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Three Ambitious Weekend Trips for Outdoor Lovers


You might have big plans for the long, holiday weekend, or maybe you're just looking forward to a few lazy days around the house, with a barbecue or beach trip on the agenda. But for the more ambitious, outdoorsy traveler, we've compiled a list of the top three destinations for a weekend getaway. 

"My rule for this is 10 hours or less," says Stacy Tornio. She's the author of several books about nature and outdoor adventures for kids. 

Credit Mitch Teich

1. Niagra Falls

"If you go around Chicago or through Chicago, it's nine or ten hours, or you can cut out a couple hours and you can take theLake Express Ferry across," she says. The ferry cuts straight across Lake Michigan, and if you take it early enough, you can get to Niagra Falls by late afternoon. 

Tornio suggests staying on the Canadian side of the border, if possible, since it offers a better view of the falls. She does caution, however, that parking is expensive. So if you're staying through the weekend, try to find a hotel that offers a deal on parking. 

Credit Bobbi Jones Jones / PublicDomainPictures

2. Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island is a small resort area that is technically on Lake Huron. It's part of the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, and although it only has about 500 residents, the summer brings thousands of visitors and seasonal workers. "There are no motor vehicles on the island," says Tornio. "So you know, if you want to just take a break from the hustle and bustle of a typical vacation, it's a good escape."

Credit Greg Walters / Flickr

3. Boundary Waters

The Boundary Waters is an area in northern Minnesota, and it's part of the Superior National Forest. It's a vast network of glacial lakes and streams, which covers more than one million acres of wilderness area dividing Minnesota and Canada. It's a great place for people enjoy outdoor activities like camping, fishing, and canoeing. "This is a place you could take kids. Like, this a great escape," she says. "You really will not get a better feel for being in the middle of nowhere, than going to the boundary waters." 

Joy is a WUWM host and producer for Lake Effect.