Lake Michigan is one of the five North American Great Lakes. It is bounded, in clockwise order, by the US states of Indiana, Illinois, Wisconsin, and Michigan, which is named for it.
Lake Michigan is the only one of the Great Lakes wholly within the borders of the US. It has a surface area of 57750 square kilometers, making it the 5th largest lake in the world. It is 307 miles long by 118 miles wide. It greatest depth is 923 feet (281 m). It contains a volume of 4,918 cubic km of water.
Cities on the shores of Lake Michigan include Milwaukee, Wisconsin, Green Bay, Wisconsin, Gary, Indiana, Michigan City, Indiana and Chicago, Illinois. The southern tip of the lake is heavily industrialized. Some 12 million people live along its shores.
Lake Michigan beaches, especially those beaches of western Michigan and northern Indiana, are known for their beauty. The sand is soft and white, there are often high sand dunes covered in prickly green dune grass and rambling sand cherries, and the water is cold and amazingly clear. When standing on most of the beaches in Michigan, it is impossible to see across the lake to Wisconsin.
Several state parks are located on the lakeshore as well as the Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore and Indiana Dunes National Lakeshore. Part of the shoreline is also in the Hiawatha National Forest and the Manistee National Forest. Part of the Michigan Islands National Wildlife Refuge is located in Lake Michigan.
Lake Michigan drains into Lake Huron through the Straits of Mackinac and is part of the Great Lakes Waterway.
Motorists can cross Lake Michigan by a ferry that runs from Ludington, Michigan to Manitowoc, Wisconsin.
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