Great Lakes

The largest group of lakes on earth

The Great Lakes are a collection of freshwater lakes , consisting of Lakes Superior, Michigan, Huron, Erie, and Ontario, they form the largest group of freshwater lakes on Earth by total surface and volume.
There are eight US states bording the lakes: the states of Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Wisconsin.


A huge yachting community

Outdoor recreation in the Great Lakes region is a way of life. The Great Lakes offer outstanding tourism and recreation opportunities, ranging from pristine wilderness activities in national parks such as Isle Royale and Pukaskwa to waterfront beaches in major cities. A well-defined four-seasons climate supports many types of recreation from ice fishing, skiing and snowmobiling in the winter to golf, fishing, boating and swimming in the summer.
The Great Lakes states have about a third of the nation's total registered recreational boats.

A passage from East to West and from North to South

The Saint Lawrence Seaway and Great Lakes Waterway opened the Great Lakes to ocean-going vessels. The move to wider ocean-going container ships — which do not fit through the locks on these routes — has limited shipping on the lakes. Despite their vast size, large sections of the Great Lakes freeze over in winter, interrupting most shipping. Some icebreakers ply the lakes.

The Great Lakes are also connected to the Gulf of Mexico by way of the Illinois River (from the Chicago River) and the Mississippi River. An alternate track is via the Illinois River (from Chicago), to the Mississippi, up the Ohio, and then through the Tennessee-Tombigbee Waterway (combination of a series of rivers and lakes and canals), to Mobile Bay and the Gulf. Commercial tug-and-barge traffic on these waterways is heavy.

Pleasure boats can also enter or exit the Great Lakes by way of the Erie Canal and Hudson River in New York. The Erie Canal connects to the Great Lakes at the east end of Lake Erie (at Buffalo, NY) and at the south side of Lake Ontario (at Oswego, NY).



Interesting links:

Great Lakes General information
Cruising the North Channel
Lake Huron Ontario Canada
Lake Michigan North Shore
Lake Ontario Sand beach
Yacht Club Chicago
Detroit Yacht Club
Great Lakes