Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of North America and the only one located entirely within the United States. The other four Great Lakes are shared by the U.S. and Canada. It is the second-largest of the Great Lakes by volume (1,180 cu mi (4,900 km3)) and the third-largest by surface area (22,404 sq mi (58,030 km2)), after Lake Superior and Lake Huron (and is slightly smaller than the U.S. state of West Virginia). To the east, its basin is conjoined with that of Lake Huron through the wide Straits of Mackinac, giving it the same surface elevation as its easterly counterpart; the two are technically a single lake.
Lake Michigan is shared, from west to east, by the U.S. states of Wisconsin, Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan. Ports along its shores include Chicago; Milwaukee; Green Bay, Wisconsin; Gary, Indiana; and Muskegon, Michigan. The word "Michigan" originally referred to the lake itself, and is believed to come from the Ojibwe word michi-gami meaning "great water".
Map of Great Lakes (Lake Michigan in darker blue)
|Primary inflows||Fox River, Grand River, Menominee River, Milwaukee River, Muskegon River, Kalamazoo River, St. Joseph River|
|Primary outflows||Straits of Mackinac, Chicago River, Calumet River|
|Basin countries||United States|
|Max. length||307 mi (494 km)|
|Max. width||118 mi (190 km)|
|Min. width||91 mi (146 km)|
|Surface area||22,404 sq mi (58,030 km2)|
|Average depth||279 ft (85 m)|
|Max. depth||923 ft (281 m)|
|Water volume||1,180 cu mi (4,900 km3)|
|Residence time||99 years|
|Shore length1||1,400 mi (2,300 km) plus 238 mi (383 km) for islands|
|Surface elevation||577 ft (176 m)|
|1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.|
Some of the earliest human inhabitants of the Lake Michigan region were the Hopewell Indians. Their culture declined after 800 AD, and for the next few hundred years, the region was the home of peoples known as the Late Woodland Indians. In the early 17th century, when western European explorers made their first forays into the region, they encountered descendants of the Late Woodland Indians: the Chippewa; Menominee; Sauk; Fox; Winnebago; Miami; Ottawa; and Potawatomi. The French explorer Jean Nicolet is believed to have been the first European to reach Lake Michigan, possibly in 1634 or 1638. In the earliest European maps of the region, the name of Lake Illinois has been found in addition to that of "Michigan", named for the Illinois Confederation of tribes.
Lake Michigan is joined via the narrow, open-water Straits of Mackinac with Lake Huron, and the combined body of water is sometimes called Michigan–Huron (also Huron–Michigan). The Straits of Mackinac were an important Native American and fur trade route. Located on the southern side of the Straits is the town of Mackinaw City, Michigan, the site of Fort Michilimackinac, a reconstructed French fort founded in 1715, and on the northern side is St. Ignace, Michigan, site of a French Catholic mission to the Indians, founded in 1671. In 1673, Jacques Marquette, Louis Joliet and their crew of five Métis voyageurs followed Lake Michigan to Green Bay and up the Fox River, nearly to its headwaters, in their search for the Mississippi River, cf. Fox–Wisconsin Waterway. The eastern end of the Straits was controlled by Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island, a British colonial and early American military base and fur trade center, founded in 1781.
With the advent of European exploration into the area in the late 17th century, Lake Michigan became part of a line of waterways leading from the Saint Lawrence River to the Mississippi River and thence to the Gulf of Mexico. French coureurs des bois and voyageurs established small ports and trading communities, such as Green Bay, on the lake during the late 17th and early 18th centuries.
In the 19th century, Lake Michigan played a major role in the development of Chicago and the Midwestern United States west of the lake. For example, 90% of the grain shipped from Chicago travelled east over Lake Michigan during the antebellum years, and only rarely falling below 50% after the Civil War and the major expansion of railroad shipping.
The first person to reach the deep bottom of Lake Michigan was J. Val Klump, a scientist at the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. Klump reached the bottom via submersible as part of a 1985 research expedition.
In 2007, a row of stones paralleling an ancient shoreline was discovered by Mark Holley, professor of underwater archeology at Northwestern Michigan College. This formation lies 40 feet (12 m) below the surface of the lake. One of the stones is said to have a carving resembling a mastodon. So far the formation has not been authenticated.
The warming of Lake Michigan was the subject of a report by Purdue University in 2018. In each decade since 1980, steady increases in average surface temperature have occurred. This is likely to lead to decreasing native habitat and to adversely affect native species survival.
Lake Michigan has a surface area of 22,404 sq.mi (58,026 km2); (13,237 square miles, 34,284 km2 lying in Michigan state, 7,358 square miles, 19,056 km2 in Wisconsin, 234 square miles, 606 km2 in Indiana, & 1,576 square miles, 4,079 km2 in Illinois) making it the largest lake entirely within one country by surface area (Lake Baikal, in Russia, is larger by water volume), and the fifth-largest lake in the world. It is the larger half of Lake Michigan–Huron, which is the largest body of fresh water in the world by surface area. It is 307 miles (494 km) long by 118 miles (190 km) wide with a shoreline 1,640 miles (2,640 km) long. The lake's average depth is 46 fathoms 3 feet (279 ft; 85 m), while its greatest depth is 153 fathoms 5 feet (923 ft; 281 m). It contains a volume of 1,180 cubic miles (4,918 km³) of water. Green Bay in the northwest is its largest bay. Grand Traverse Bay in its northeast is another large bay. Lake Michigan's deepest region, which lies in its northern-half, is called Chippewa Basin (named after prehistoric Lake Chippewa) and is separated from South Chippewa Basin, by a relatively shallower area called the Mid Lake Plateau.
Twelve million people live along Lake Michigan's shores, mainly in the Chicago and Milwaukee metropolitan areas. The economy of many communities in northern Michigan and Door County, Wisconsin is supported by tourism, with large seasonal populations attracted by Lake Michigan. Seasonal residents often have summer homes along the waterfront and return home for the winter. The southern tip of the lake near Gary, Indiana is heavily industrialized. Cities on the shores of Lake Michigan include:
The Saint Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes Waterway opened the Great Lakes to ocean-going vessels. Wider ocean-going container ships do not fit through the locks on these routes, and thus shipping is limited on the lakes. Despite their vast size, large sections of the Great Lakes freeze in winter, interrupting most shipping. Some icebreakers ply the lakes.
The Great Lakes are also connected by the Illinois Waterway to the Gulf of Mexico via the Illinois River (from Chicago) and the Mississippi River. An alternate track is via the Illinois River (from Chicago), to the Mississippi, up the Ohio, and then through the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway (combination of a series of rivers and lakes and canals), to Mobile Bay and the Gulf. Commercial tug-and-barge traffic on these waterways is heavy.
Pleasure boats can also enter or exit the Great Lakes by way of the Erie Canal and Hudson River in New York. The Erie Canal connects to the Great Lakes at the east end of Lake Erie (at Buffalo, NY) and at the south side of Lake Ontario (at Oswego, NY).
Lake Michigan has many beaches. The region is often referred to as the "Third Coast" of the United States, after those of the Atlantic Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. The sand is often soft and off-white, known as "singing sands" because of the squeaking noise (caused by high quartz content) it emits when walked upon. Some beaches have sand dunes covered in green beach grass and sand cherries, and the water is usually clear and cool, between 55 and 80 °F (13 and 27 °C), even in the late summer months. However, because prevailing westerly winds tend to move the surface water toward the east, there is a flow of warmer water to the Michigan shore in the summer.
The sand dunes located on the east shore of Lake Michigan are the largest freshwater dune system in the world. In fact, in multiple locations along the shoreline, the dunes rise several hundred feet above the lake surface. Large dune formations can be seen in many state parks, national forests and national parks along the Indiana and Michigan shoreline. Some of the most expansive and unique dune formations can be found at Indiana Dunes National Park, Saugatuck Dunes State Park, Warren Dunes State Park, Hoffmaster State Park, Silver Lake State Park, Ludington State Park, and Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. Small dune formations can be found on the western shore of Lake Michigan at Illinois Beach State Park and moderate sized dune formations can be found in Kohler-Andrae State Park and Point Beach State Forest in Wisconsin. A large dune formation can be found in Whitefish Dunes State Park in Wisconsin in the Door Peninsula. Lake Michigan beaches in Northern Michigan are the only place in the world, aside from a few inland lakes in that region, where one can find Petoskey stones, the state stone.
The beaches of the western coast and the northernmost part of the east coast are often rocky, with some sandy beaches due to local conditions; while the southern and eastern beaches are typically sandy and dune-covered. This is partly because of the prevailing winds from the west (which also cause thick layers of ice to build on the eastern shore in winter).
The Chicago city waterfront is composed of parks, beaches, harbors and marinas, and residential developments connected by the Chicago Lakefront Trail. Where there are no beaches or marinas, stone or concrete revetments protect the shoreline from erosion. The Chicago lakefront is accessible for about 24 miles (39 km) between the city's southern and northern limits along the lake.
Two passenger and vehicle ferries operate ferry services on Lake Michigan, both connecting Wisconsin on the western shore with Michigan on the east. From May to October, the historic steam ship, SS Badger, operates daily between Manitowoc, Wisconsin, and Ludington, Michigan, connecting U.S. Highway 10 between the two cities. The Lake Express, established in 2004, carries passengers and vehicles across the lake between Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and Muskegon, Michigan.
The National Park Service maintains the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes National Park. Parts of the shoreline are within the Hiawatha National Forest and the Manistee National Forest. The Manistee National Forest section of the shoreline includes the Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness. The Lake Michigan division of the Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge is also within the lake.
There are numerous state and local parks located on the shores of the lake or on islands within the lake. A partial list follows.
The Milwaukee Reef, running under Lake Michigan from a point between Milwaukee and Racine to a point between Grand Haven and Muskegon, divides the lake into northern and southern basins. Each basin has a clockwise flow of water, deriving from rivers, winds, and the Coriolis effect. Prevailing westerly winds tend to move the surface water toward the east, producing a moderating effect on the climate of western Michigan. There is a mean difference in summer temperatures of 5 to 10 degrees Fahrenheit (2 to 5 degrees Celsius) between the Wisconsin and Michigan shores.
Hydrologically Michigan and Huron are the same body of water (sometimes called Lake Michigan-Huron), but are normally considered distinct. Counted together, it is the largest body of fresh water in the world by surface area. The Mackinac Bridge is generally considered the dividing line between them. Both lakes are part of the Great Lakes Waterway. The main inflow to Lake Michigan from Lake Superior, through Lake Huron, is controlled by the locks operated by the bi-national Lake Superior Board of Control
Historic High Water
Historic Low Water
In January 2013, Lake Michigan's monthly mean water levels dipped to an all-time low of 576.2 ft (175.6 m), reaching their lowest ebb since record keeping began in 1918. The lakes were 29 in (0.74 m) below their long-term average and had declined 17 inches since January 2012. Keith Kompoltowicz, chief of watershed hydrology for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers' district office in Detroit, explained that biggest factors leading to the lower water levels in 2013 were a combination of the "lack of a large snowpack" in the winter of 2011/2012 coupled with very hot and dry conditions in the summer of 2012.
Lake Michigan, like the other Great Lakes, supplies drinking water to millions of people in bordering areas. The lakes are collectively administered by the state and provincial governments adjacent to them pursuant to the Great Lakes Compact.
Environmental problems can still plague the lake. Steel mills and refineries operate near the Indiana shoreline. The Chicago Tribune reported that BP is a major polluter, dumping thousands of pounds of raw sludge into the lake every day from its Whiting, Indiana, oil refinery. In March 2014 BP's Whiting refinery was responsible for spilling more than 1,600 US gallons (6,100 l) of oil into the lake.
Lake Michigan is home to a wide variety of fish species and other organisms. It was originally home to lake whitefish, lake trout, yellow perch, panfish, largemouth bass, smallmouth bass and bowfin, as well as some species of catfish. As a result of improvements to the Welland Canal in 1919, an invasion of sea lampreys and overharvesting, there has been a decline in native lake trout populations, ultimately causing an increase in the population of another invasive species, the alewife. As a result, salmonids, including various strains of brown trout, steelhead (rainbow trout), coho and chinook salmon, were introduced as predators in order to decrease the alewife population. This program was so successful that the introduced population of trout and salmon exploded, resulting in the creation of a large sport fishery for these introduced species. Lake Michigan is now stocked annually with steelhead, brown trout, and coho and chinook salmon, which have also begun natural reproduction in some Lake Michigan tributaries. However, several introduced invasive species, such as lampreys, round goby, zebra mussels and quagga mussels, continue to cause major changes in water clarity and fertility, resulting in knock-on changes to Lake Michigan's ecosystem, threatening the vitality of native fish populations.
Fisheries in inland waters of the United States are small compared to marine fisheries. The largest fisheries are the landings from the Great Lakes, worth about $13 million in 2003. Michigan’s commercial fishery today consists mainly of 150 tribe-licensed commercial fishing operations through the Chippewa-Ottawa Resource Authority (CORA) and tribes belonging to the Great Lakes Indian Fish and Wildlife Commission (GLIFWC), which harvest 50 percent of the Great Lakes commercial catch in Michigan waters, and 45 state-licensed commercial fishing enterprises. The prime commercial species is the lake whitefish (Coregonus clupeaformis). The annual harvest declined from an average of 11 million pounds (5,000,000 kg) from 1981 through to 1999 to more recent annual harvests of 8 to 9.5 million pounds (3,600,000 to 4,300,000 kg). The price for lake whitefish dropped from $1.04/lb. to as low as $.40/lb during periods of high production.
Sports fishing includes salmon, whitefish, smelt, lake trout and walleye being major catches. In the late 1960s, successful stocking programs for Pacific salmon led to the development of Lake Michigan’s charter fishing industry.
Like all of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan is today used as a major mode of transport for bulk goods. In 2002, 162 million net tons of dry bulk cargo were moved via the Lakes. This was, in order of volume: iron ore, grain and potash. The iron ore and much of the stone and coal are used in the steel industry. There is also some shipping of liquid and containerized cargo, but most container vessels cannot pass the locks on the Saint Lawrence Seaway because the ships are too wide. The total amount of shipping on the lakes has been on a downward trend for several years.
The Port of Chicago, operated by the Illinois International Port District, has grain (14 million bushels) and bulk liquid (800,000 barrels) storage facilities along Lake Calumet. The central element of the Port District, Calumet Harbor, is maintained by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.
Tourism and recreation are major industries on all of the Great Lakes:
Generally, the Chicago Harbor comprises the public rivers, canals, and lakes within the territorial limits of the City of Chicago and all connecting slips, basins, piers, breakwaters, and permanent structures therein for a distance of three miles from the shore between the extended north and south lines of the city. The greater Chicago Harbor includes portions of the Chicago River, the Calumet River, the Ogden Canal, the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, Lake Calumet, and Lake Michigan.In a more narrow sense, the Chicago Harbor is that artificial harbor on Lake Michigan located at the mouth of the Chicago River bounded by outer breakwaters to the north and east, Northerly Island to the south, and the Chicago shoreline to the west. The main entrance to this harbor is marked by the Chicago Harbor Lighthouse. The Jardine Water Purification Plant, Navy Pier, the Chicago Harbor Lock, Coast Guard Station Chicago, the municipal harbors - Dusable Harbor and Monroe Harbor, and the yacht clubs - Chicago Yacht Club and Columbia Yacht Club are all located here.The Port of Chicago is located within the greater Chicago Harbor in and around Calumet Harbor, the Calumet River, and Lake Calumet.
The Chicago Park District operates a municipal harbor system within the greater Chicago Harbor in Lake Michigan for recreational boaters. With accommodations for 6000 boats, it is the largest system of its kind in the nation. The system comprises (from north to south) Montrose Harbor, Belmont Harbor, Diversey Harbor, Dusable Harbor, Monroe Harbor, Burnham Harbor, 31st Street Harbor, 59th Street Harbor, and Jackson Park Inner and Outer Harbors.Chicago River
The Chicago River is a system of rivers and canals with a combined length of 156 miles (251 km) that runs through the city of Chicago, including its center (the Chicago Loop). Though not especially long, the river is notable because it is one of the reasons for Chicago's geographic importance: the related Chicago Portage is a link between the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River Basin, and ultimately the Gulf of Mexico.
The River is also noteworthy for its natural and human-engineered history. In 1887, the Illinois General Assembly decided to reverse the flow of the Chicago River through civil engineering by taking water from Lake Michigan and discharging it into the Mississippi River watershed, partly in response to concerns created by an extreme weather event in 1885 that threatened the city's water supply. In 1889, the Illinois General Assembly created the Chicago Sanitary District (now The Metropolitan Water Reclamation District) to replace the Illinois and Michigan Canal with the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, a much larger waterway, because the former had become inadequate to serve the city's increasing sewage and commercial navigation needs. Completed by 1900, the project reversed the flow of the Main Stem and South Branch of the Chicago River by using a series of canal locks and increasing the flow from Lake Michigan into the river, causing the river to empty into the new Canal instead. In 1999, the system was named a 'Civil Engineering Monument of the Millennium' by the American Society of Civil Engineers (ASCE).The river is represented on the Municipal Flag of Chicago by two horizontal blue stripes. Its three branches serve as the inspiration for the Municipal Device, a three-branched, Y-shaped symbol that is found on many buildings and other structures throughout Chicago.Door Peninsula
The Door Peninsula is a peninsula in eastern Wisconsin, separating the southern part of the Green Bay from Lake Michigan. The peninsula begins in northern Brown and Kewaunee counties and proceeds northeast to include all of Door County. It is the western portion of the Niagara Escarpment. Well known for its cherry and apple orchards, the Door Peninsula is a popular tourism destination. With the 1881 completion of the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal, the northern half of the peninsula became an island.Limestone outcroppings of the Niagara Escarpment are visible on both shores of the peninsula, but are larger and more prominent on the Green Bay side as seen at the Bayshore Blufflands. Progressions of dunes have created much of the rest of the shoreline, especially on the easterly side. Flora along the shore provides clear evidence of plant succession. The middle of the peninsula is mostly flat, cultivated land. Beyond the northern tip of the peninsula are a succession of islands, the largest of which is Washington Island. The partially submerged ridge extends farther north, becoming the Garden Peninsula in Upper Michigan.Great Lakes
The Great Lakes (French: les Grands-Lacs), also called the Laurentian Great Lakes and the Great Lakes of North America, are a series of interconnected freshwater lakes primarily in the upper mid-east region of North America, on the Canada–United States border, which connect to the Atlantic Ocean through the Saint Lawrence River. They consist of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, although hydrologically, there are four lakes, Superior, Erie, Ontario, and Michigan-Huron. The connected lakes form the Great Lakes Waterway.
The Great Lakes are the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total area, and second-largest by total volume, containing 21% of the world's surface fresh water by volume. The total surface is 94,250 square miles (244,106 km2), and the total volume (measured at the low water datum) is 5,439 cubic miles (22,671 km3), slightly less than the volume of Lake Baikal (5,666 cu mi or 23,615 km3, 22–23% of the world's surface fresh water). Due to their sea-like characteristics (rolling waves, sustained winds, strong currents, great depths, and distant horizons) the five Great Lakes have also long been referred to as inland seas. Lake Superior is the second largest lake in the world by area, and the largest freshwater lake by area. Lake Michigan is the largest lake that is entirely within one country.The Great Lakes began to form at the end of the last glacial period around 14,000 years ago, as retreating ice sheets exposed the basins they had carved into the land which then filled with meltwater. The lakes have been a major source for transportation, migration, trade, and fishing, serving as a habitat to a large number of aquatic species in a region with much biodiversity.
The surrounding region is called the Great Lakes region, which includes the Great Lakes Megalopolis.Great Lakes Circle Tour
The Great Lakes Circle Tour is a designated scenic road system connecting all of the Great Lakes and the St. Lawrence River. It consists of routes for circumnavigating the lakes, either individually or collectively.Green Bay (Lake Michigan)
Green Bay is an arm of Lake Michigan, located along the south coast of Michigan's Upper Peninsula and the east coast of Wisconsin. It is separated from the rest of the lake by the Door Peninsula in Wisconsin, the Garden Peninsula in Michigan, and the chain of islands between them, all formed by the Niagara Escarpment. Green Bay is some 120 miles (193 km) long, with a width ranging from about 10 miles (16 km) to 20 mi (32 km). It is 1,626 square miles (4,210 km2) in area.
At the southern end of the bay is the city of Green Bay, Wisconsin, where the Fox River enters the bay. The Leo Frigo Memorial Bridge (formerly known as the Tower Drive bridge) spans the point where the bay begins and the Fox River ends, as the river flows south to north into the bay. Locally, the bay is often called the Bay of Green Bay to distinguish the bay from the city. The bay is navigable by large ships.
The bay is located in parts of five counties in Wisconsin (Brown, Door, Kewaunee, Marinette, Oconto), and two in Michigan (Delta, Menominee).Holland, Michigan
Holland is a city in the western region of the Lower Peninsula of the U.S. state of Michigan. It is situated near the eastern shore of Lake Michigan on Lake Macatawa, which is fed by the Macatawa River (formerly known locally as the Black River).
The city spans the Ottawa/Allegan county line, with 9.08 square miles (23.52 km2) in Ottawa and the remaining 8.13 square miles (21.06 km2) in Allegan. As of the 2010 census, the population was 33,051, with an Urbanized Area population of 113,164, Holland, MI Urbanized Area as of 2015, ACS Demographic and Housing Estimates:
Holland is the largest city in Ottawa County, and as of 2013 part of the Grand Rapids-Wyoming-Muskegon Metropolitan Statistical Area. Holland was founded by Dutch Americans, and is in an area that has a large percentage of citizens of Dutch American heritage. It is home to Hope College and Western Theological Seminary, institutions of the Reformed Church in America.
In February of 1996 the Holland City Council approved a sister city relationship between Santiago de Querétaro, Querétaro, Mexico and the City of Holland, Michigan, USA.Illinois Beach State Park
Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park is part of the Illinois state park system and is located along Lake Michigan in Winthrop Harbor, Zion, and unincorporated Benton Township in northeast Illinois. Together with lands to the north, including Chiwaukee Prairie, it forms the Chiwaukee Illinois Beach Lake Plain, an internationally recognized wet-land under the Ramsar Convention. The park is broken into two units that encompass an area of 4,160 acres (1,683 ha) and contains over six miles of Lake Michigan shoreline.
Recreational activities at Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park include boating, swimming, hiking, bicycling, camping, bird watching, and picnicking. Known primarily for the beach, Adeline Jay Geo-Karis Illinois Beach State Park also includes dune areas, wetlands, prairie, and black oak savanna. The area at the far southern end of the park is a designated nature preserve, which was named a National Natural Landmark in 1980.Lake Chicago
This article is about the prehistoric lake, For other geographic features with this name, see Chicago
Lake Chicago was a prehistoric proglacial lake that is the ancestor of what is now known as Lake Michigan, one of North America's five Great Lakes.Lake Michigan–Huron
Lake Michigan–Huron (also Huron–Michigan) is the combined waters of Lake Michigan and Lake Huron, which are joined through the 5-mile (8.0 km) wide, 20-fathom (120 ft; 37 m) deep, open-water Straits of Mackinac. Huron and Michigan are hydrologically a single lake because the flow of water through the straits keeps their water levels in near-equilibrium. (Although the flow is generally eastward, the water moves in either direction depending on local conditions.) Combined, Lake Michigan–Huron is the largest fresh water lake by area in the world. However, if Lake Huron and Lake Michigan are considered two separate lakes Lake Superior is larger than either.List of beaches in Chicago
The beaches in Chicago are an extensive network of waterfront recreational areas operated by the Chicago Park District. The Chicago metropolitan waterfront includes parts of the Lake Michigan shores as well as parts of the banks of the Chicago, Des Plaines, Calumet, Fox, and DuPage Rivers and their tributaries. The waterfront also includes the Illinois and Michigan Canal and the Sanitary and Ship Canal. Historically, the waterfront has been used for commerce, industry, and leisure. Leisure, such as fishing, swimming, hunting, walking and boating, was much more prevalent throughout the river sections of the waterfront system early in the 19th century before industrial uses altered the landscape. By midcentury, much leisure shifted to Lake Michigan as a result of industrial influence. The first City of Chicago Public Beach opened in Lincoln Park in 1895. Today, the entire 28 miles (45 km) Chicago lakefront shoreline is man-made, and primarily used as parkland. There are twenty-four beaches in Chicago along the shores of freshwater Lake Michigan.Typically, Chicago beaches take the name of the east-west street that runs perpendicular to the lake at each beach's location.Ludington, Michigan
Ludington is a city in the state of Michigan. As of the 2010 census, the city population was 8,076. It is the county seat of Mason County.Ludington is a harbor town located on Lake Michigan at the mouth of the Pere Marquette River. Many people come to Ludington year round for recreation, including boating and swimming on Lake Michigan, Hamlin Lake, and other smaller inland lakes, as well as hunting, fishing, and camping. Nearby are Ludington State Park (which includes the Big Sable Point Light), Nordhouse Dunes Wilderness, and Manistee National Forest. Ludington is also the home port of the SS Badger, a vehicle and passenger ferry with daily service in the summer across Lake Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin. Watching the Badger come into port in the evening from the end of the north breakwall by the Ludington lighthouse is a favorite local pastime.
Ludington has multiple golf and disc golf courses, attracting numerous players. In summer, the city hosts quite a few large events. Examples are one of the largest Gus Macker basketball tournaments (with 35,500 spectators), the Ludington Area Jaycees Freedom Festival (July 4), the Lakestride Half Marathon in June, and the West Shore Art League's Art Fair. As a result of its many attractions (based on AAA's 2005 TripTik requests), Ludington is the fifth-most-popular tourist city in Michigan, behind Mackinaw City, Traverse City, Muskegon, and Sault Ste. Marie.Michigan City, Indiana
Michigan City is a city in LaPorte County, Indiana, United States. It is one of the two principal cities of the Michigan City-La Porte, Indiana Metropolitan statistical area, which is included in the Chicago-Naperville-Michigan City Combined statistical area.
Located in the region known to locals as Michiana, it is approximately 50 miles east of Chicago and 40 miles west of South Bend. The city had a population of 31,479 at the 2010 census.
Michigan City is noted for both its proximity to Indiana Dunes National Park and for bordering Lake Michigan. Due to this, Michigan City receives a fair amount of tourism during the summer months, especially by residents of Chicago and of nearby cities in Northern Indiana. The lighthouse is a notable symbol for the city and is incorporated in the heading of Michigan City's sole newspaper, The News Dispatch, and the city's official seal. Michigan City hosted the sailing events at the 1987 Pan American Games.SS Badger
SS Badger is a passenger and vehicle ferry in the United States that has been in service on Lake Michigan since 1953. Currently, the ship shuttles between Ludington, Michigan, and Manitowoc, Wisconsin, a distance of 62 miles (100 km) , connecting U.S. Highway 10 (US 10) between those two cities. It is the last coal-fired passenger vessel operating on the Great Lakes, and was designated a National Historic Landmark on January 20, 2016.
The ship is named after the University of Wisconsin's athletic teams, the Wisconsin Badgers. Badger runs on Michigan time (Eastern Time Zone, whereas Wisconsin is in the Central Time Zone) and riders pay Michigan taxes on their fares. It runs on a seasonal basis from May to October.SS Spartan
The SS Spartan is a railroad car ferry on Lake Michigan owned by the Chesapeake and Ohio Railway (C&O) from 1952 through 1979. It alternated routes from Ludington, Michigan, to Milwaukee, Kewaunee, and Manitowoc, Wisconsin.Silver Lake State Park (Michigan)
Silver Lake State Park is a public recreation area covering 2,936 acres (1,188 ha) bordering Lake Michigan and Silver Lake near Mears in Oceana County, Michigan. The state park is composed of mature forest land and over 2,000 acres (810 ha) of sand dunes. The park is 1.5 miles (2.4 km) wide and 3 miles (4.8 km) long and is divided into three segments: The northern area is an all-terrain vehicle dunes area where private motorized vehicle may be driven, the middle of the park is a non-vehicle area (the Walking Dunes), and the southernmost section is leased to a private operator. The park grounds include the Little Sable Point Light on Lake Michigan and one mile of shoreline on 690-acre (280 ha) Silver Lake.St. Joseph River (Lake Michigan)
The St. Joseph River (known locally as the St. Joe) is a 206 miles (332 km) long tributary of Lake Michigan flowing generally westerly through southern Michigan and northern Indiana, United States, to its terminus on the southeast shore of the lake. It drains a primarily rural farming area in the watershed of Lake Michigan. It was enormously important to Native Americans and greatly aided in the colonial exploration, settlement and administration of New France and the nascent United States as a canoe route between Lake Michigan and the watershed of the Mississippi River.Straits of Mackinac
The Straits of Mackinac ( MAK-in-aw) are narrow waterways in the U.S. state of Michigan between Michigan's Lower and Upper Peninsulas. The main strait flows under the Mackinac Bridge and connects two of the Great Lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The main strait is 3.5 miles (5.6 km) wide and has a maximum depth of 295 feet (90 m). Hydrologically, the two connected lakes can be considered one lake, which is called Lake Michigan–Huron. Historically, the native Odawa people called the region around the Straits Michilimackinac. The Straits of Mackinac is "whipsawed by currents unlike anywhere else in the Great Lakes".Islands forming the edge of Straits of Mackinac include the two populated islands, Bois Blanc and Mackinac, and one that is uninhabited: Round island. The Straits of Mackinac is a major shipping lane, providing passage for raw materials and finished goods and connecting, for instance, the iron mines of Minnesota to the steel mills of Gary, Indiana. Before the railroads reached Chicago from the east, most immigrants arrived in the Midwest and Great Plains by ships on the Great Lakes. The straits is five miles (8 km) wide at its narrowest point, where it is spanned by the Mackinac Bridge. Before the bridge was built, car ferries transported vehicles across the straits. Today passenger-only ferries carry people to Mackinac Island, which does not permit cars. Visitors can take their vehicles on a car ferry to Bois Blanc Island.
The straits are shallow and narrow enough to freeze over in the winter. Navigation is ensured for year-round shipping to the Lower Great Lakes by the use of icebreakers.
The straits were an important Native American and fur trade route. The Straits of Mackinac are named after Mackinac Island. The local Ojibwe Native Americans in the Straits of Mackinac region likened the shape of the island to that of a turtle, so they named the island Mitchimakinak, meaning "Big Turtle". When the British explored the area, they shortened the name to its present form: Mackinac.Located on the southern side of the straits is the town of Mackinaw City, the site of Fort Michilimackinac, a reconstructed French fort founded in 1715, and on the northern side is St. Ignace, site of a French Catholic mission to the Indians, founded in 1671. The eastern end of the straits was controlled by Fort Mackinac on Mackinac Island, a British colonial and early American military base and fur trade center, founded in 1781.Walled Lake, Michigan
Walled Lake is a city in the southern central portion of Commerce Township in Oakland County in the U.S. state of Michigan. The population was 6,999 at the 2010 census.
Great Lakes of North America