Great Lakes

Untouched wilderness. Cosmopolitan cities. One-of-a-kind historic and cultural wonders. The Great Lakes have it all! From experiences like visiting car-free Mackinac Island to transiting the Soo Locks to sailing Lake Superior, find out what makes America’s Great Lakes so great!

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Great Lakes Cruises for Seniors

The Great Lakes play a vital role in our planet’s ecosystem, holding 84% of North America’s freshwater. The five Great Lakes — Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie, and Ontario — span a total surface area of 94,600 square miles and are connected by various lakes and rivers, making them the most extensive freshwater system in the world. The lakes are also home to one of the world’s largest freshwater coastal dune systems, which are explored and hiked by residents and visitors alike.

The Great Lakes have more than 10,000 miles of coastline that attract millions of tourists annually. These massive lakes — the biggest lake system in the world — offer adventures in nature that leave visitors awestruck. Road Scholar offers numerous experiential learning adventures for seniors, such as these cruises on the Great Lakes.


The Majestic Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan boasts more than 1,600 miles of shoreline and beautiful sandy beaches that gave this massive lake the nickname “The Third Coast.” While the water remains cool year-round, many beaches offer white silky sand beaches and amazing dunes. 

On the Southwest Coast in Saugatuck, Michigan, is Oval Beach, where visitors enjoy white sandy beaches, dunes, restaurants, and shopping. Also along Michigan’s East Coast is Ludington State Park, with its beautiful beaches and 5,300-acre park. Indiana Dunes National Park in Indiana is great for hiking, birding, and swimming. North Avenue Beach in Chicago offers a beautiful beach that offers bicycles, kayaks, paddle boards, jet skis, beach chairs, umbrellas, and restaurants. 

Road Scholar offers several spectacular tours of the Great Lakes filled with adventure and beauty.


Voyage to the Great Lakes: A Small Ship Adventure

This is one of Road Scholar’s most special cruises: a Great Lakes cruise. Spend a day cruising Lake Michigan on this 11-day Road Scholar tour. Explore the pristine beauty of the Great Lakes cruising aboard a small ship where travelers dive deeply into the heritage and history of these natural wonders. Did you know that the Great Lakes were formed from the retreat of glaciers 15,000 years ago? You will learn all these fun facts and enjoy the serene beauty of the lakes on this tour. 


The Beauty of Niagara Falls

Niagara Falls are some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the world, straddled between Ontario, Canada, and New York. On the American side, spectators can marvel at the U.S. side of Niagara Falls and Bridalveil Falls. On the Canadian side, visitors are awe-inspired by the 164-foot Horseshoe Falls.

There are many different ways to see Niagara Falls. You can take a boat to get up close to Horseshoe Falls or a helicopter for a bird’s-eye view. You can stand on the edge and look over at the water falling from the edge into the lake. You can even zipline across Niagara Falls for a once-in-a-lifetime adventure. 

Road Scholar offers several tours that teach you about the history of Niagara Falls and offers you an inside look at its majestic beauty. 


Adventures in Toronto & Niagara Falls With Your Grandchild

Adventure, beauty, learning — this six-day Road Scholar tour has everything. Take your grandchild on an educational travel journey to explore Toronto, Canada’s largest city, and the roar of Niagara Falls. Visit the Butterfly Conservatory, where you and your grandchild will watch in wonder as 2,000 butterflies fly around you. Visit the beautifully colored fish at Ripley’s Aquarium and experience Niagara Falls as you’ve never imagined with a thrilling ride over the Niagara Gorge aboard an antique aero car.


The Best of Sault Ste. Marie and Mackinac Island

Imagine an island only accessible by boat, where transportation is limited to horse and buggy. It sounds like an island from a century ago, but this is Mackinac Island today. Mackinac Island is one of many islands on the Great Lakes. This beautiful island exudes Old World Victorian charm, from the ferry ride to the island to the calming sounds of horses and carriages on the streets. 

Road Scholar offers an eight-day adventure between two countries — Canada and the United States — to explore one of the oldest settlements in North America. Sault Ste. Marie in Ontario, Canada, has been inhabited for thousands of years. Mackinac Island has been a popular vacation destination since the 1800s. Explore the art and architecture of these historic cities, as well as their history and heritage, with Road Scholar experts on this Great Lakes tour. 

Road Scholar also offers a six-day tour of Mackinac Island, where travelers can go birding and take an expert guided walking tour to explore the island’s beauty. 


Cruises on the Great Lakes: A Small Ship Adventure

Nearly one-fifth of the planet’s freshwater comes from the five Great Lakes spanning Canada and America. Road Scholar has created a one-of-a-kind 11-day Great Lakes cruise to see all five lakes on a small ship. Cruise the pristine waters of the Great Lakes while deeply diving into North America’s history and natural wonders. Road Scholar offers excellent tips about cruising small ships and what to expect while aboard. 


Road Scholar Great Lakes Tours

At Road Scholar, you’ll find many Adventures Afloat around the world, including the best Great Lake cruises. You can search based on your desired destination, activity level, duration, price and date range. Enroll in one of our Road Scholar tours today to visit the Great Lakes and explore America's unique and diverse landscape.