Eliza Myers

TAP’s Seaside Charms

 
 

Eliza Myers
Published November 14, 2018

From the seaside charm of Cape Cod, Massachusetts, to Florida’s relaxing beaches and the historic cities and towns along the Mississippi River, waterfront destinations offer a wide variety of opportunities on Travel Alliance Partners (TAP) tours. TAP tour operators build engaging itineraries along ocean beaches, calming lakes and mighty rivers across the country.

 

Mackinac Island, Detroit and Chicago

Groups can see the bright lights and world-famous attractions of Chicago, Detroit and Milwaukee, as well as rural gems, on Tri-State Travel’s tour of Michigan and the Great Lakes region. In Galena, Illinois, Tri-State Travel offer this trip as a custom tour for groups so travel planners can tailor the tour’s hotel and details to fit their needs.

The eight-day journey begins with two nights in Detroit to explore this quintessential American city. Groups enjoy a fascinating tour of Ford Motor Company’s Rouge Pickup Truck Plant, the Motown Museum and the Edsel and Eleanor Ford House. Next, guides introduce the Bavarian culture of Frankenmuth, Michigan. After a stop in Bronner’s Christmas Store, the tour continues with a carriage ride into Elk County.

Many groups call their two-night stay at Mackinac Island, Michigan, a highlight of the trip because of the ferry ride, carriage ride and lunch at the Grand Hotel. The peaceful island’s restrictions on motor vehicles allow guests to imagine they have stepped into the pages of a historical novel.

Cherry pie in Traverse City, Michigan, a ranger-led tour of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park and a ferry trip across Lake Michigan also delight groups. The itinerary then leaves time to explore Milwaukee and Chicago. A view from the Chicago Skydeck and lunch on historic Navy Pier end the waterfront tour.

Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket

Shingled cottages, pristine beaches, maritime history and towns famous for their charm create the perfect blend of picturesque views and intriguing stories on a tour in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. The Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard and Nantucket tour with Fancy-Free Holidays doesn’t just pass by Cape Cod on its way to somewhere else; rather, it provides time to explore the island.

Based in Naperville, Illinois, the company created the six-day hub-and-spoke tour so guests could experience the area without the hassle of changing hotels. Fancy Free Holidays can add a pre-night hotel stay for those needing extra time to arrive.

The in-depth tour starts at Plymouth, Massachusetts, where the Pilgrims landed in 1620. The Forefather’s Monument, Plymouth Rock and the Mayflower II tell of the perils the first Pilgrims faced. From there, groups take a high-speed ferry to Nantucket Island to explore cobblestone streets and Quaker-style homes.

Groups also visit other Massachusetts towns in the area, among them Provincetown, Martha’s Vineyard, Oak Bluffs and Hyannis. Along the way, they enjoy a traditional lobster dinner, embark on a whale-watching cruise and learn about one of the area’s most famous former residents at the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum.

Florida Getaway

Wade Tours’ Florida Getaway is all about relaxation. The Schenectady, New York, tour operator allows travelers plenty of free time during the 10-night tour to lounge by the beach or discover exciting St. Pete Beach nearby.

Sandy beaches, sparkling blue water and incredible sunsets encourage travelers to sit back and listen to the waves on Florida’s west coast. Known as the sunset capital of Florida, St. Pete Beach also offers the handicapped-accessible Suncoast Beach Trolley, which delivers guests to several attractions from the hotel.

Wade Tours offers “a la carte excursions” or an all-day trolley pass to explore beyond the beachside resort. One popular stop, the Don CeSar hotel, is an opulent pink palace built in 1928.

The beach town Pass-a-Grille offers intriguing history, such as the Gulf Beaches Historical Museum, which displays artifacts from the 16th century to the present day. More quaint shops and restaurants lie off Eighth Avenue, the town’s main shopping district.

Even without leaving the Dolphin Beach Resort, the tour’s hotel property, beachgoers can keep busy with shopping, restaurants and resort entertainment on-site.

Missouri Life

The powerful, muddy waters of the Mississippi River live on in the American imagination. Groups can explore the river that inspired Mark Twain on the Missouri Life tour with All American Tours. The company, based in Ellington, Missouri, offers this customizable itinerary for a laid-back journey along the river with stops at some of the Show Me State’s most beloved attractions.

The six-day tour begins with Mark Twain in Hannibal. A narrated trolley tour, the Mark Twain Home and Museum and the Molly Brown House Museum introduce travelers to Mark Twain’s hometown. For the evening’s entertainment, guests climb aboard a riverboat for a dinner cruise on the Mississippi River.

Period-dressed docents meet groups in St. Charles to give colorful background for the historic town and its French influences. The Lewis and Clark Boat House and Museum depicts the town’s days as the edge of the frontier.

The two-day stay in St. Louis stands out as a highlight of the trip. With the Gateway Arch renovations complete, participants can look over the city from an unparalleled vantage point on the iconic structure. Other St. Louis stops include the Cathedral Basilica, the Missouri History Museum and the Missouri Botanical Gardens.

More memorable history and charming towns await in Ste. Genevieve and Cape Girardeau.

Lake Powell Houseboat Tour

Clear blue water and rusty orange canyons as far as the eye can see make a sweeping backdrop for Southwest Adventure Tours’ Lake Powell itinerary. Based in Cedar City, Utah, the company runs custom tours to the lake with different price points depending on the level of luxury desired by the group. Larger budgets can include a personal chef, private dinner cruises and additional experiences.

To maximize time on the pristine lake, groups stay in houseboats while they explore the 186-mile-long Lake Powell. Groups typically split into 10 or 12 per houseboat and enjoy views of some of the lake’s 96 canyons and 1,960 miles of shoreline.

Lake Powell straddles the corner of Utah where Navajo and Hopi tribes lived for centuries. Along the trip, groups can see ancient petroglyphs, 1,000-foot multicolored rock walls and one of the largest natural bridges in the world, Rainbow Bridge National Monument.

Groups can kayak, fish and try other water sports as they cruise to the various marinas of Lake Powell.

Grand Tour of Door County, Mackinac Island and Lake Michigan

Lighthouses, scenic shorelines and quaint towns line the Lake Michigan shoreline of Door County, Wisconsin. A seven-day trip to the area with Let’s Go Travelin’ is especially popular during the fall when the trees are ablaze with oranges and reds throughout the countryside.

Based in Hermitage, Tennessee, Let’s Go Travelin’ can customize the trip for a group of 20 or more, although set dates are also offered for 2019. Previous passengers especially enjoyed seeing the quaint towns along Wisconsin’s coast and the ferry crossing of Lake Michigan.

The itinerary starts with a trolley tour of the Door County peninsula, with stops at lighthouses, shops and wineries. An evening’s entertainment at one of the many theater venues ends the first full day.

After a ferry crossing to Washington Island, groups ride the Cherry Train to see some of the island’s scenic and historic sites. The next day, guests depart for a two-night stay at Mackinac Island’s Grand Hotel.

From there, groups enjoy final stops at Ludington, Michigan, and Manitowoc, Wisconsin.