Is One Of Michigan's Great Lakes the Best Lake in America?

Is One Of Michigan’s Great Lakes the Best Lake in America?

Frankfort Beach Lake Michigan Early Sunset

Yesterday we looked at the two Michigan sculpture parks that are finalists to be named Best Sculpture Park in the country by, and today we have some more Michigan finalists to highlight in other contests. Four Great Lakes that border Michigan are finalists for Best Lake, while other Michigan lakes look to take home awards for Best Lake For Water Sports, Best Lake For Swimming, and Best Kayak Tour. Picking a favorite Great Lake here in Michigan is a pretty tough decision, so let’s take a look at what makes each one special.

Copper Harbor Lighthouse Michigan Lake Superior

The field for Best Lake is a crowded one, with all five Great Lakes making the list alongside heavy hitters like Lake Tahoe, Lake Champlain, Lake Havasu, and Crater Lake. As far as Michigan is concerned, four of the finalists border our state: Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior. All four of those lakes are also finalists in the Best Lake For Water Sports contest. Great Turtle Kayak Tours (Mackinac Island) is a finalist for Best Kayak Tour, although it is a huge surprise that any Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore kayak tours were left off the list. Finally, in the Best Lake For Swimming we find Lake Charlevoix, Lake Erie, Lake Huron, Lake Michigan, and Lake Superior in the running. With five finalists there, Michigan lakes account for 25 percent of the finalists! Now let’s take a look at what we love about each of these lakes:

Lake Erie – This is the smallest of the Great Lakes that border Michigan. Our Lake Erie shoreline stretches from the Ohio border to the Detroit River. Sterling State Park in Monroe offers camping and a sandy beach on Lake Erie perfect for swimming. As far as water sports go, 10best says ” A paradise for fishing in particular, this sprawling water feature is packed full of bass, salmon, trout and a wealth of other marine animals, and as an added bonus, there’s no shortage of fascinating shipwrecks for divers to explore.” You can vote for Lake Erie for Best Lake, Best Lake For Water Sports, and Best Lake For Swimming at the links provided.

Portland Shipwreck kayak Lake Huron Besser Natural Area

Lake Huron – We share Lake Huron with Canada, but get to enjoy many great beaches and parks on the coastline of the third-largest Great Lake. Some of our favorite spots: Drummond Island, Cheboygan State Park, Mackinac Island, Alpena, Tawas Point State Park, the Thumb region, and Port Huron. Almost every state park along Lake Huron has a great beach for swimming, and water recreation opportunities include kayaking and fishing. The “Sunrise Side” is also well-known for its fall color. You can vote for Lake Huron for Best Lake, Best Lake For Water Sports, and Best Lake For Swimming at the links provided.

Sleeping Bear Dunes Lake MI Overlook Pierce Stocking

Lake Michigan – Our Lake Michigan shoreline is known for its sandy beaches and dunes. We share this massive lake with Wisconsin, Indiana, and Illinois. Some of our favorite Lake Michigan destinations are South Haven, Grand Haven, Holland, Muskegon, Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, Escanaba, and Manistique. For water recreation lovers this is a great lake for kayaking, paddleboarding, fishing, and sightseeing. As far as swimming goes, this is our pick for the best lake in Michigan without a doubt. You can vote for Lake Michigan for Best Lake, Best Lake For Water Sports, and Best Lake For Swimming at the links provided.

Pictured Rocks Lake Superior Kayak Trip 2022

Lake Superior – Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, Marquette, Copper Harbor, and Porcupine Mountains Wilderness State Park are just a few of the reasons why we think Lake Superior deserves to be in the running for the best lake in the country. It is the largest freshwater lake (by surface area) in the world, and is known for its cold water and beautiful scenery. Water sports enthusiasts know this is a great place for fishing, kayaking, paddle boarding, or even scuba diving to shipwrecks. We were a bit surprised to see this on the list of best lakes for swimming because of how short the season for that is each year, but those brave enough to swim in Lake Superior know it is a memorable experience. You can vote for Lake Superior for Best Lake, Best Lake For Water Sports, and Best Lake For Swimming at the links provided.

young state park lake charlevoix

Lake Charlevoix – The only inland Michigan lake to make these lists, Lake Charlevoix is a finalist for best lake for swimming. From 10best: “While Lake Michigan sees its fair share of bathers during the warmer months, it’s not exactly Caribbean-level in terms of temperature. Fortunately, northern Michigan residents have the perfect alternative in the form of Lake Charlevoix. The third-largest natural lake in the state, this scenic body of water tends to run a bit warmer than its massive neighbor, with Depot Beach being a particularly popular spot for taking the first plunge.” Other great spots on this lake include Young State Park, Whiting Park Beach, and Ferry Beach Park. You can cast a vote for Lake Charlevoix at At the time of this writing this contender was holding its own against the Great Lakes, sitting in 4th place overall.

Round island Lighthouse Blue Water

Great Turtle Kayak Tours – A kayak paddle around Mackinac Island sounds like a great trip, and Great Turtle Kayak Tours is no stranger to making this list. From 10best: “Great Turtle Kayak Tours has been leading tours through the waterways of Mackinac Island for more than 20 years. Paddle at sunrise to Arch Rock and the Rock Maze, watch the sunset from Devil’s Kitchen, circumnavigate the island or enjoy a challenging trip across the Straits of Mackinac to Round Island/Hiawatha National Forest.” We were a bit surprised to see some of Michigan’s best-known kayak destinations like Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore not make the cut, but now we don’t have to pick a favorite and can put all our support behind Great Turtle Kayak Tours. Vote for them at, the are currently in first place!