues? (min. 10 people required). Put our know-how to the test and send us your details and wishes. We will gladly turn the blueprints of your trip into a detailed quote and a lasting memory for you to cherish. Contact our Connections' Group Service by e-mail at groups@connections.be or by telephone on +32 (0)2 550 01 65. We would love to hear from you.

Health

No mandatory vaccinations. To verify the latest updates on health requirements, please surf to www.itg.be.
Medical interventions and costs can soon become outrageous in the U.S.A. Reflect before leaving and subscribe a decent travel insurance. Our protections All-in Premier insurance was especially designed specifically for travel to the U.S.A. and provides ample cover for all major calamities (fly-on-time and natural disasters included)!

Time Zones

The United States span 4 time zones:

  • Eastern (- 6 h)
  • Central (- 7 h)
  • Mountain (- 8 h)
  • Pacific (- 9 h)

Daylight saving time 2018: In The USA the clock is set forward in the night of Sunday 12 MAR 2017 at 2am.  In Belgium, the clock is set forward on Sunday 26 MAR 2017 at 02am. This entails that between 12 and 26 March, the time difference is one hour less than indicated above.

Winter time 2018: Belgium turns the clock back one hour on Sunday 29 OCT 2017 at 02am.  The USA turns back the arms of the clock on the night of Saturday, 5 nov at 2am. That entails that during the latter week the time difference is one hour less than indicated above.

Currency

Currency

US Dollar (USD), 1 USD = 0,92 EUR & 10 EUR = 10.83 USD (01/05/2020)

Payment Methods
  • A personal credit card is required upon check-in at the hotels and also when renting a car. The most convenient method of payment is by credit card but cash euros and dollars in small amount come in handy. Inform yourself timely, as from January 15, 2015 your Visa and/or MasterCard credit card (and possibly other types of credit cards) has automatically been set to "not for use in the US, for US car rental agencies and during cruises under the American flag".
  • You must then apply for a release of your credit card. This may be done prior to your arrival in the U.S. (in your bank branch or via the telephone number listed on the back of your credit card or by means of a special form available for PC banking) as well as after arrival in the US (through a withdrawal at an ATM. Please note, in this case there will be a transaction fee charged to your account). The same applies to the Maestro function in your bank card.

Climate

Average Temperatures (°C):
Destination J F M A M J J A S O N D
San Francisco 13 16 16 17 18 19 19 19 21 21 18 14
Las Vegas 14 17 21 26 31 37 40 39 34 27 19 14
New York  3  5 10 16 22 26 29 28 24 18 12  6
Miami 24 25 26 28 30 31 32 32 31 29 27 25
Chicago -1  2  8 15 22 27 29 28 24 17 9  2
Washington DC  6  8 13 19 24 29 31 30 26 20 14  8

What's included?

  • 14 night's accommodation in listed hotels or equivalent
  • Your E-roadbook

What's not included?

Your international return flight and car rental, unlisted meals and beverages aw well as personal expenses such as fuel, tips, etc
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