9 Fun Lake Michigan Facts

Lake Michigan. It is charming, powerful, respected, and much-visited. Ask a Michigander about their favorite vacation destination, and you may want to settle in for a while. You just opened a Pandora’s Box of tales involving Lake Michigan, Lake Michigan facts, and Lake Michigan-adjacent adventures.

Lake Michigan is more than one of the Great Lakes. Lake Michigan facts set it apart from other massive bodies of water with its own historical significance and individual experiences. It may be the second-largest Great Lake, but it holds first place in the hearts of many for a variety of reasons!

9 Fun Facts About Lake Michigan

  1. Lake Michigan is all ours.
  2. Lake Michigan is super old.
  3. Lake Michigan is the final resting place of many shipwrecks.
  4. Three other states claim Lake Michigan as their own.
  5. Lake Michigan has A LOT of islands.
  6. Lake Michigan has the “Third Coast” of the U.S.
  7. There is a mysterious “Michigan Triangle.”
  8. Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are almost one lake.
  9. Lake Michigan has great wildlife diversity.

1. Lake Michigan is all ours.


Lake Michigan 3-D Nautical Wood Chart, Large
Lake Michigan is the only great lake that is housed entirely within the borders of the United States. The United States and Canada share the other four Great Lakes. All 22,405 square miles of this freshwater body lie within the USA, making it an easily accessible vacation destination.


2. Lake Michigan is super old.

This is a hard and fast Lake Michigan fact – it is one old lake. During the last Ice Age, about 1.2 billion years ago, two tectonic plates were ripped apart, creating the Mid-Continent Rift. Less than 15,000 years ago, glaciers melted, filling the basin to form what we now know as Lake Michigan.

3. Lake Michigan is the final resting place of many shipwrecks.

One well-known Michigan Lake fact is the perilous weather conditions that can whip up without notice and create ferocious waves, swallowing ships and taking them to the depths of the lake since the early 1800s. Nearly 1,500 shipwrecks are scattered along the sandy floor of Lake Michigan. The Great Lakes are long-established as a primary trade route for the Native Americans, Canada, and the United States, giving it rich maritime history. 

4. 3 other states claim Lake Michigan as their own.

Lake Michigan borders four other states, but Michiganders are quick to stake an exclusive claim and, as their local lake art will reflect, the more beautiful stretch of shoreline. Illinois, Wisconsin, and Indiana each border Lake Michigan. Illinois is home to the largest city to border Lake Michigan – Chicago – which boasts its iconic stretch of shoreline, Lakeshore Drive, and scenic Lakefront Trail.

5. Lake Michigan has A LOT of islands.


Lake Michigan Serving Tray
Lake Michigan fact within a fact: Lake Michigan only has islands in the northern part of the lake. One well-known Lake Michigan fact is that Beaver Island is the largest island, with 600 year-round residents. Many of the islands are uninhabited but draw sailors and visitors from all over during the summer season.


6. Lake Michigan has the “3rd Coast” of the United States.

Often captured in lake art and treasured photographs, the beauty is seen throughout the 1,650 miles of shoreline, making it the “Third Coast” after the shorelines of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans. Faithful Michiganders take great pride in their national parks and dunes along the shoreline, honoring the Great Lake with nautical home décor and lake art that showcases the pure beauty of Lake Michigan.

7. There is a mysterious “Michigan Triangle.”

Similar to the Bermuda Triangle, this isn’t Michigan myth or legend – the Michigan Triangle is a Lake Michigan fact. The triangle is in an area between Manitowoc in Wisconsin and Ludington and Benton Harbor in Michigan, where ships and airplanes have vanished. While researchers have not been able to locate these vanished vessels, a Stonehenge-like rock formation has been found on the lake floor, including a rock carving of a Mastodon.

8. Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are almost 1 lake.

Great Lakes Wood Clock

The Strait of Mackinac connects Lake Michigan and Lake Huron at the top of The Mitten. This well-known trade route was the main thoroughfare for early Native Americans looking to sell their hand-crafted goods, fur pelts, and other wares throughout the area surrounding the Great Lakes. The Strait is approximately 3.5 miles wide and, every yupper knows this Lake Michigan fact – this is the dividing line separating the Upper Peninsula from those who inhabit The Mitten.

9. Lake Michigan has great wildlife diversity.

The Lake Michigan fact that the lake is such a clear body of water makes it a diverse habitat for many species of fish and land animals. In addition, the deep, cold waters have historically supported many fish species. An odd Lake Michigan fact is that vegetarian piranha with human-like teeth have been caught by anglers in the Great Lakes, including Lake Michigan.

Fish Common to Lake Michigan

  • Lake trout
  • Yellow perch
  • Lake sturgeon
  • Lake whitefish
  • Walleye

The area surrounding Lake Michigan is home to many species that are native to the region. The abundance of freshwater ecosystems creates a unique habitat for a variety of animals, including birds and mammals. Lake Michigan wildlife provides an excellent opportunity for the fishing industry and sportspeople alike.

Wildlife Around Lake Michigan

  • Elk
  • Black bear
  • Beaver
  • White-tailed deer 

Give in to the Lake Art!

Lake Michigan "Fire & Birch" Series

Fun Lake Michigan facts like these keep visitors to this Great Lake entertained and in awe of her beauty. As you explore the vast shoreline, each view is better than the last, each beach town is more charming than the one before, and lake art is abundantly used for décor in homes, hotels, and all your favorite restaurants. You cannot help but become obsessed with the lake art that brightens your mood and lets you bring the beauty of Lake Michigan home with you.

Lake art and wood charts to commemorate a Lake Michigan adventure are available in unique boutiques and lake art stores throughout the region. One last Lake Michigan fact? This Great Lake will find its way into your heart and your home through lake art, so go ahead, give in to all the lake art your home will hold, and consider yourself an honorary Michigander!

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