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Michigan is a state between two Great Lakes, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron. The state is comprised of two land masses between the two lakes, with the northern part smaller than the southern part. Southeast of the southern part of Michigan is Lake Erie, another one of the Great Lakes, but Michigan’s connection with it is pretty small. Still, today we are going to discuss which among these lakes is the largest in Michigan?


Michigan’s Great Lakes

Lake Huron is west of Michigan. This lake is also on the Canadian border and has the longest shoreline among all the great lakes. It’s the fifth largest freshwater lake in the world, which pays credence to how massive Lake Huron is. Is it the largest in Michigan though?

Lake Erie, southeast of Michigan, holds a special record being the warmest lake among the great lakes, yet oddly, it’s the one that freezes more than the other lakes. The reason behind this is that Lake Erie is not only one of the smaller Great Lakes by surface area, it’s also not nearly as deep as the others. Its total water volume doesn’t come close to the other Great Lakes

East of Michigan is where you’ll find Lake Michigan. This lake alone has more than 12 million people living along its shores, making it the most inhabited among the great lakes. The center of Lake Michigan is also quite deep, dipping at 281 meters into a place where there’s not much life and a whole lot of empty mud.

With all these facts, it’s still quite hard to definitively say which is the largest. Even if we start listing the numbers, there’s still room for argument. By largest do we mean the widest lake? Or the lake with the most amount of water? What about Depth?

The numbers are as follows:


By Surface Area

Lake Michigan:  22,300 square miles (57,800 square kilometers)

Lake Huron: 23,000 square miles (59,600 square kilometers)

Lake Erie: 9,910 square miles (25,700 square kilometers)

It appears that Lake Michigan is short by about 700 square miles, but that’s until you take a look at the amount of water.


By Water Volume

Lake Michigan: 1,180 cubic miles (4,920 cubic kilometers)

Lake Huron: 850 cubic miles (3,540 cubic kilometers)

Lake Erie: 116 cubic miles (484 cubic kilometers)

By sheer volume or amount of water, Lake Michigan takes home the gold. If there’s still room for argument, let’s take on average depth and see if Lake Michigan scores another point.


By Depth

Lake Michigan: 46 fathoms (279 ft/ 85 m)

Lake Huron: 32 fathoms (195 ft / 59 m)

Lake Erie: 10 fathoms (62 ft /19 m)

Lake Michigan scores another. Though Lake Huron is bigger by span, if you add all the other values up, Lake Michigan is the largest lake in Michigan.

There’s a slight catch though. Technically speaking, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are a single body of water. At the point where North Michigan and South Michigan meet, the channels between the two lakes are level. In this case, we might as well consider the connected Michigan-Huron to be the largest lake in Michigan.

Nevertheless, each of these lakes in Michigan are wonderful to visit and are exactly why it’s so easy to show pride in our state with our exclusive Lake Girl gear.