America By Rail Blog

posted on August 03, 2016

The largest fresh water system on Earth is the Great Lakes of North America. Lake Michigan, Superior, Huron, Erie, and Ontario account for one-fifth (6 quadrillion gallons) of freshwater on our planet. In fact, these lakes are so large that some of its natural features can be seen from space. The Great Lakes also feature countless beautiful attractions and natural wonders such as the Sleeping Bear Dunes, Pictured Rocks, Washington Island, and Mackinaw Island. Our Great Lakes Circle Tour allows you to visit each of these Great Lakes attractions and other breathtaking sights. Here are more interesting facts about each of the Great Lakes that will make you want to visit them on our tour: 

Lake Michigan 


  • Lake Michigan is the only Great Lake located entirely within the United States boarders.
  • The world’s largest freshwater dunes are found along the Lake Michigan shoreline. 
  • It is the second largest Great Lake water by volume –it holds 1,180 cubic miles of water.  
  • The Petoskey stone, a fossilized coral, is unique to the shoreline of Lake Michigan 
  • The Sleeping Bear Dunes cover over 50,000 acres along Lake Michigan.
  • It is considered one lake hydrologically, since Lake Michigan is joined by Lake Huron at the Straits of Mackinac. 

Lake Huron


  • With 3,830 miles of shoreline, Lake Huron contains the more shoreline of all the Great Lakes.
  • It is home to 30,000 islands and there have been more than 1,000 shipwrecks.
  • Lake Huron was the first Great Lake to be discovered by European explorers.
  • It is the fifth-largest freshwater lake in the world – covering almost 60,00 square kilometers. 
  • Mackinac Island is located on Lake Huron and was a battleground during the American Revolutionary War.  

Lake Erie


  • Lake Erie is the shallowest of all the Great Lakes with an average depth of 62 feet.
  • Allegedly, there is a 30-40 foot-long “monster” named Bessie, which is most likely a huge sturgeon. 
  • The lake touches four U.S. states –Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and New York.
  • It is the warmest in temperature of all the Great Lakes, but also freezes over more than the other lakes.
  • Lake Erie was the last of the Great Lakes to be discovered in 1669.


Lake Superior


  • All four of the other Great Lakes and three more the size of Lake Erie can fit into the inside of Lake Superior –making it the largest freshwater lake in the world.
  • The “Graveyard of the Great Lakes” is a stretch of water on the southern part of Lake Superior between Munising and Whitefish Point, as hundreds of ships have been lost there. 
  • The Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore on Lake Superior covers over 42 miles of various rock formations, waterfalls, archways, and more. 
  • The last time Lake Superior froze over was in 1997. 

Lake Ontario


  • The province Ontario was named after Lake Ontario.
  • It is the smallest of the Great Lakes in surface area, but the 14th largest lake in the world.
  • It was formatted by the glacial shifting and melting at the end of the most recent Ice Age. 
  • The American eel used to be the most common fish in Lake Ontario.
  • A natural rhythmic motion called a “seiche” occurs on Lake Ontario every 11 minutes, where the water sloshes back and forth. 


The Great Lakes sure are great! Not only are they rich in history, size, and interesting facts –but they provide a wide range of recreational activities, sight-seeing and more! Explore and discover The Great Lakes with our Great Lakes Circle Tour that highlights the natural beauty of the lakes and their breathtaking landmarks. 

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