Voyage to All Five Great Lakes: A Small Ship Adventure

Explore the pristine beauty of all five Great Lakes aboard a small ship, delving deep into the region’s heritage, history and natural wonders.
Rating (4.91)
Program No. 21866RJ
11 days
Starts at
Special Offer
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Flights start at

At a Glance

Nearly 15,000 years ago, the last of the great glaciers retreated, leaving us the Great Lakes — Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie and Ontario. These vast bodies of water contain more than one-fifth of the planet’s fresh surface water. On a small ship, voyage to all five Great Lakes, discovering pristine natural beauty and learning the colorful stories of the people who’ve sailed and worked these waterways.
Activity Level
On Your Feet
Walking and standing for up to an hour at a time during field trips. Embarking and disembarking from the boat up and down steep gangways.

Best of all, you'll ...

  • Sail all five Great Lakes and storied waterways like the Soo Locks and Welland Canal.
  • Discover Mackinac Island, a Victorian-era haven where cars are forbidden and horse-drawn carriages rule the roads.
  • Experience Niagara Falls up-close aboard the Hornblower.
Featured Expert
All Experts
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Michele Sigmon
Michele “Micki” Sigmon began her career in education, teaching outdoor education and recreation for 12 years. When an opportunity to work as a travel director fell into her lap, she knew she had found her calling. Micki has been working in the travel industry for about 20 years. She has owned her own travel company, worked on domestic river cruises and steamboats and led groups throughout Chicago and the Great Lakes region. Micki looks forward to sharing her knowledge and love of learning.

Please note: This expert may not be available for every date of this program.

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Debra Levin
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Michele Sigmon
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Beverley Citron
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Gayle Felix
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Sue Shoemaker
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Roger Dammarell
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Laurieanne Wysocki
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Visit the Road Scholar Bookshop
You can find many of the books we recommend at the Road Scholar store on bookshop.org, a website that supports local bookstores.
Great Lakes for Sale, From Whitecaps to Bottlecaps
by Dave Dempsey
Dempsey calls for action to stop the diversion of water from the great lakes watershed.
Mackinac Island
by Terry Phipps
Phipps captures the splendor of the architecture and gardens of Mackinac in this collection of photographs.
Inventing Niagara
by Ginger Strand
A witty, well-researched tale of the transformation of a natural wonder into an engineering feat, spectacle and monument.
The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald
by Frederick Stonehouse
Stonehouse presents the circumstances and evidence for the loss of the S.S. Edmund Fitzgerald, which disappeared during a heavy snow storm on Lake Superior in the early evening of November 10, 1975. With no evidence and no witnesses, the captain and crew of 28 are still listed as missing.
The Living Great Lakes
by Jerry Dennis
Jerry Dennis, known for his writing on fly-fishing and canoeing, interweaves observation, anecdote and history in this tale of the lakes and his month-long voyage aboard the schooner Malabar.
The Middle Ground, Indians, Empires, and Republics in the Great Lakes Region, 1650-1815
by Richard White
White takes in the history of Daniel Boone, George Washington, Pontiac and Tecumseh in this scholarly history of relations between native peoples and Europeans in "pays d'en haut," the region around the Great Lakes.
Great Lakes Birds
by Raymond Leung (Illustrator), James Kavanaugh
This fold-out reference illustrates almost 150 species in the Great Lakes region. Laminated and pocket-sized, it's a handy item to take along in the field.
Selected Stories
by Alice Munro
This collection of 28 short stories represents some of Munro's finest work. A powerful range of emotional, evocative tales set throughout the cities and rural towns of her native country.
Shining Big Sea Water, The Story of Lake Superior
by Norman K. Risjord
A swift, illuminating history of Lake Superior, from its geological birth and native inhabitants to early explorers and industries, developers, cities and future challenges.
The Devil in the White City, Murder, Magic, and Madness at the Fair That Changed America
by Erik Larson
This fascinating account of Chicago's 1893 World's Fair interweaves the true stories of Daniel H. Burnham, the architect responsible for the fair's construction, and H.H. Holmes, a serial killer masquerading as a charming doctor, who terrorized its visitors.
The Great Lakes
by Wayne Grady
Wayne Grady showcases the nature and ecology of the Great Lakes, hub of industry and agriculture and home to 40 million people, in this illustrated portrait of the region, including its geological formation, conservation challenges, forests and resources. With hundreds of color photographs and illustrations by Emily Damstra.
The Death and Life of the Great Lakes
by Dan Egan
Egan explores the past, present, and future of the Great Lakes and their ecologies using insightful research and political commentary.
Great Lakes Wildlife
by Raymond Leung (Illustrator), James Kavanaugh
This laminated fold-out card illustrates almost 150 animals in the Great Lakes region.
Lake Superior Flavors, A Field Guide to Food and Drink Along the Circle Tour
by James Norton
In this review of Lake Superior cuisine, the authors focus on local artisans and important dishes from the four regions they visit: Minnesota’s North Shore, Ontario, Michigan and Wisconsin.
Pandora's Locks, The Opening of the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence Seaway
by Jeff Alexander
This detailed history of the St. Lawrence Seaway, which opened in 1959, focuses on the engineering feat's often devastating environmental effects.
Great Lakes Water Wars
by Peter Annin
Annin weaves an intriguing tale of behind the scenes compromise and conflict among the states and provinces making a grab for a portion of the water in the Great Lakes.
North American Indian Tribes of the Great Lakes
by Michael G. Johnson
Heavily illustrated, this handy primer presents the Native American tribes of the upper Midwest, their cultures, religions, leaders and roles in the colonial wars and the fur trade.
by Carol Shields
A middle aged mother of three daughters lives a contented life as a writer until her oldest child Norah quits college to panhandle on the streets of Toronto. Norah's only communication with the outside world appears to be a sign she wears around her neck that reads "Goodness."
The Song of Hiawatha
by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
This Everyman’s Library Classic of Longfellow’s epic narrative poem, set along the south shore of Lake Superior and loosely based on the legends of the Ojibwe and other Native Americans, includes an introduction and the latest scholarship on the classic.
Shipwrecks and Lost Treasure Great Lakes, Legends and Lore, Pirates and More!
by Michael J. Varhola
Frederick Stonehouse provides the historical forward to these 21 riveting tales of ships that met their end in the treacherous waters of the Great Lakes, including the sinking of Civil War steamer Island Queen in 1864 and the tanker Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975.
Niagara, A History of the Falls
by Pierre Berton
Meticulously researched and entertaining, this history of Niagara Falls captures the sideshow atmosphere of the place with its honky-tonk attractions and daredevil feats. An engrossing social history.
The Long Ships Passing, The Story of the Great Lakes
by Walter Havighurst
A vivid popular history of the Great Lakes, rich in anecdote, incident and drama. Havighurst recounts the early days of ships and shipping on the Great Lakes from the time of the early French voyageurs through the industrialization of the region at the turn of the century.

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