Coastal Michigan:The Shorlines of Michigan & Huron Cycling Tour
|Tour Cost: $3,450
(includes all lodging, all breakfasts and dinners, van shuttles, support van, leaders, tour maps & narratives)
As a cyclist, there is something absolutely mesmerizing about riding alongside water. Michigan Tourism boasts that the state has more than 11,000 lakes within its borders. The two that we care most about—Michigan and Huron—have a combined 600 miles of coastline that we’ll experience in the course of our Coastal Michigan program. And, in every sense, the quaint lakeside villages that dot the shorelines of Michigan and Huron are no less charming than those that mark the Oregon and California coasts.
Coastal Michigan assembles in Holland, well north of the busier coastal region at the southern tip of Lake Michigan. We’ll provide the short van shuttle from the Grand Rapids airport to Holland on Assembly Day. We’re headed north along the shore on Day 1, through the lakeside resort of Grand Haven, Muskegon to Whitehall, where we’ll spend our first overnight. Early morning of Day 2, we’ll ride inland to join the paved, off-road Hart-Montague Bike Trail, and then return to the coast and our overnight in Manistee.
The topography of western Michigan’s shoreline is dictated by the prevailing westerly winds that gain velocity as they cross the chilly waters of the lake and then whip over the sandy soil of the lake’s eastern shore, forming massive dunes that tower above the water in many locations. We’ll get our first taste of that markedly undulating terrain on Day 3 as we approach Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. We’ll ride the challenging Pierce Stocking Scenic Drive inside the park and later scramble up a dune opposite Glen Lake on our way through Glen Arbor to Leland. We’ll spend the night at the Leland Lodge, nestled on the narrow neck of land separating the big lake from Lake Leelanau.
Day 4 is dedicated to a grand tour of the Leelanau Peninsula. We’ll ride to land’s end at the northern tip of the peninsula early morning and visit the historic Grand Traverse Lighthouse in Leelanau State Park. We’ll continue along Grand Traverse Bay, through Northport and Suttons Bay, as we return to Traverse City and an evening at the historic Park Place Hotel. Count on ingesting a few calories before leaving Northport, however, because our route just happens to roll past the front door of what we believe to be one of the world’s great bakeries. We’ll trace the eastern shore of Torch Lake on our way to Charlevoix on Day 5, and spend this evening at the Weathervane Inn, with views of both Lake Michigan and Lake Charlevoix.
Day 6 is a delight! We’ll ride from Charlevoix to Petoskey and then trace the Lake Michigan coast through Harbor Springs to tiny Cross Village on what has been labeled as “Michigan’s most scenic road.” Along the way, plan on another of those deadly visits to a “killer” bakery in Good Hart and lunch at Leggs in Cross Village. A short ferry ride will carry us across the Straits of Mackinac to Mackinac Island, where we’ll spend two evenings at the Inn at Mackinac and a layover day to tour the island’s many historic and natural features.
We’ll catch the first ferry off the island on Day 8 and then ride the beautiful shoreline of Lake Huron through Cheboygan to Rogers City and our overnight on the lakeshore at The Driftwood. Our ride along the Huron shore continues on Day 9 to Oscoda, with an optional ride through Presque Isle along the way. Day 10, we’re headed through East Tawas to Bay City, where our Coastal Michigan Cycling Tour concludes. We’ll provide a van shuttle return to Grand Rapids, if needed.
|Day 1||Holland — Grand Haven-Muskegon — Whitehall||65 miles|
|Day 2||Whitehall — Hart-Montague Bike Trail — Ludington — Manistee||71 miles|
|Day 3||Manistee — Frankfort — Empire — Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore — Glen Arbor — Leland||84 miles|
|Day 4||Leland — Grand Traverse Lighthouse State Park — Suttons Bay — Traverse City||62 miles|
|Day 5||Traverse City — Torch Lake — Charlevoix||62 miles|
|Day 6||Charlevoix — Petoskey — Harbor Springs — Mackinac City; ferry to Mackinac Island||73 miles|
|Day 7||Mackinac Island — layover day|
|Day 8||Mackinac Island — ferry to Mackinac City — Cheboygan — Rogers City||56 miles|
|Day 9||Rogers City — Alpena — Oscoda||85 miles|
|Day 10||Oscoda — Bay City; (van shuttle return to Grand Rapids, if needed)||84 miles|
Total mileage – 586