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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
MY name is Nick
My home port is in Sandusky. I am looking for info on what there is to do in the St Clair area. I would like to plan a run up into the georgian bay or places yet not yet explored. I have two children onboard also, ages 10 & 12. With that in mind I will need to find things of a family nature. The wife and are non drinkers and will be traveling with the kids. I am looking for suggestions on what there is to do in your area. Docking and fuel concerns also. I am running a 3055 bayliner. Any help or suggestions in this area would be if great help.

Thanks Capt Nick
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[email protected]
 

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Thames River Cove Marina www.covemarineonline.com is a good spot to spend the night/day. Its in Canada just to the east after you enter Lake St Clair from the Detroit River. Georgian Bay would be a hell uv an adventure from Sandusky (Ohio, Correct?)
 
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Metro Beach will probably be the best "family" orriented place to visit on the Michigan side. All kinds of activities to do and people to see. And has all the goodies like power, pump out, and toilets. That kind of stuff.
 

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As Convincor said, Metro beach is a great Family-oriented destination... bring the bikes, the grill, and the dinghy! You might also want to plan ahead to visit different ports during local festivals. (Look up the schedules for each port on-line).
Like things Scottish (& Bagpipes)? ...visit Sarnia, Chatham, or Kincardine during thier annual Highland Games. Tall ships? I beleive Sarnia, Detroit, and Algonac are hosting visits again this year (Sarnia is the only one with good dockage nearby).
Want to go further North? Grand Bend, Bayfield, Goderich and Port Elgin all offer something different... continue on to Tobermory and Georgian Bay... all kinds of stuff up there (whether you head north or south)... just be aware of the weather, Lake Huron can get persnickety.
 

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Also at the Thames river is Radlins marina, very clean with a nice pool.

On the North Channel is Algonac Harbor Club. 2 pools 1 adult, 1 kiddie pool,restaurant, tennis, and basketball.

At the end of the St. Clair River is Sarnia bay marina on the Canadian side, or up the Black river on the US side is Bridge harbor Marina. Sarnia has a shuttle that will take you 20 mins. to a nice water park with slides. Bridge harbor has nice grounds, heated pool and jacuzzi. There is a Bob Evans on the grounds to eat out at.

From there you could stop at Grand Bend, then Bayfield or Goderich on the way to Georgian Bay.
 

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Check out the Lexington (Michigan) marina. We've only stopped for the day, but they have decent facilities, a park and beach area for the kids, and the downtown is within walking distance (quaint with cool little shops, ice cream, coffee, etc.).

Our kids enjoy Metro Beach. There's a pool and the splash park. We pack the fold-up scooters and they have a blast "exploring". The facilites leave a little to be desired (showers--think a smaller version of Put-in-Bay), and you have to take a shuttle to any restaurants or stores.

Sarnia is nice and within walking distance to a couple restaurants and a large park. It's a new marina so the facilities are nice and updated.

We like the Algonac harbor club. Besides the pool, there is a "tiki-bar" setup with music and a restaurant with a couple of video games (which the kids enjoyed).

You could also check into transient docking at some of the marinas if you don't want to go the public route.

Good luck!
 

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Its funny I don't think of Metro Beach because its practically in my backyard, but between the tot lot, mini golf, 9 hole golf course and pool, bike trails and what ever else is there, it is probably one of the best destinations for out of towners.
 

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Nick,
If you haven't been up to the Georgian before, you're in for an adventure. We got into cruising in '98, and made our first venture into the North Channel (of the Georgian Bay) in '99. We went back in 2000 and 2001, and can't wait to go back. We have new crew on the boat (4 1/2 month old twins) that won't be ready for a couple (or three?) years, so we'll have to stick to shorter (and less demanding) trips for a while. I would recommend the North Channel, Killarney to the Benjamin Islands with stops in the Pool, Bay Fine, Little Current and Kagawong (great chocolate shop there). If you do it, get a Ports guide (and READ IT several times) and a new Richardson's chartbook. All of the destinations there are great for your family. Plan to spend a little time in Tobermory at the tourist and travel information center, and the Chamber of commerce before you head up to the channel to "fine tune" your trip itenerary. It will be a vacation you will not forget.
 

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I would have to agree with "Islandhopper" ALL THE WAY

As a kid we went up every summer for a two week trip thru the North Channel. Then 20 years later I had a chance to just "gunk hole" around The Bay for 3 months. And that made for a summer I'll never forget.

And 20 years later it was still as beautiful as I remembered, swimming, fishing, exploring.

"Gods Country" for sure !!
 

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A few more words on Metro, there is a LOT to do in the park, but there are a few oddities that you have there that are not common with transient slips. You can not make reservations, but can usually can get in because a lot of boats tie up for short periods of time but sometimes you can wait for a long time if you want hook ups. Since you pay by blocks of hours if you leave your slip you lose it. If you plan on stopping there for a few days and you want to go boating for a few hours you are at risk of losing your slip.

They also don't alow pets in the park, they have a dog walk area and keep an eye out that no one has their dog off their boat for to long.

The best bet is to plan on eating on your boat or at their
hot dog stand that is open on weekends, they do have grills near the marina.
 

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Discussion Starter · #11 ·
Sorry for the Double post. I am new at this. I wish to thank each and every person who has taken the time from thier busy schedules to answer my request for info in regards to the upcoming run. I have found it to be a wealth of info that should improve upon our boating trip this year. If anyone else has any suggestions, please feel free to jump right in and toss some ideas my way. With such good help i have gotten from here I expect to have a non-eventfull run. Means have alot of fun and no surprises! Thanks all!

Nick
 
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Metro Beach also has a small shuttle bus that runs every half hour or so from the marina. It makes a big loop to downtown Mt. Clemens and back, so there are a lot of restaurants that are accessable that way. I think it's free for Harrison Township residents and people at the marina.
 

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geogean bay is a beutiful place ! My family has cabin neaar Parry sound
Spend at least 2 weeks of summer there. Butt as stated get charts!
rocks are tough on lower units!
 

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Nick,
Sorry for the late reply, but our new twins keep us so busy I often have trouble finishing a thought, let alone e-mail (done whining, better now ;-)). Anyhow, your questions where in regards to mileage and lake conditions. I think my round trip from Anchor Bay (north part of Lake St. Clair was about 800 - 900 nm. It's about 250 miles to Tobermory from Lake St Clair. I've heard of folks doing it in one shot, but I personally advise two days. A couple things to note; Southhampton no longer has a fuel dock. Neither does Little tub harbor in Tobermory (government docks), you can gas up in Tobermory in Big Tub harbor at the private fuel dock, just be patient. Also the charts and Ports guide show no marinas between Southhampton and Tobermory ('course the Richardson's is a little dated, it's still in fathoms!!) this is not true, I have a Bruce peninsula guide that shows marinas in Chief's point bay, Pike bay and Lookabout bay. Get yourself a cruising guides Ports book ($34.95 and worth twice that). The lake conditions...I've taken on 2 and 3 meter waves (no fun), and I've also had glass conditions, pay close attention to marine weather and watch those winds out of the north-northeast (they're brutal). I've done this trip with a 25' single engine Sundancer (solo no less) and survived, you'll do just fine with your 30' bayliner. oh yes...get a dinghy if you don't already have one (necessary in most anchorages). About electronics...give Douglas point a wide berth...they have the largest nuclear power plant in North America (nine reactors!) and they screw up my compass, gps, etc. every time I run close by (had to fall back on Loran-C the first time by there). Places to avoid...Fitzwilliam island (unless you like horseflies and snakes) also Club Island and Squaw Island aren't worth anchoring at (except for a quick break if it isn't windy). I'd say to stop at Flowerpot island, except my 25 ft 'dancer was about the biggest thing to make it into the public dock (2002) so you might have a problem (you could ask in Tobermory). Hope this hasn't rambled too much, please feel free to write back with more questions ([email protected]).
- John
 

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Nick,
Sorry for the late reply, but our new twins keep us so busy I often have trouble finishing a thought, let alone e-mail (done whining, better now ;-)). Anyhow, your questions where in regards to mileage and lake conditions. I think my round trip from Anchor Bay (north part of Lake St. Clair was about 800 - 900 nm. It's about 250 miles to Tobermory from Lake St Clair. I've heard of folks doing it in one shot, but I personally advise two days. A couple things to note; Southhampton no longer has a fuel dock. Neither does Little tub harbor in Tobermory (government docks), you can gas up in Tobermory in Big Tub harbor at the private fuel dock, just be patient. Also the charts and Ports guide show no marinas between Southhampton and Tobermory ('course the Richardson's is a little dated, it's still in fathoms!!) this is not true, I have a Bruce peninsula guide that shows marinas in Chief's point bay, Pike bay and Lookabout bay. Get yourself a cruising guides Ports book ($34.95 and worth twice that). The lake conditions...I've taken on 2 and 3 meter waves (no fun), and I've also had glass conditions, pay close attention to marine weather and watch those winds out of the north-northeast (they're brutal). I've done this trip with a 25' single engine Sundancer (solo no less) and survived, you'll do just fine with your 30' bayliner. oh yes...get a dinghy if you don't already have one (necessary in most anchorages). About electronics...give Douglas point a wide berth...they have the largest nuclear power plant in North America (nine reactors!) and they screw up my compass, gps, etc. every time I run close by (had to fall back on Loran-C the first time by there). Places to avoid...Fitzwilliam island (unless you like horseflies and snakes) also Club Island and Squaw Island aren't worth anchoring at (except for a quick break if it isn't windy). I'd say to stop at Flowerpot island, except my 25 ft 'dancer was about the biggest thing to make it into the public dock (2002) so you might have a problem (you could ask in Tobermory). Hope this hasn't rambled too much, please feel free to write back with more questions ([email protected]).
- John
 

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I have cruised the North Channel of Lake Huron for the last three summers. Without a doubt it is the finest cruising area in North America. Having said that, I usually motor to Kincardine or Port Elgin the first night. Both are wonderful towns, worth visiting. I have spent a day or so in each and enjoyed myself very much. Now they are a destination for overnighting and fuel as well as a relaxing meal.

You can go on to Tobermory, however, be warned that you can only get fuel at Big Tub. The government gas dock was closed and you can end up in a line to get fuel. I usually do not stop there anymore but motor on up to Killernay. Now I must tell you it is one of my favorite destinations. I stay at the Killernay Mountain Lodge marina. From there I cruise both east and west, to various locations and spend the night. It is a wonderful area. You must go to Baie Fein and the pool. It is a destination that anyone who goes to the North Channel for the first time, must visit.

Go on to Little Current. I was fortunate on two occasions to tie up at the city docks. You are right down town and can really enjoy yourself.

You must visit the Benjamins. Again some of the best anchorages in the North Channel.

Go to Kagawong and the Bridal Falls. There are more but I am running out of space. Plan on being lazy and not rush after you get to the North Channel. I do recommend you pay attention to the weather. You can have a very miserable time if you get caught out in the open in foul weather.

Otherwise, enjoy yourself. I will probably make another jaunt there this year if I can afford the gas.
Ken
 
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