When you’re feeling the need to feel the sand between your toes and hear the waves crashing against the shore, there’s more than the east and west coasts to visit. The Great Lakes offer amazing summer temperatures, clean beaches, marinas, and fishing opportunities. Oh yeah, and as you may have heard, the Great Lakes are Unsalted and Shark Free.
The Great Lakes include Huron, Michigan, Superior, Ontario and Erie. Together they are the largest body of fresh water on Earth, accounting for 20 percent of the freshwater on Earth. 10 percent of US residents and 30% of Canadian residents live in the Great Lake Basin. 85% of the Fresh Water surface area in the US is in the Great Lakes.
All of the Great Lakes are bordered by Ontario, the Canadian province to the north. To this day, the Great Lakes account for a large amount of shipping, with international shipments arriving via sea freight from China, India, and elsewhere. Goods also leave from the US for destinations around the globe.
There are over 17 National Parks in the Great Lakes basin. Some of the most popular include:
These park feature sandstone cliffs, sand dunes, lakes, beaches, forest, waterfalls and shoreline calling you to visit. A Circle Tour of Lake Superior is not well know, but popular among those who try it. The tour consists of eight parks or rec areas:
If you have time, the full road trip tour is about 1300 miles total.
Over 150 years ago, the booming shipping industry helped boost the local economies of cities all around the shores of the Great Lakes. One popular route was through Sault Ste. Marie, connecting Lake Huron and Lake Superior, and on the Lake Michigan side of this route many ships became stranded by weather and sank. This area along the Michigan shoreline became known as Shipwreck Coast because so many of ship succumbed to the terribly unpredictable weather. Because the Great Lakes are unsalted, many of the shipwrecks are well preserved to this day.
To get to Lake Superior from overseas, freighters must pass through the Soo Locks at the twin cities called Sault (pronounced Sue) Ste. Marie (Canada and Michigan each have one), a set of locks that allows ships to nagivate the 20 foot drop between the two lakes. Here’s some interesting facts about the locks:
● Half a trillion US Dollars worth of iron ore pass through the lock annually – that’s nearly all of the iron ore consumed by the world.
● The largest freighter to pass through the locks is the Paul R. Tregurtha, with a length just over 1000 ft.
● It takes about 9 hours for a freighter to make it through the river way between Huron and Superior
There’s much fun to be had in the Great Lakes, whether scuba diving for shipwrecks or kayaking around Isle Royale. While all of this fun is being had, remember that you don’t need to worry about getting salt in your eyes or losing a leg to a shark!
Go on, click it! You’ll need one one your popping bottle at the Soo Locks.