Cruising Lake Michigan
Lake Michigan’s name is derived from the Ojibwa tribe word mishigami, which means “large lake”. The French entrepreneur and woodsman, Jean Nicolet, was the first European to explore Lake Michigan in 1634. Since that time the number of people living along the shore of Lake Michigan has grown to 12 million. Even with the major port cities of Chicago, Milwaukee, Gary and Green Bay giving an urban flavor to parts of the coast, Lake Michigan offers over 1,500 miles of pristine coastline for cruisers to enjoy. Marshes, prairies, forests and even sand dunes that can reach several hundred feet, provide excellent habitats for all types of wildlife on Lake Michigan. Trout, salmon, walleye, and smallmouth bass are the most popular catches for fishermen on the lake. The lake is also home to water birds such as ducks, geese and swans, as well as bald eagles. Nearly four-dozen lighthouses stand along the beaches of Lake Michigan, a testament to the shipping history of the Great Lakes. This cruise begins in Chicago and the estimated mileages between destinations for this itinerary are calculated running counterclockwise around Lake Michigan. Since it is the only Great Lake that is entirely in the United States, boaters do not have to be concerned with customs and immigration clearances with Canada.