Great Lakes Boating Hot Spots
With boating season in full swing, it’s time to get out on the water, and a great place to do that is on the Great Lakes, says Konnie LeMay, editor of Lake Superior Magazine.
“Each Great Lake has its own attractions,” LeMay notes. “The locks and canals along the way present intriguing stops, and for boaters, the various marinas often bring you right next to dining and visitor attractions.”
Whether you’re lucky enough to live near lakes Michigan, Erie, Huron, Ontario or Superior, or are planning a boating vacation on the Great Lakes, here are some hot spots to check out.
Lake Michigan Hot Spot: ChicagoWhy It Appeals to Boaters: It’s one of the largest cities in the country, with attractions and amenities galore: restaurants, shopping, museums and nightlife. Wednesday and Saturday evenings in the summer feature a fireworks show at Navy Pier, which can be fun to watch from your boat. Boaters can also dock and dine at several waterfront restaurants.Boating Amenities: The 14 miles of Chicago shoreline are home to 10 harbors, making it the country’s largest municipal harbor system, according to Chicago Harbors. There are more than 6,000 spaces for boats, many featuring power and complimentary self-service pump-out stations.
Lake Erie Hot Spot: Put-in-Bay, South Bass Island, OhioWhy It Appeals to Boaters: Put-in-Bay boasts a wide range of sights and activities, from a memorial of a War of 1812 hero to a cave filled with sparkling crystals, Midwest Living says. South Bass is a small island where you can get around by bicycle or golf cart, visiting the many historic homes and inns and local restaurants as well as Perry’s Victory and International Peace Memorial.Boating Amenities: Some docking areas accept reservations, while others are first come, first served, according to Putinbay.com. Both public and private docks and marinas are available, and each has a variety of amenities.
Lake Huron Hot Spot: Mackinac Island, MichiganWhy It Appeals to Boaters: Cruise under the Mackinac Bridge and you might feel like you’ve stepped back in time, according to the Mackinac Island Tourism Bureau. No cars are allowed on the island, meaning everyone gets around by foot, bicycle or horse and carriage. Historic inns and homes, a variety of gourmet restaurants and nightlife, fudge shops and the Grand Hotel make up the popular attractions on the island.Boating Amenities: Three marinas serve Mackinac Island, according to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR), with more than 280 transient slips available for visitors. All have pump-out service, electricity, fuel, water, cable TV, Internet, showers, laundry and access to grills, according to the DNR Harbor Guide.
Lake Ontario Hot Spot: Kingston, Ontario, CanadaWhy It Appeals to Boaters: It’s situated in the Thousand Islands area with gorgeous views to enjoy from your boat. Kingston is hailed as the freshwater diving capital of Canada, with more than 40 shipwrecks to explore, Power Boating Canada reports. The historic downtown area is accessible from the waterfront, and the city is home to the Marine Museum of the Great Lakes, the magazine says.Boating Amenities: Pull into Portsmouth Olympic Harbour, which offers 250 slips, fuel, and pump-out service, according to the 1000 Islands International Tourism Council.
Lake Superior Hot Spot: Duluth, MinnesotaWhy It Appeals to Boaters: With a surface area of nearly 32,000 square miles, Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world, says Lake Superior Magazine. Many boaters are drawn to the wild shores, LeMay says, noting it’s a “region charmed with woods, rivers, waterfalls and an abundance of accessible wilderness.” Canal Park in Duluth is a quaint neighborhood filled with shops, art galleries, restaurants and more, the Canal Park Business Association notes. Boaters may also enjoy the Lake Superior Maritime Visitor Center, located right on the harbor and with no entry fee.