Michigan’s iconic shape is carved out by four of the Great Lakes: Superior, Huron, Erie and Michigan.
The Great Lakes, including Lake Ontario which doesn't touch Michigan, account for one fifth of the world's supply of surface fresh water.
Michigan’s name is even rooted in the Ojibwa word for “large lake,” Michi Gami. Lake Michigan forms the eastern coast of the Lower Peninsula, and its shores are lined with sand dune—most notably the towering Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. At the Straits of Mackinac, Lake Michigan meets Lake Huron.
The majority of Michigan’s eastern border is spanned by Lake Huron. Better known as the “Sunrise Side,” this shore is famous for its spectacular views of the sun peeking over the water’s horizon.
Just below the "Thumb," in the southwest corner of the state, is Lake Erie. While Erie’s Michigan lakeshore is the smallest of the four lakes, the wildlife and hiking is unrivaled.
Along the northern shore of Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is Lake Superior, the largest freshwater lake in the world. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore is home to 42 miles of sandstone cliffs and lines the lake’s edge from Munising to Grand Marais. Lake Superior is also home to Michigan’s only National Park, Isle Royale, with miles of hiking trails and untouched wildlife.
The bottomland of the Great Lakes is a time capsules of another era, with thousands of lost schooners, steamers and barges carefully preserved by the cold, fresh waters.