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How Many States Border Lake Superior


Modified: December 28, 2023

by Basia Laplante



Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes in North America, is not only a spectacular natural wonder but also a popular destination for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and adventure seekers. Spanning an astonishing area of approximately 31,700 square miles (82,100 square kilometers), Lake Superior is known for its breathtaking beauty, crystal-clear waters, and diverse wildlife.


Bordering three states in the United States and the province of Ontario in Canada, Lake Superior offers an abundance of recreational activities, historical sites, and stunning landscapes to explore. Whether you’re looking to relax on pristine sandy beaches, hike along scenic trails, or embark on a thrilling water adventure, Lake Superior has something to offer for everyone.


This comprehensive travel guide will delve into the states that border Lake Superior, namely Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. We will also cover the Canadian province of Ontario. By the end of this guide, you’ll have a thorough understanding of the unique attractions and experiences available in each of these regions, allowing you to plan an unforgettable trip to the majestic shores of Lake Superior.


Overview of Lake Superior

Lake Superior, often referred to as the “Inland Sea,” is a geological marvel located in the heart of North America. With a surface area of approximately 31,700 square miles (82,100 square kilometers), it is the largest freshwater lake by surface area in the world. The lake is shared by the United States and Canada, with the international border running through its waters. Lake Superior is known for its stunning beauty, pristine wilderness, and rich cultural history.


Formed by the carving of glaciers over thousands of years, Lake Superior is a natural wonder that boasts a maximum depth of 1,332 feet (406 meters) and an average depth of 483 feet (147 meters). Its crystal-clear waters are renowned for their transparency, allowing visibility of up to 27 feet (8 meters) in some areas. The lake is fed by numerous tributaries, including the St. Louis River, Pigeon River, and the Nipigon River, making it a vital part of the Great Lakes system.


Along the shores of Lake Superior, visitors are treated to a mesmerizing display of rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, dramatic rock formations, and picturesque islands. The lake’s diverse ecosystem supports a wide array of plant and animal species, including bald eagles, white-tailed deer, black bears, and a variety of fish such as lake trout, walleye, and salmon.


In addition to its natural beauty, Lake Superior holds great cultural significance for indigenous communities. The Ojibwe people, also known as Anishinaabe, have lived along the lake for centuries and continue to maintain a deep spiritual connection to the water and land. Their rich heritage is reflected in the art, traditions, and storytelling that can be experienced throughout the region.


Whether you’re interested in outdoor adventures like kayaking, fishing, or hiking, or you simply want to unwind amidst the tranquility of nature, Lake Superior offers a wealth of opportunities for visitors to connect with the environment and immerse themselves in its awe-inspiring surroundings.


Bordering States

Lake Superior is bordered by three states in the United States: Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Each state offers its own unique attractions and experiences for visitors to enjoy. Let’s explore these bordering states and discover what they have to offer along the shores of Lake Superior.


Minnesota, known as the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” is home to the largest portion of Lake Superior’s shoreline. The city of Duluth serves as a gateway to the lake, offering stunning views of the expansive waters and the iconic Aerial Lift Bridge. Visitors can explore the charming waterfront, visit the Lake Superior Marine Museum, or take a scenic drive along the North Shore, where they will encounter picturesque waterfalls, rugged cliffs, and charming small towns.


Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities for adventure in Minnesota. They can hike the Superior Hiking Trail, which stretches over 300 miles (480 kilometers) along the lake’s scenic coastline, offering breathtaking views and diverse landscapes. Fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines in search of trophy-sized lake trout or salmon, while kayakers can paddle along the calm waters and explore hidden coves and caves.


Wisconsin’s portion of Lake Superior is characterized by its sandy beaches, picturesque lighthouses, and charming coastal towns. Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, located off the Bayfield Peninsula, is a must-visit destination. It is comprised of 22 islands and offers opportunities for camping, boating, hiking, and kayaking. The sea caves along the shoreline are particularly captivating, with their unique rock formations and hidden passageways.


Bayfield, a quaint town on the shores of Lake Superior, is a popular spot for visitors to explore. The town’s friendly atmosphere, historic buildings, and local shops and eateries make it a delightful place to visit. The annual Apple Festival held in Bayfield is a major attraction, featuring locally grown apples, live music, and a festive atmosphere.


Michigan’s Upper Peninsula (UP) is where you’ll find the portion of Lake Superior that belongs to the state. The UP is known for its rugged wilderness, towering cliffs, and dense forests. Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, located near Munising, showcases breathtaking sandstone cliffs, colorful rock formations, and cascading waterfalls. Visitors can take a boat tour along the shoreline, hike the scenic trails, or even go rock climbing.


The small town of Marquette is another popular destination along Lake Superior’s Michigan shoreline. It offers a mix of natural beauty and urban amenities, with its vibrant arts scene, historic buildings, and access to outdoor activities such as fishing, boating, and mountain biking. The Presque Isle Park in Marquette is a must-visit spot, offering panoramic views of the lake from its rocky shorelines.


These bordering states provide an array of attractions and experiences that showcase the natural beauty and cultural heritage of Lake Superior. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, scenic vistas, or tranquil moments by the water, these states offer something for everyone.



Minnesota, the “Land of 10,000 Lakes,” is home to a significant portion of Lake Superior’s stunning shoreline. The state offers a wealth of natural beauty, outdoor adventures, and charming coastal towns for visitors to explore along the majestic lake’s edge.


Duluth, the largest city in Minnesota along Lake Superior, serves as a popular gateway to the lake. Here, visitors can marvel at the iconic Aerial Lift Bridge, which spans the entrance to the Duluth-Superior Harbor. The city’s waterfront offers picturesque views of the expansive lake, with a variety of shops, restaurants, and museums to explore. The Lake Superior Marine Museum is a must-visit for those interested in the region’s maritime history.


One of the highlights of a visit to Minnesota’s Lake Superior shoreline is driving along the North Shore Scenic Highway. This scenic route stretches approximately 150 miles (240 kilometers) from Duluth to the Canadian border, offering breathtaking views of the lake, rugged cliffs, and pristine forests. Along the way, visitors can stop at charming small towns like Two Harbors and Grand Marais, where they can enjoy local cuisine, visit art galleries, and soak in the laid-back atmosphere.


Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities for adventure in Minnesota. The Superior Hiking Trail, a 310-mile (500-kilometer) long trail that winds its way along the lake’s coastline, offers stunning views and diverse landscapes for hikers to explore. The trail passes through state parks, forests, and secluded beaches, providing ample opportunities to connect with nature.


Fishing enthusiasts will be delighted by the abundance of fish species in Lake Superior, including lake trout, salmon, walleye, and more. They can try their luck casting their lines from the shoreline or take a fishing charter to venture further out into the lake’s deep waters. Kayaking and canoeing are also popular activities, allowing visitors to paddle along calm bays and explore hidden caves and coves.


In the winter months, Minnesota’s Lake Superior shoreline transforms into a winter wonderland. Visitors can enjoy activities such as cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, ice fishing, and even dog sledding. The dramatic ice formations along the lake’s edge create a magical setting for winter adventures.


Whether you’re seeking outdoor thrills, scenic drives, or a peaceful retreat in nature, Minnesota offers a diverse range of experiences along Lake Superior’s enchanting shoreline. Prepare to be captivated by the majestic beauty of this great lake and the wonders that await you in Minnesota.



Wisconsin, with its sandy beaches, charming coastal towns, and picturesque lighthouses, offers a unique experience along Lake Superior’s shoreline. The state’s portion of Lake Superior is home to stunning natural landscapes and a range of recreational opportunities for visitors to enjoy.


Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, located off the Bayfield Peninsula, is a must-visit destination in Wisconsin. This group of 22 islands showcases breathtaking beauty, with rugged cliffs, pristine sandy beaches, and fascinating sea caves. Visitors can explore the islands by kayaking, sailing, or taking a scenic boat tour. Camping enthusiasts can enjoy overnight stays on several of the islands, immersing themselves in the tranquility of Lake Superior.


Bayfield, a charming town nestled along the shore of Lake Superior, serves as the gateway to the Apostle Islands. This quaint and friendly community offers a range of shops, galleries, and restaurants for visitors to explore. The annual Apple Festival held in Bayfield is a major attraction, showcasing the region’s apple harvest, local crafts, and lively entertainment.


Outdoor enthusiasts will find plenty of opportunities for adventure in Wisconsin. The Chequamegon-Nicolet National Forest, located near the lake, offers picturesque hiking and biking trails through dense woodlands, along with opportunities for camping and wildlife viewing. Fishing enthusiasts can cast a line in search of trout, salmon, and other species that thrive in the lake’s waters.


Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shoreline also boasts several historic lighthouses, adding a touch of nostalgia to the coastal landscape. These lighthouses, such as the iconic Raspberry Island Lighthouse and the Chequamegon Point Lighthouse, provide a glimpse into the region’s maritime history. Visitors can tour these historic beacons, learn about their role in guiding ships, and enjoy stunning views from their vantage points.


In addition to its natural and historic attractions, Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shoreline is known for its vibrant arts and cultural scene. Visitors can explore local art galleries, attend live performances, and indulge in regional cuisine. The region is also known for its berry farms, where visitors can pick fresh berries during the summer months.


Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply a relaxing beach getaway, Wisconsin’s Lake Superior shoreline offers a delightful mix of nature, history, and small-town charm. Prepare to be captivated by the beauty of this region and the warm hospitality of its communities.



Michigan’s portion of Lake Superior, located in its Upper Peninsula (UP), offers a rugged and captivating landscape for visitors to explore. Known for its towering cliffs, pristine forests, and vibrant communities, this region along the lake’s edge provides a diverse range of experiences for nature lovers and adventure seekers.


Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, situated near Munising, is a major highlight of Michigan’s Lake Superior shoreline. This stunning stretch of coastline features towering sandstone cliffs, colorful rock formations, and cascading waterfalls. Visitors can hike along the scenic trails, take a boat tour to marvel at the natural wonders, or even try rock climbing for a unique perspective of this awe-inspiring landscape.


The small town of Marquette, located on the shores of Lake Superior, offers a blend of natural beauty and urban amenities. Visitors can explore the vibrant downtown area, which features a mix of local shops, art galleries, and restaurants. Presque Isle Park, with its picturesque rocky shoreline and panoramic views of the lake, is a popular spot for picnicking and beachcombing.


Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is also renowned for its abundance of outdoor activities. Fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines in Lake Superior’s waters in search of trout, salmon, and other fish species. Boating and kayaking opportunities abound, with secluded bays and calm waters ideal for exploration. Hiking trails, including the North Country Trail and the Hiawatha National Forest, offer opportunities to immerse oneself in the region’s pristine wilderness.


The UP’s rich history and unique cultural heritage are showcased in various attractions along Lake Superior’s shoreline. The Michigan Iron Industry Museum, located in Negaunee, explores the region’s iron mining history, while the Grand Island National Recreation Area provides opportunities to learn about the Native American presence in the area. Visitors can also experience the annual Hiawatha Traditional Music Festival in Marquette, celebrating the region’s musical traditions and local talent.


Michigan’s Lake Superior shoreline offers a range of accommodations, from lakeside resorts to cozy cabins nestled in the woods. The region’s communities boast a warm and welcoming atmosphere, with friendly locals eager to share the beauty of their surroundings.


Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply a peaceful retreat in nature, Michigan’s Lake Superior shoreline provides a captivating destination. Prepare to be enchanted by the dramatic landscapes, rich history, and vibrant communities that await along this majestic lake.


Ontario (Canada)

Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, is home to a prized portion of Lake Superior’s shoreline. The Canadian side of the lake offers visitors a chance to experience the untamed beauty of nature, explore charming coastal towns, and embrace the rich indigenous culture that thrives in the region.


The city of Thunder Bay serves as the major hub for exploring Ontario’s Lake Superior coastline. This vibrant city provides a blend of urban amenities and stunning natural beauty. Visitors can explore notable attractions such as Fort William Historical Park, a living history museum that provides a glimpse into the fur trade era, or take in panoramic views from the iconic Terry Fox Monument.


One of the most spectacular features of the Ontario shoreline is Sleeping Giant Provincial Park. This stunning park is named after the Sleeping Giant, a rock formation that resembles a reclining figure when viewed from certain angles. Hiking trails wind through the park’s diverse ecosystems, offering breathtaking views of the lake, forests, and rugged cliffs. Visitors can also swim in secluded beaches or enjoy a picnic in the tranquil surroundings.


The indigenous communities along Lake Superior play a significant role in the region’s cultural heritage. Visitors have the opportunity to learn about the traditions and history of the Anishinaabe people, who have a deep spiritual connection to the land and water. The Grand Portage National Monument and Fort William First Nation are notable sites where visitors can engage with indigenous culture through art, music, storytelling, and traditional crafts.


The Lake Superior shoreline in Ontario is known for its outdoor adventures. Fishing enthusiasts can cast their lines in pursuit of trophy-sized lake trout, salmon, and walleye. The lake’s pristine waters also provide opportunities for kayaking, canoeing, and paddleboarding, allowing visitors to explore hidden bays and rugged coastline.


For those seeking a more relaxed experience, Ontario’s Lake Superior shoreline offers beautiful sandy beaches where visitors can soak up the sun and unwind. Pancake Bay Provincial Park and Agawa Bay are popular spots for beachgoers, providing a serene environment to enjoy the sound of crashing waves and the beauty of the lake.


Accommodations along the Ontario shoreline range from cozy lakeside cabins to full-service resorts, ensuring a comfortable stay for every visitor. Local eateries offer a taste of regional cuisine, including fresh fish, wild game, and traditional indigenous dishes.


Ontario’s Lake Superior shoreline is a hidden gem, offering a combination of natural beauty, cultural experiences, and outdoor adventures. Whether you’re seeking relaxation or excitement, the region’s stunning landscapes and vibrant communities will leave you with lasting memories.



Lake Superior, with its breathtaking beauty and vast expanse, offers a wealth of opportunities for exploration and adventure along its shoreline. The bordering states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, as well as the Canadian province of Ontario, each contribute to the diverse tapestry of experiences along this majestic lake.


From the bustling waterfront of Duluth, Minnesota, to the charming coastal towns of Wisconsin, visitors can immerse themselves in the unique culture and natural wonders of each state. Hiking the Superior Hiking Trail, exploring the Apostle Islands, or marveling at the sandstone cliffs of Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore are just a few of the countless activities that await on Lake Superior’s shores.


The beauty of Lake Superior extends beyond its natural features. The indigenous communities that have lived along the lake for centuries offer a rich cultural heritage to explore, with opportunities to engage in traditional art, music, and storytelling.


Outdoor enthusiasts will find no shortage of activities, from fishing and boating to kayaking and hiking. The lake’s crystal-clear waters provide a playground for water sports, while the surrounding forests and parks offer endless trails to explore. In the winter months, the beauty of Lake Superior transforms into a winter wonderland, with opportunities for cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and more.


As visitors traverse the Lake Superior shoreline, they will discover a harmonious blend of natural wonders, historical landmarks, cultural treasures, and warm hospitality. The range of accommodations, from cozy cabins to lakeside resorts, ensure a comfortable stay for every traveler.


Whether you’re seeking a peaceful retreat in nature, an adrenaline-pumping adventure, or a cultural exploration, Lake Superior and its bordering states and province have something to offer everyone. Immerse yourself in the beauty of the Inland Sea, embrace the spirit of adventure, and create memories that will last a lifetime.