Visiting the Great Lakes in an RV 284

A Lake Michigan Evening

As far as RV destinations go, we can hardly think of a place that offers more variety than a trip to the Great Lakes. Explore national parks, historic sites, lakeshores, remote islands, and even battlefields for an action-packed adventure you’ll never forget. The five massive freshwater lakes resemble the ocean based on their sheer size alone. Waves crash on sandy shores, and the sun dips beneath the endless waterline, much like a beach sunset. So, if you’re looking for something to take your breath away then look no further than Lake Huron, Lake Ontario, Lake Michigan, Lake Erie, and Lake Superior.

Visiting the Great Lakes in an RV is most enjoybale when you’ve got time to explore the 9,500 miles of the ocean-like shores. With so much to see, you’re bound to miss something if 24-hours is all you’ve got. Embrace the outdoor activities, hike to hidden waterfalls, climb historic lighthouses, and save room for freshly caught food.

The Great Lakes and their shores are spilling with history and culture. Discover this unique area and the ecology of this magnificent glacial lakes from the comfort of your RV.

Weather at the Great Lakes

Stretching across 8 states and into a portion of Ontario, Canada, the weather throughout the Great Lakes is surprisingly stable throughout the year. It’s true! For the most part, the winters are cold, summers are warm, and the shoulder seasons are delightful. During winter, the moisture from the lakes can lead to heavy snowfalls, typically referred to as “lake effect,” snow.

Part of what makes the lakes so interesting is how their size controls the weather around them. Acting as heat sinks, the water from the lakes has the unique ability to cool the air during summer and heat it up during winter for a pleasant experience year-round. If you’re looking for the ideal time to visit, aim for late spring (May and June) or early fall (September and October) for the most pleasant temperatures.

Visiting Lake Erie

Bordering Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and New York, Lake Erie is one of the smallest of the lakes, second only to Lake Ontario. Measuring 241 miles across and with an average depth of 62 feet, Lake Erie offers soft sandy beach-like shores perfect for sunbathing in between brief dips in the water. In Sandusky, Ohio, you’ll find the Cedar Point Amusement Park and the Cedar Point Shores water park that encourage screams and laughter to ripple across the water with every turn, twist, and spin of its attractions. A great family RV trip, enjoying the thrills and rollercoasters of Cedar Point is worth a stop in Sandusky. Campground views of Lake Eerie aren’t bad either.

aerial view of cedar point park
Cedar Point Amusement Park was originally built in 1870 and has been one of the top amusement parks in the world with 72 rides, including 17 roller coasters. Image: Shutterstock.

Campgrounds Near Lake Erie:

Camp Sandusky
Sandusky Milan RV Park
Crystal Rock Campground

Visiting Lake Ontario

Connected to Lake Erie through the 35-mile-long Niagara River, Lake Ontario will have you swinging through Canada to soak in all its beauty. Don’t forget your passport! There are many sites to see when visiting Lake Ontario such as the impressive Ripley’s Aquarium, or the gothic-style castle–Casa Loma. But one site stands above all the rest – literally and figuratively. Niagara Falls. The three breathtaking waterfalls straddle the border between Ontario, Canada, and New York offering views so stunning they’ll be deposited into your memory bank for years to come. Plan to stay overnight and witness the light show that illuminates and complements the roar of the waterfalls. You’ll be glad you did.

Niagara Falls Aerial View, Canadian Falls, Canada.
Niagara Falls Aerial View, Canadian Falls, Canada. Image: Shutterstock.

Campgrounds Near Lake Ontario:

Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort
Campark Resorts Family Camping & RV Resort
Scott’s Family RV-Park Campground

Visiting Lake Huron

When visiting Lake Huron, prepare yourself for sensory overload. In the morning, charter a fishing trip as part of a “Catch and Cook,” program. Enjoy your catch for lunch after a hard morning’s work. Or take a shipwreck tour off the shore of Alpena in Thunder Bay. Even more intriguing are the stunning lighthouses that dot the shores of Lake Huron. See 40 Mile Point in Rogers City, Tawas Point in Tawas, Fort Gratiot in Port Huron, and more along your RV journey. Once you’ve exhausted yourself with all there is to see, enjoy the clear turquoise waters and the wide, sandy beaches of Lake Huron. Head to bed early, so you can rise with the sun. Known as the “Sunrise Side”, Lake Huron is famous for its dramatic sunrises.

Amazing Sunken Ship Bruce Peninsula, Tobermory, Lake Huron, Fathom Five National Marine Park, Ontario.
Amazing Sunken Ship Bruce Peninsula, Tobermory, Lake Huron, Fathom Five National Marine Park, Ontario. Image: Shutterstock.

Campgrounds Near Lake Huron:

Finn Road Park RV Campground & Boat Launch
Linwood Beach Marina & Campground
Frankenmuth Yogi Bear’s Jellystone Park Camp-Resort

Visiting Lake Michigan

Proud to be the only one of the Great Lakes located entirely in the United States, Lake Michigan is the second largest of the lakes and connects to Lake Huron through the Straits of Mackinac. While lounging on the white sand beaches and soaking in the crystal-clear waters of Lake Michigan are enticing, make a point to venture out during your visit. In doing so, you’ll see places like the Milwaukee Art Museum, the Harley Davidson Museum, and one of the homes of Frank Lloyd Wright just to name a few. After a day of sightseeing, the sand and surf will still be there to welcome you back.

A Lake Michigan Evening
A Lake Michigan Evening. Image: Shutterstock.

Campgrounds Near Lake Michigan:

Wisconsin State Fair RV Park
Cliffside Park
Muskego Park

Visiting Lake Superior

The largest and deepest of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior is 350 miles wide by 160 miles long, and with a maximum depth of 1,332 feet. Lake Superior is superior for fun. It has clearly earned its name. More than its size and statistics, one of the most alluring attractions for Lake Superior is the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. Stretching 15 miles along the shoreline, the rocky cliffs are best admired from the water. Cruises offer the best vantage points for witnessing the colored cliffs, sea caves, and pristine beaches up close and all at once. Hike, fish, hunt, kayak, and more await you once your feet are back on the shoreline. What’s not to love?

Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore water
Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Image: Shutterstock.

Campgrounds Near Lake Superior

Rockey’s Campground
Tri Ponds Family Camp Resort
Dumont Lake Campground


Visiting the Great Lakes in an RV will undoubtedly be one of the greatest experiences any outdoor enthusiast could have. If one day is all you have to make the trek, no worries. Embark upon the Circle Tour for a scenic drive in your RV around the five lakes that takes approximately 14-1/2 hours without stops. Although, I’m willing to bet a lake or two will encourage you to pull over along the way.

Buy or rent an RV for your journey. Discover more campgrounds that tuck up against the lakeshore, and the tiny lakefront towns full of character. Experience lake life for yourself from the comfort of your rolling home.

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