An Ultimate Guide to Exploring the Great Lakes

An Ultimate Guide to Exploring the Great Lakes

Nature 2024-03-13

The Great Lakes, with their crystal-clear waters and immense size, stand out as some of the most breathtaking natural marvels in the world. Lakes Erie, Huron, Michigan, Ontario, and Superior are celebrated for their majestic views and vibrant lakeside communities, establishing this area as a highly sought-after destination in North America.

Whether you enjoy kayaking, diving, hiking, or sailing, there are a plethora of activities that contribute to the unique experience of exploring the Great Lakes. Moreover, these areas are rich in local customs and centuries-old heritage, further enhancing their allure. If you're considering a visit to the region, here's our ultimate guide to the Great Lakes. Let's get to it!

So what information should you be aware of regarding the Great Lakes before planning a visit?

Lake Erie

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Positioned between southern Ontario and sections of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan, Lake Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes in terms of total volume. Despite its size, Lake Erie boasts a captivating history that compensates for its small stature. It has played a vital role in the economic growth of the area, largely due to the historic Erie Canal. The canal facilitated the passage of numerous commercial vessels through Lake Erie, contributing to the progress of major cities along its shores, such as Detroit, Cleveland, and Buffalo. While these cities may no longer be pivotal in maritime trade, they remain top destinations in the Great Lakes region.

Apart from its rich historical background, Lake Erie features several noteworthy attractions today. One standout is the charming Marblehead Lighthouse in northern Ohio, built in 1821 and continuing to be the oldest operating lighthouse across the Great Lakes. Wine enthusiasts will appreciate that the Lake Erie region is the foremost grape-growing area in the US outside California, with the lake supplying water to over 20 wineries spanning 18,684 acres of vineyards. This makes it a must-visit spot for those who love wine. In addition, Lake Erie houses a significant landmark in the realm of music history – the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in Cleveland, Ohio. Designed by architect I. M. Pei, this iconic angular glass structure hosts invaluable artifacts from the legacy of rock music.

Lake Huron

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Lake Huron acts as the boundary between northeastern Michigan and neighboring Ontario, boasting the longest shoreline of all the Great Lakes at 3,827 miles. Thanks to its extensive coastline, Huron is renowned for its picturesque beaches, such as those at Cheboygan State Park in the US and Providence Bay Beach in Canada. While in Canada, don't miss the chance to explore Big Tub Harbor, where the well-preserved shipwreck of the Sweepstakes can be seen during a glass-bottom boat tour.

In Michigan, Lake Huron is celebrated for its natural marvels like Turnip Rock in Port Austin, a unique rock formation that can be best appreciated through a self-guided kayak adventure. Nature enthusiasts should also check out the Tuttle Marsh Wildlife Area in Oscoda, a 5,000-acre wetland sanctuary offering excellent bird-watching opportunities. Oscoda is also famous for being the finish line of the challenging 120-mile AuSable River Canoe Marathon, an annual event that attracts elite paddlers and thrills spectators.

Lake Michigan

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Lake Michigan is technically connected to Lake Huron via the Strait of Mackinac, leading researchers to view them as a single lake with the largest surface area worldwide. Yet, Lake Michigan stands out on its own, offering stunning views and serving as a picturesque backdrop to cities like Chicago, Illinois, and Milwaukee, Wisconsin. When in Chicago, a visit to Navy Pier is a must for an unparalleled view of Lake Michigan, with its iconic 196-foot-tall Ferris wheel providing breathtaking panoramas. Meanwhile, Milwaukee boasts 1,400 acres of beaches and parkland along its shoreline, offering a tranquil retreat from city life.

Exploring Lake Michigan unveils some of the most remarkable natural attractions in the country. For an adrenaline-filled adventure, head to Silver Lake Sand Dunes for dune buggy rides on thrilling off-road terrain. Outdoor enthusiasts should also check out Sleeping Bear Surf & Kayak, the first freshwater surf shop in northern Michigan. As you stroll along Lake Michigan's shores, keep an eye out for Petoskey Stones, ancient fossilized rocks sporting intricate six-sided corallite patterns, commonly found at locations like Petoskey State Beach.

Lake Ontario

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Lake Ontario is located between the province of Ontario and northern New York. On the Canadian side, you'll find Toronto, the Ontarian capital, where visitors can enjoy a variety of entertainment and cultural attractions. Whether it's watching a Maple Leafs hockey game or admiring the views from the CN Tower, there's plenty to do. In addition, the natural beauty of the Toronto region, like the stunning Scarborough Bluffs and the peaceful Toronto Islands, offers a serene escape for hikers and nature enthusiasts.

On the New York side, Lake Ontario is home to the historic Old Fort Niagara, which has a rich history dating back to its origins as a French fortification in 1726. Today, it stands as the oldest surviving building in the Great Lakes region, making it a must-visit for history buffs. Further north, the Thousand Islands along the Saint Lawrence River offer a unique experience with its 1,864 islands perfect for fishing, diving, and even treasure hunting. The islands are said to hide long-lost buried valuables, adding an air of mystery to the area.

Lake Superior

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Lake Superior, the northernmost of the Great Lakes, borders Ontario, Michigan, Wisconsin, and Minnesota. It's the largest freshwater lake globally, surpassing the combined surface area of Vermont, Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire. Along with its vast size, the lake holds a significant historical legacy, highlighted by landmarks like the Whitefish Point Light Station, constructed in 1861 during Abraham Lincoln's presidency. This lighthouse is part of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum, offering a glimpse into the area's maritime past and the challenges faced by ships navigating its waters.

Renowned for its natural beauty, Lake Superior features remarkable attractions like Tahquamenon Falls State Park in Paradise, Michigan, spanning 50,000 acres within the Upper Peninsula. The park showcases magnificent waterfalls sourced from the lake. In addition, the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore boasts impressive sandstone cliffs, offering kayakers an opportunity to capture stunning photographs of the region's beauty up close.

Park with confidence at start your journey stress-free!

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In addition to our ultimate travel guide, we would also like to provide you with some more useful information on traveling, which will be handy for those who prefer doing this by air.

If you use your own car to reach the airport, you know it's critical to park it safely for the duration of your trip. Almost every airport has special on-site parking for this purpose. However, travelers aren't ready to spend a lot of money at the beginning of their trip, as this option is pretty costly. So what should we do then?

Our booking platform,, offers travelers online reservations for parking just outside airports that are affordable and convenient. Our experienced team is dedicated to providing travelers parking options at over 100 airports in the US and Canada. The app allows customers to search and compare parking rates at up to 70 percent savings compared to the cost of on-site parking at all major airports.

What is actually off-site parking, and which advantages has this parking type, you may ask? So let's take a closer look at this question.

First of all, off-site parking is much cheaper. So you can save money and then spend the most considerable amount on the things you really want to try or see while traveling.

Secondly, off-site parking services are faster. It might seem that it's faster to park your car at the airport, but that's not always the case. Off-site parking offers you the following convenience: when you drive directly up to the entrance, a staff member pulls your luggage out of your vehicle and loads it into the shuttle. Then they park your car for you. After your baggage is loaded, you can take your seat in the shuttle, which will bring you and your bags to the airport. It's a hassle-free option that is usually faster.

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Thirdly, it's much more convenient. People are always stressed before the trip, as there are many things you should keep in mind. Not to be late when taking off, fighting traffic, finding a parking place, wondering how long the shuttle service will take, and more can leave you annoyed before you step foot inside the airport. If you choose off-site parking, you are using the assistance of a private company that caters to travelers' needs. Such services can make your trip much more comfortable when you arrive at the airport and return home.

With, it takes just a few clicks within the application to reserve a parking spot. Upon arrival at off-airport parking, customers receive a booking confirmation and a guaranteed parking spot. The app helps customers find the most convenient airport parking lots. If plans change, cancellations are hassle-free and refundable.

We also offer you services for top cruise ports in Florida, Louisiana, Maryland, New Jersey, and Texas.

Let's look at an example. Imagine that you live in Seattle, Washington. If you're planning a trip to the Great Lakes in North America, you can choose cheap airport parking near SeaTac. If you're coming from Atlanta, Georgia, the situation is the same – you can use affordable off-airport parking Atlanta. So it depends just on where you are flying from.

On our official website, you can find the best deals, airport parking rates, and other information connected with parking near US and Canadian airports.