Door County, Wis.
The ship-building town of Sturgeon Bay presides over Door County, a popular Lake Michigan getaway, known as the Cape Cod of the Midwest. Visitors come for parks, cuisine and maritime adventure. “It has a lot of variety, both old villages and towns that have now been turned over to tourism, and a more wild side with wide-open water,” Shevory says. doorcounty.com
This prosperous community near Lake Michigan is more than a vacation town. The city of 33,000 is particularly popular during its spring tulip festival. “There are beaches and sand dunes, and a really nice downtown,” Shevory says. “It has that mixture of urban and rural that can be attractive.” holland.org
Port Austin, Mich.
Every Michigan native will tell you that their state’s shaped like a mitten, and Port Austin is found on the tip of the thumb. Shevory said he was charmed by the beauty of the historic town. “There isn’t a major city on Lake Huron. You’re really getting away from everything.” portaustinarea.com
Manitoulin Island, Canada
This Lake Huron landmass is generally recognized as the world’s largest island in a freshwater body, and is connected to the mainland by a one-lane bridge. It’s a place to hike, fish and meet Canada’s indigenous First Nations people, who call the island home. “It’s about as isolated as you can get and still be in that part of North America,” Shevory says. manitoulintourism.com
Shevory says Ohio’s largest metropolitan area was a pleasant surprise, with impressive museums, leafy universities and old buildings repurposed as shopping centers. As a music fan, he loved the Lake Erie waterfront Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, and sports fans can catch some of the nation’s top teams as well. “Of all the old industrial cities that I went through, Cleveland had been most successful in revitalizing its downtown,” he says. “There’s a lot going on.” thisiscleveland.com
More: Road Trip USA: Cleveland, an American classic
Long Point National Wildlife Area, Canada
Shevory was surprised by the northern side of Lake Erie. “There’s so little there. It’s kind of breathtaking, sort of unexpectedly undeveloped,” he says, citing Canada’s Long Point National Wildlife Area. The haven for migrating birds stretches across a sandy peninsula about 100 miles west of Buffalo. “It kind of changed my expectation of what I’d see on Lake Erie.” ec.gc.ca/ap-pa
Tahquamenon Falls State Park, Mich.
Located a few miles inland of Lake Superior on Michigan’s Upper Peninsula, this state park boasts one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi. “It’s really spectacular, quite a sight,” Shevory says. “You can get very close to the falls and get a feel for what it was like before development.” michigan.org/property/tahquamenon-falls-state-park
Canada’s gateway to the Thousand Islands is a gem, Shevory says. The Lake Ontario waterfront city of Kingston has a prosperous downtown and a free ferry to Wolfe Island, which offers bicycling, golfing and beaches. Wolfe’s the largest of the Thousand Islands, a scenic region on the U.S.-Canda border. “Some are the size of a rock, and some much larger. They’re kind of amazing.” visitkingston.ca