Lake Erie

United States of America, Canada

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About Lake Erie

The fourth largest and most southern of North America’s five Great Lakes, Lake Erie is also the shallowest and smallest by volume. But don’t underestimate its size or its reach – it has around 1,401 km (~870 mi) of shoreline. Not only does it span the border between the USA and Canada at its northern end, it also extends into four American states – Michigan to the west and Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York to the south.

With a total surface area of 25,745km2 (9,940 sq mi), its length stretches 388 km (~241 mi) and it is 92 km (57 mi) at its widest points. Standing at an elevation of 174 m (571 ft) above sea level, its average depth is only around 19 m (62 ft), so it warms rapidly in summer and can freeze totally in winter.

The lake lies in a very fertile basin, so the area supports much agriculture and is densely populated. This has resulted in worry about the lake’s environmental health – it’s been adversely affected by pollution, overfishing, algal bloom and eutrophication. This latter is caused by excessive nutrients entering the lake from fertilizers, human and animal waste, causing dangerously overactive plant growth, particularly algae which kill off fish and other vital parts of the food chain.


A popular activity in the area is diving for shipwrecks, of which there are 270 confirmed - but it’s thought there are up to 8,000. These are well preserved due to the coldness of the water and lack of salinity; but cold water temperatures below the surface makes diving conditions difficult, strenuous and recommended only for experienced divers. Swimmers and kayakers will also love this vast playground, but should look out for often strong currents.

There are a number of public parks to explore around the lake, such as Long Point Provincial Park in Ontario, Canada. This is a UNESCO Biosphere reserve and a famous stopover point for migrating birds, with around 383 different species spotted. In south Michigan lies the Sterling State Park – providing 5.2 km2 (2 sq mi) of hiking, cycling, fishing and boating, and even a sandy beach for leisure activities.

Scuba Diving
Caravanning / RVing
United States of America, Canada
Latitude: 42.157296, Longitude: -81.343203