Bet Ya Don’t Know – 8 Factoids You Need To Know About The Great Lakes States

The shores along the Great Lakes states are a majestic sign of creation. Many who see it for the first time say it looks like an ocean. But, unfortunately, they are too large across the horizon. Nearly 51,000 square miles of the world’s surface area is covered by Lake Superior, among the largest lakes in North America. The Great Lake basin is home to one-tenth of the population of the United States and one-quarter of the people in Canada.

The Great Lakes Are Unique & Critical To The United States

Michigan Place Names

The Great Lakes notably contribute to natural resources, political economy, technology, and culture for the millions living in Canada and the United States. For example, the region has many iron ore deposits in Minnesota and Michigan, coal deposits in Pennsylvania through Illinois, and western Pennsylvania hosted the first significant oil. In addition, its soil is enriched in minerals, which produce a vast amount of cereals, corn, and rice and yield several natural foods.

Today, the Great Lakes states have large recreation spots for fishing, boating, and other activities, and they are also considered an essential mode of transportation for goods. In addition, it has a different international trade route, which helps bring prosperity to more significant North American cities, so the region has the second-largest economy.

How Were The Great Lakes Formed?

The evolution of the Great Lake is a direct result of Geology and ancient glaciation. But the actual age of the lake is unknown. However, most scientists suggest that it is 7000 to 32000 years old. The beginning of the Paleozoic marked a division of large inland seas into Northern and Southern America as the sea withdrew, and the forces there continued to shift the continent and alter the landform. During the Pleistocene, 30 percent of the earth was beneath the ice.

A Great Lakes Sunset

The repeated glacier resulted in a massive depression in the bedrock, where a large amount of melted ice formed huge lakes. As Glaciers continued to withdraw, many soil deposits and drainage continued to the East. This ultimately reached the Atlantic Ocean and established the shape of the lake.

The Great Lake States – What States Border the Great Lakes

The Great Lake states include the Canadian and American regions. For example, Canada’s Province of Ontario encompasses all of the Great Lakes. At the same time, eight states of the US that border the Great Lakes are New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. Each of the Great Lakes states has a state nickname.

Illinois – Mile after Magnificent Mile

Great Lakes States - Chicago Illinois
Chicago Illinois Magnificent Mile – Photo by Stephan Cassara

It is situated in the Midwest, next to Indiana, known as the “Land of Lincoln.” This state is entirely of farmland, wetlands, and forests. Chicago is its largest city. The Chicago River transmits water into the city and onto the Mississippi, which is responsible for transferring raw materials to the American heartland.

Chicago contributes to the region’s most extraordinary diversion of Great Lakes water. Illinois sends 2.1 billion gallons of Lake Michigan water daily to the Mississippi River via the reversed flow of the Chicago River. This reduces Lakes Michigan and Huron by 2.5 inches below their normal levels.

Indiana – The Hoosier State Is Winter Home Port For Great Lakes Freighters

Michigan City, Indiana On Lake Michigan
Michigan City, Indiana On Lake Michigan – Photo by Steve Johnson

Indiana is another state that borders Lake Michigan. It is home to the second-largest automotive industry, and it is the state which enjoys four seasons of weather. This area is considered a solid corn, poultry, and soybean producer.

Many Great Lakes freighters call the Indiana port of Burns Harbor home during winter. However, Indiana also has one of the larger National Parks with the Indiana Dunes National Shoreline. It has 15 miles of the southern shore of Lake Michigan.

Michigan – The Great Lakes State Ia A Water Winter Wonderland

Mackinac Bridge
Mackinaw Bridge

It is situated in the middle of four of the five Great Lakes. The states of Wisconsin, Illinois, and Indiana also share Lake Michigan. Michigan shares Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Superior with Canada. This state is a sightseeing tourist destination for fishing, hunting, and boating. Apart from tourism, this state also has extensive manufacturing and agriculture industries. Michigan has a great assortment of Michigan Foods that are fun to try on the road.

Minnesota – The North Star State Is Gateway to America’s Outdoors

Gooseberry Falls State Park on Minnesota’s North Shore

The famous North Shore region in eastern Minnesota is situated by the always chilly waters of Lake Superior. Driving the North Shore is a favorite tourist road trip. The furthest northern point of Minnesota on the Canadian border is the Voyager National Park and Boundary Waters Canoe Area. Both are wilderness destinations. The state is known as the “Bread and Butter State” because of its high-quality flour and dairy products and the headquarters of Pilsbury. Manufacturing, mining, and energy production are the top industries that play a vital role in its economy.

New York – The Empire State

Niagra Falls, New York -
Niagra Falls, New York – Photo by Vinayak Sharma

While its location on the Atlantic Ocean is a favored tourist destination, upstate New York is not to be missed. Upstate New York, on the shores of Lake Ontario, is a region called the 1000 Islands. It’s where the famous 1000 island salad dressing gets its name. Further down the state, Lake Erie feeds the romantic area of Niagra Falls. It’s the home of one of the world’s biggest cities and is known as the “Empire State” due to the wealth of natural resources and entrepreneurship.

Ohio – The Buckeye State

Cleveland, Ohio on Lake Erie
Cleveland, Ohio on Lake Erie – Photo by DJ Johnson

With Lake Erie on its northern border, the two largest cities are Toledo and Cleveland, contributing to the diverse economy. First, it was a hub for manufacturing cars and steel, and now it is branched out into food processing and areas like bioscience. Best essay writing service suggests their students visit Ohio to experience the diversity of manufacturing industries along with Ohio’s food and bioscience industry.

Pennsylvania – The Keystone State

Philadelphia – Photo by Heidi Kaden

Pennsylvania is located between New York and Ohio. It was named “Keystone” as the stone which holds people at a place in the middle of an architectural archway. Pennsylvania is abundant in history, known as a state with the Declaration of Independence, the US Constitution, Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address during the Civil War, and the first oil boom.

Wisconsin – The Badger State

Milwaukee on Lake Michigan
Milwaukee on Lake Michigan

This state touches the shores of both Lake Michigan and Lake Superior. This state is known for its dairy products and makes legendary cheese for the US. Paper and information technology products are also crucial to Wisconsin’s economy.

Most Extensive Freshwater System In The World


The Great Lake is the earth’s most extensive freshwater system, containing roughly 18 percent of the world’s supply. The deepest five freshwater bodies chain includes Superior, Huron, Michigan, Erie, and Ontario. It marks a total surface area of 94,600 square miles and is connected by various lakes and rivers, making them the most extensive freshwater system in the world.

Research suggests Lake Superior is not only the largest freshwater lake in the world but also contains a large volume of water in North America, with approximately 12000 cubic kilometers. It is the primary source of fresh water for more than 40 million people in the United States. In addition, this freshwater system accounts for shipping, tourist attraction, and energy sources.

The Great Lake is connected to eight states, but Michigan is the only one that meets four lakes, with borders on Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie. It also ranks for boating, surfing, paddle boarding, and swimming in the freshwater. Researchers from the Dissertation Assistance concluded in their content that there is an area where many unexplained ship disappearances and missing planes have left people puzzled, similar to the Bermuda Triangle. Some believe that the two phenomena are related, that a strange Stonehenge-like rock rests below the lake.

Major Historical Events Of the Great Lakes

Old Map of Michigan
1700s Map of Michigan
  1. In the beginning, about 14000 years ago, the whole Great Lakes region was covered with glaciers over a mile thick. The glacier melted and receded, leaving a depression later filled with water. They reached the current water level about 10,000 (Lake Erie), 7,000 (Lake Ontario), and 3,000 (Huron, Michigan, Superior) years ago.
  2. Native people moved toward the Great Lakes about 12,000 years ago.
  3. In the early 16th century, Étienne Brûlé was the first European to explore the Great Lakes.
  4. In the seventeenth century, the system of the Great Lakes was controlled by the French, who traded furs with Native Americans.
  5. US and British armies made a treaty to demobilize ships in 1818.
  6. 1825 The Erie Canal opened, and in 1842, the Canadian-US border was drawn across the Great Lakes.
  7. Overfishing in the early 1800s and 1900s resulted in the extension of many fish species, including the Grayling trout.
  8. The US, Britain, and Canada signed the Boundary Waters Treaty to share and protect water in the Great Lakes.

Lakeside Attractions – Must-Visit Spots

There are thousands of places of interest, from a famous waterfall to a national park. Tourists can experience a full spectrum of activities at this unique destination.

Niagara Falls

Niagra Falls at Night
Niagra Falls at Night – Photo by Bryan Goff

It is the scenery of many honeymoons or family photos. Niagara Falls is where the water begins in Lake Superior, Michigan, Huron, and Erie plunge and reaches Lake Ontario.

Mackinac Island

Mackinac Island Harbor - Great Lakes States
Mackinac Island Harbor – Photo by Leah Hatteberg

This island has been a popular tourist destination for over 150 years. Stunning vistas and rolling forests enhance their beauty. It is a great place to enjoy a scenic carriage ride and explore the fort and the many historical buildings.

If you like to get out on the Straits of Mackinac, rent a sailboat for the day. Rub elbows with sailors at the Pink Pony Bar near the harbor, or pick out your favorite handmade fudge from the many shops downtown. Like to sit and watch the world go by? Grab a rocking chair or walk on the world’s largest porch at the Grand Hotel. Built in 1887, the porch of the Grand Hotel is 668 feet long.

Keweenaw Peninsula

Keweenaw Peninsula Tourist Info
Keweenaw Peninsula Tourist Info – Photo by Hans Isaacson

The peninsula is surrounded by cliffs, streams, waterfalls, and splendid views of Lake Superior. At night you can enjoy the fresh air which gives a fantastic view of the stars. Travel to the tip of the Keweenaw and travel along Brockway Mountian Drive to Copper Harbor. At the northernmost point in Michigan, you can catch a ferry ride to Michigan’s only national park, Isle Royale.

FAQs About the Great Lake States

What are the top attractions in the Great Lakes region?

The Great Lakes region boasts attractions like picturesque lighthouses, serene beaches, vibrant cultural festivals, and numerous outdoor activities like hiking and boating.

What is the best time to visit the Great Lakes?

Summer and early fall are ideal for visiting the Great Lakes, offering pleasant weather and a full range of activities.

Are there family-friendly activities in the Great Lakes area?

Absolutely! The Great Lakes region offers numerous family-friendly activities, including beach outings, museum visits, and nature trails suitable for all ages.

Final Thoughts on the Great Lakes States

The Great Lakes are the largest group of lakes in the world, called “The Nation’s Fourth Seacoast.” The Great Lake has formed a boundary between the United States and Canada since the agreement was signed between the two countries.

Due to its large size, the Great Lakes have sea-like conditions, such as large waves and high-energy currents, considered inland seas. They also have a significant impact on the climate in surrounding areas. They have a cooling effect in Summer and a warm effect in fall, and certain areas are prone to Lake Effect Snow in winter.

Great Lakes region is among the most visited areas in the world, and you should also see it at least once.

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Claudia Jeffrey

Claudia Jeffrey is currently working as a Manager of R&D at Crowd Writer UK. Claudia loves to travel and explore the nature of the world. She has a great interest in visiting historical places and ancient monuments. Claudia is also a travel blogger and often shares her experience at Word Count Jet.

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2 thoughts on “Bet Ya Don’t Know – 8 Factoids You Need To Know About The Great Lakes States

    1. The author has it right…It is situated in the Midwest, next to Indiana, known as the “Land of Lincoln.” But I agree with you, it’s a little confusing.

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