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One tank trip: Summer vacations without breaking the bank

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Posted at 10:34 AM, Jun 21, 2022
and last updated 2022-06-27 14:02:53-04

MARQUETTE, MI (NBC 26) — This is the best part of the summer.

As we count down the weeks until the start of the school year, many families are itching to get out of town. But let's face it, it hurts just thinking about how much it would cost to travel anywhere right now.

So, let's take a shortcut: How about a one-tank trip, where you can get out of town without breaking the bank, and all on one tank of gas?

NBC 26 decided to take a one-tank trip to Marquette, Michigan in the U.P.

From Green Bay, the trip is approximately 175 miles. If you're driving a smaller SUV, that's about a half-tank of gas, one-way.

Marquette Michigan

"We're definitely a drive market. So, we tend to get people from the surrounding areas in the U.P. and Wisconsin as well," says Susan Estler, Executive Director at Travel Marquette.

"We're are just far away enough because it feels like we are a trip away, but not far enough where it will cost a fortune to get here," adds Estler.

Marquette's Superior shoreline and pristine beaches offer plenty of options for the whole family. Presque Isle Park and the black rocks both have incredible views of the lake that won't cost you a dime.

For a trip back in time, you can talk a walk out to the more than 150-year-old Marquette Harbor Light House for a birds-eye view of the lake or take a short hike up to Sugarloaf Mountain.

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For a more urban experience, stop by the historic downtown district and swing into Donckers for a tasty souvenir.

"We've been in business 127 years," says Tom Vear, Co-Owner of Donckers and Delft Bistro. Vear bought the business from the Donckers family. "Everybody in town knows about Donckers. We have a good reputation and we really do have good chocolate."

One tank trip: Donckers Candy in Marquette, Mi
One tank trip: Donckers Candy in Marquette, Mi

Donckers is a local and tourist staple for a sweet treat on your way to explore the shops and restaurants or a local pint at the Ore Dock Brewery where the owner says tourists are already starting to pour in.

"As soon as the kids get out of school you can kind of tell that everybody is coming into town. You start seeing a lot of people walking along the streets," says Andrea Pernsteiner, owner and operator of Ore Dock Brewing Company.

At Ore Dock Brewing, you can catch up on your history of the iconic Marquette Ore Docks. However, you don't have to come on your one-tank trip to Marquette with an itinerary, just pull up a chair at a pub and let the locals do the talking.

"I hope people come just to experience a little piece of Marquette," says Pernsteiner. "It's always a great spot to maybe sit down and talk to a bartender, talk to some of the patrons, and get some of the insight on some of the special places here and around Marquette."

If the U.P. isn't on your family vacation bucket list, check out these great one-tank trips we've calculated for you:

One tank trips: vacations on one tank of gas or less
One tank trip. Family vacations on one tank of gas or less

Minocqua, WI = Approx. 163 mi. from Green Bay. Great for family fishing, boating, camping, zip-lining, and all of the charm of the Northwoods.

Madison, WI = Approx. 135 mi. from Green Bay. Enjoy the vibrant culture and history of the state capital.

Lake Geneva, WI = Approx. 165 mi. from Green Bay. Take in the sights of the historic mansions and breathtaking lake views.

Milwaukee, WI = Approx. 118 mi. from Green Bay. Enjoy the coast of Lake Michigan, the countless breweries, museums, and other cultural attractions.