Experience our Unforgettable Lake Effect

For many people, lake effect means snow along Michigan’s Great Lakes’ coasts, but in the U.P. it is something more. Lake effect is our unquenchable year-around passion for water and we have millions of gallons to share with you. Fresh. Unsalted. Our lakes and beaches are stunningly beautiful in all four seasons.

One of the U.P.’s bragging rights is that it is the only land mass touched by three of the greatest freshwater seas in the world: Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Lake Michigan. We proudly claim 1,700 miles of Great Lakes shoreline where you can gather up colorful agates and stones from our cobble beaches. Surf on roaring waves. Jump from craggy cliffs. Dive for shipwrecks. Make footprints and build castles on expanses of soft sand. Climb towering dunes. Splash and swim for hours. Watch the sun paint the sky crimson, lavender and gold at dawn and evening. These great waters will thrill and inspire you every day.

Yet as much as we treasure our Great Lakers, there are more waves to play in, more acres to boat and fish on, more shores to read by, more mirror-smooth waters to skip flat stones across. The U.P. also is home to 4,300 inland lakes. No two shores or vistas are the same.

Lake Gogebic (pronounced Go-GIBB-ick) is our largest inland gem. It covers 13,380 acres in the western U.P. What sets it apart, aside from being favorite watersports and fishing grounds, is that mid-lake the time zone changes. The north half is in the Eastern Time Zone and the south is in the Central Time Zone.

Travel Ideas

You could spend a lifetime exploring our thousands of lakes and beaches, but here are a few suggestions that offer unique U.P. Lake Effect experiences:

Straits State Park, St. Ignace, offers stunning views from its beach of the Mackinac Bridge and front-row seats to year-round gorgeous sunrises and sunsets. You can also visit the Father Marquette National Memorial while you are here.

Point Iroquois Light Station and its cobblestone beach along Whitefish Bay is a good place to stand on the shore and watch freighters from around the world ply the waters to and from the nearby Soo Locks. Rockhounds can easily spend a few hours here, too.

Whitefish Point has sunken ships off its shore, Lake Superior’s first lighthouse and the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum. In the spring and the fall, it is an excellent place to see hundreds of different migrating birds.

The Grand Sable Dunes, west of Grand Marais, are among the best examples in the world of perched dunes that formed atop an existing coastal bluff. Part of the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, these sand mountains rise more than 300 feet above Lake Superior.

Lake Michigamme in Van Riper State Park, near Champion, is home to Water Warrior Island, a water playground of floating, inflatable water slides, rock climbing walls, trampolines, floating walkways and an obstacle course. It is outdoor fun for the entire family!

Fayette Historic Townsite and State Park on the Garden Peninsula has a slag beach just off the restored iron smelting village. It is a popular place to snorkel and scuba dive to see artifacts at the bottom of Snail Harbor.

U.P. inland lakes and maps by county