Explore the Best Things To Do on the Great Lakes in Michigan

Welcome to Michigan. Do you know why we are called the “Great Lake State”? You are correct if you guessed it is because of the four amazing Great Lakes that share our borders. This blog post will cover a few facts and things to do on the Great Lakes. Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Heron, and Lake Erie await you to discover their expansive beauty and unique experiences.

painted rocks national lakeshore

Lake Superior

The largest and northernmost of the Great Lakes, Lake Superior, is located to the north of the Upper Peninsula. It has a surface area of about 31,700 square miles and reaches a maximum depth of approximately 1,332 feet. This mighty lake forms a natural border between the United States and our Canadian neighbors. If you are interested in exploring the maritime history and crystal clear waters of the northern coastline of Michigan, then Lake Superior is where you will be.

Freshwater Vacation Rentals has made it easy to find a home base for your many adventures to Lake Superior. Click here to begin your search. Be sure to view the map for the best idea of which rental is best for you.

Sites to See Near Lake Superior:

  • Painted Rocks National Lakeshore: Every visitor needs to explore Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore. This stunning stretch of coastline bordering Lake Superior offers some of the best outdoor recreation and sightseeing in the entire state!
  • Discover Our Lighthouses: You will want to explore a few of the many lighthouses that dot Lake Superior’s coast. With over 3,000 miles of shoreline, these UP lighthouses help thousands of shipping vessels navigate safely and provide a collection of beautiful sights for visitors.
  • Agate Hunting at Grand Marais: Grand Marais (and much of the Upper Peninsula shoreline) is renowned for agate hunting. Wander along the coastline and search for these colorful gemstones along the shore.

Lake Michigan

Lake Michigan is located to the west of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. It is the only one of the Great Lakes entirely within the United States and covers approximately 22,400 square miles in surface area. Did you know Lake Michigan is connected to Lake Huron by the Straits of Mackinac and the famous Mackinac Bridge?

Visiting Western Michigan is a treat for those who love the great outdoors, incredible beaches, and beautiful landscapes. Vacationers will love spending time on the shores of Lake Michigan. See why Western Michigan beach towns are all the rage!

Things to do Near Lake Michigan:

  • Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore: Climb the towering dunes for panoramic views of Lake Michigan or relax on the pristine beaches below, surrounded by crystal-clear waters. Explore this iconic landmark and other Western Michigan state parks.
  • Best Beaches in West Michigan: From the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore to Holland State Park, there are plenty of great spots to soak up some sun, make memories, and spend a day at the best beaches.
  • Lake Michigan Shipwrecks: Lake Michigan’s waters are the final resting place for an estimated 1,500 shipwrecks. These sunken vessels form an underwater museum, each with a unique story about the region’s maritime history.
  • Western Michigan Wineries: There are over 50 wineries in West Michigan, and each one presents a unique experience in one of the most up-and-coming wine regions in the country. Several of these wineries are near Lake Michigan and would be a great addition to your itinerary.
  • Holland’s Tulip Time Festival: Visit Holland in May during the Tulip Time Festival, where millions of tulips bloom along the shores of Lake Michigan, creating a vibrant and picturesque scene.
  • Michigan’s Adventure: Feel the thrills of one of Michigan’s favorite amusement & water parks. Michigan’s Adventure is located near the shore of Lake Michigan in Muskegon, MI.

lake huron lighthouse

Lake Huron

Hello from Lake Huron! Situated to the east of Michigan, this huge lake shares its eastern border with the Canadian province of Ontario. The Straits of Mackinac connect this lake to Lake Michigan, creating part of the expansive water system that defines the Great Lakes region.

Did you know that during western expansion, Lake Huron was a vital transportation route for fur traders and explorers? Today, the lake’s shores boast a mix of sandy beaches, limestone cliffs, and forested areas. Famous Mackinac Island, located at the meeting point of Lake Huron and Lake Michigan, is a prime example of the region’s natural beauty and history. Keep reading for more things to do on Lake Huron.

Places to Visit Near Lake Huron:

  • Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary: Dive into the rich maritime history by exploring shipwrecks at Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary, a fascinating underwater museum in Lake Huron.
  • Alpena Shipwreck Tours: Take a glass-bottom boat tour to witness the submerged secrets of Lake Huron, including well-preserved shipwrecks and diverse marine life.
  • Mackinaw City and Mackinac Bridge: Stroll through the charming Mackinaw City and catch breathtaking views of Lake Huron from the iconic Mackinac Bridge, connecting Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas.
  • Mackinac Island: “The Jewel of the Great Lakes” is a popular tourist attraction and rated as a top-10 island in the world by Conde Nast Traveller. With a lack of cars and an overabundance of nature, Mackinac Island is famous for its festivals, scenic views, and idyllic charm. Explore the historic architecture, fudge shops, and scenic bike trails.

Lake Erie

Located southeast of Michigan, Lake Erie is the shallowest and warmest of the Great Lakes. It forms the state’s eastern boundary and serves as part of the border between the United States and Canada. Lake Erie is connected to Lake Huron by the Detroit River and Lake St. Clair, allowing for easy nautical transit.

Things to do on Lake Erie:

  • Fishing: Lake Erie, along with all the Great Lakes, is renowned for its excellent fishing opportunities. Anglers can try to catch walleye, yellow perch, smallmouth bass, and more. Charter fishing services are available for those looking for guided experiences. Be sure to take advantage of Michigan’s free fishing weekend.
  • Bird Watching: As a crucial site for bird migration, Lake Erie is an excellent place for bird watching. Pointe Mouillee State Game Area, near Rockwood, is a birdwatcher’s paradise. Explore the wetlands to observe various bird species, especially during the migration seasons. There are so many wildlife encounters to experience in the Wolverine State.
  • Boating and Sailing: Take advantage of the lake’s open waters for boating and sailing. Marinas along the Michigan coastline offer boat rentals, and enthusiasts can explore the lake at their own pace.

Now that you are armed with knowledge about our Michigan Great Lakes and all the great things to do, you just have to decide where you will start your adventure. Freshwater Vacation Rental offers homes throughout the state that will be the perfect accommodation for your epic getaway. We can’t wait for you to discover the grandeur of the Great Lakes!

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