5 Great Lakes in Under 24 Hours

5 Great Lakes in Under 24 Hours

This was a trip a year in the making.

I saw a blog someone posted last year, and it took the blogger 17 hours to complete the challenge and I thought, “hold my beer and watch this.”

Surprisingly Corby was down to join on the road trip and we recruited my sister in law Dee and brother in law Brandy, and two of our closest friends BK and Kale.

We had some planned get togethers through the winter to book the Airbnb in Hale, MI and to figure out our transportation (3/6 are over 6’3 so we needed a vehicle with some leg room)

BK booked the Airbnb (after an impressive PowerPoint presentation).

Dee booked the rental vehicle. 

Corby mapped the route. 

Brandy packed the snacks. 

Kale drove the entire trip and I was the brains behind the idea and responsible for capturing the trip. 


June 9,2024 wheels up at 4:07am to hit our first lake, Lake Erie at main beach in Port Dover ON. All 6 of us had swam in Lake Erie before, so this wasn't necessarily something new, but it was definitely a different vibe from any of my previous swims there. Besides the fact it was 5:21am and there was no one on the beach, our excitement was palpable. In true Lake Erie fashion, there was some washed up fish on the shoreline and some sludge to walk through to get to the water, but the temperature was beautiful and the ambient lighting from the Erie Beach Hotel made for a beautiful first dip!

LAKE ONE: 5:27am 87.4km


Our next stop was Lake Ontario at Hutch’s on the Beach in Hamilton ON. Now truth be told, I was expecting Lake Ontario to be the grimiest of the lakes (considering it is so close to Toronto and Hamilton I expected there to be some city associated pollution). However, this turned out to be a fan favourite among the 6 of us. Maybe it was the sunrise over the lake, maybe it was the city line in the background, maybe it was the unexpected clearness of the lake, or how quickly it got deep, but this was such a refreshing morning dip. We were so optimistic that the day with hold nothing but beautiful sunny weather for our road trip... we were wrong.

LAKE TWO: 6:54am 159.7km


 As we left Hamilton in our rear view mirror, it started to sprinkle on our windshield. We were still riding such a high having nailed out 2/5 lakes before 7am that the rain didn't put a damper on anything. Corby added a "bonus swim" to our itinerary to help break up the long haul from Hamilton to The Soo, so we stopped at Waubuno beach in Parry Sound and swam in Georgian Bay too! This was where the rain started to sway our spirits a bit. It was so windy that the rain pelted us like snow! We all still got in the lake and prepped for the longest part of our journey - 484.2km to our next swim location...


It rained on and off on our trek to Sault Ste Marie where we swam at Pointes Du Chene in Lake Superior. Here, the sun came out and the rain stopped. But that wind kept on howling. This was the lake that we knew was going to be cold since it's the biggest and deepest of all the Great Lakes. Fun fact, Lake Superior holds 10% of the world's fresh water. The water was so clear here but did seem to have a reddish tint to it. This is due to clay particles being tossed about during high winds (which we were so privy to endure on this particular day). This was a lake we wish we had more time to spend at. There were picnic tables and sandy beaches for us to enjoy. I hindsight, we would've packed a cooler and planned to spend time there with some snick snacks and bevvies. But we were racing the clock. So we piled back into the car as we prepped to cross the border.

LAKE THREE: 3:17pm 923.3km


We then crossed the border, with no hold ups, waits or concerns, to Pocket Park in Mackinaw City, MI to swim in Lake Michigan. And yes, when we touched the water and felt it's frigid waves lap up our legs, we shouted "HOLY MACKINAW!" more times than we care to admit. Swimming with the bridge in the background was neat scenery. I've never been to San Franciso (although I'd be sure to put some flowers in my hair if I went) but the bridge was giving those vibes to me. The water here was very blue and had it not been windy as hell, again, I'm sure we would've appreciated Lake Michigan more than we did in the moment.

LAKE FOUR: 5:01pm 1,037.8km


We ended our tour in Lake Huron at Gordon Turner Park in Cheboygan, MI. Have you heard of the Kenosha Kickers? Verrrrrrrrrrry big in Cheboygan. Anyways, this was such a pivotal moment in our journey and we all felt like we were in a damn hurricane. The rain started up again and the wind was howling. But all 6 of us got into the water and dunked into our fifth and final Great Lake. Personally, ending on Lake Huron was a bit anticlimactic because I lived on the lake for the majority of my life, so there wasn't much a thrill factor for the actual lake itself. But knowing we set out to swim in all 5 Great Lakes in 24 hours we crushed the goal by half, was a really cool and exhilarating feeling. If we hadn't stopped in Georgian Bay for the bonus swim, we could've done it in under 12 hours, I'm sure!

LAKE FIVE: 5:38pm 1,065.6km


We continued our journey to Hale, MI where we had a gorgeous Airbnb on Loon Lake (another bonus lake for the trip!) Here we spent the next day relaxing by the water and indulging in some much deserved 'Murican beer.  I'm sitting here, days later, writing this blog and I still can't totally believe the trip is over. We all became closer on this whirlwind trip. I couldn't imagine having shared it with anyone else. I'm so stoked I got to experience it with my in laws, and one of my best friends... oh, and Kale.


Much like a wedding, there is so much preamble and prep for the day that once it's over, it's hard to know how to move on. We spent so much time leading up to the trip talking about vehicles, routes, stops, logistics, airbnbs, passports - everything! And now that it's over, we are left in a weird place where we have a sense of accomplishment and pride, but also I'm left with a sense of longing.


A longing for our next bucket list trip.

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