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The Great Lakes

With a ‘fall’ that rivals New England and serene crystal clear lakes, rolling hills and plenty of quaint villages to visit, this region offers spectacular lakeside vistas. Recreational activities include hiking, biking and boating centred around 1400 miles of shoreline and 11000 lakes.

Chicago is a gateway to the largest expanse of freshwater in the world roughly the size of continental Europe. Located on Lake Michigan this city is an architectural delight thanks to Frank Lloyd Wright who constructed many buildings here. For spectacular views of landmark skyscrapers take the fastest elevator in the world (39 seconds) to the 94th floor of the Hancock Building. Shopping here is fantastic and musicians from the Deep South invented ‘electric blues’ here which is played in dark, smoky clubs downtown.

Beyond the cosmopolitan city lie rolling hills, picturesque river towns and rugged wilderness. The Shawnee National Forest offers diverse scenery of rock formations, canyons, lakes and forests. Lake Michigan is the world’s sixth largest lake with 1400 miles of shoreline. This area boasts more white sand beaches than Hawaii and towns offering quaint cafes and galleries dot the coastline. The ‘fall’ is beautiful here and nature’s colours provide stunning rich reds, yellows and deep royal purples set against the vivid blue of the lake itself.

Recreational activities range from hiking and biking through state parks to boating and fishing on the 11,000 lakes. Michigan produces award winning wines and there are many trails to follow and chances to sample the produce!

Visit Hiawatha National Forest flanked by Lake Michigan, Lake Huron and Lake Superior and the setting of the famous poem Song of Hiawatha by Henry Longfellow. Cascading waterfalls and canoe trails abound to transport you to the land of the Native American Indians.

A ferry across Lake Huron will take you to the fascinating Mackinac Island where motor vehicles are banned and taxis consist of horse drawn carriages. See re- enactments of local history at Fort Mankinac or rent a bicycle to tour the island. Nearby Mackinaw City allows you to see the sun rise over Lake Huron and set on Lake Michigan which is truly breathtaking.

The Mississippi lazily meanders its way through Grand Rapids in Minnesota as just a gentle stream through Twin Cities as it gathers momentum on its way to the Gulf Coast. This area is full of legend and folklore, pine trees and secluded lakes.

This is where the USA borders Ontario in Canada and crystal clear waters provide a playground for game fish and wildlife such as black bear, deer and moose that roam the forests.

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