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How Many States Border The Great Lakes


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Gretel Vizcarra



The Great Lakes, consisting of Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, Lake Erie, and Lake Ontario, are a remarkable natural wonder shared by the United States and Canada. These vast bodies of freshwater not only provide breathtaking scenery but also serve as important resources for transportation, recreation, and ecological balance.


When it comes to the states bordering the Great Lakes, there is a unique mix of diverse landscapes, captivating cities, and rich cultural heritage. Each lake is bordered by a different set of states, and in this article, we will explore how many states border each of the Great Lakes.


Whether you are planning a scenic road trip, seeking outdoor adventures, or simply curious about the geographical dynamics of the region, understanding the states surrounding the Great Lakes will help you navigate and appreciate the diverse experiences they have to offer.


So, let’s dive into the details and discover which states share a border with each of the Great Lakes.


Lake Superior Bordering States

Lake Superior, the largest of the Great Lakes, boasts a magnificent coastline and is bordered by three states: Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan. Known for its crystal-clear waters, rugged cliffs, and stunning sunsets, Lake Superior offers an abundance of outdoor activities and natural wonders.


Starting with Minnesota, the state is home to the westernmost point of Lake Superior. Duluth, a bustling port city, sits on the shores of the lake and offers stunning views of its expansive waters. From hiking along the Superior Hiking Trail to exploring the historic Split Rock Lighthouse, there is no shortage of things to see and do in Minnesota’s Lake Superior region.


Heading east, we come across Wisconsin, also known as the Badger State. The city of Superior, located in the northernmost part of Wisconsin, sits directly across from Duluth, Minnesota, at the western tip of Lake Superior. Wisconsin’s Apostle Islands National Lakeshore, with its picturesque sea caves and pristine beaches, attracts visitors from around the world. The city of Ashland, known for its rich Native American heritage, is another popular destination on the Wisconsin side of Lake Superior.


Lastly, we have Michigan, which boasts the longest shoreline of any state bordering Lake Superior. The Upper Peninsula of Michigan, or UP as it is often called, is renowned for its boundless natural beauty. From the stunning Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore to the remote Isle Royale National Park, there are endless opportunities for hiking, camping, fishing, and exploring the unique ecosystems that thrive along Lake Superior’s shores.


These three states surrounding Lake Superior offer a wealth of opportunities to immerse oneself in the pristine beauty of the Great Lakes region. Whether you are interested in outdoor adventures, historical sites, or quaint waterfront towns, the Lake Superior bordering states have something for everyone.


Lake Michigan Bordering States

Lake Michigan, the second-largest of the Great Lakes, is bordered by four states: Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. With its beautiful sandy beaches, vibrant coastal cities, and diverse ecosystems, Lake Michigan attracts millions of visitors each year.


Indiana, located in the southernmost part of the lake, has a small but significant portion of its shoreline along Lake Michigan. The Indiana Dunes National Park is a popular destination, offering miles of pristine beaches, towering sand dunes, and diverse wildlife. Visitors can enjoy swimming, picnicking, hiking, and birdwatching in this unique and protected area.


Illinois, commonly referred to as the Prairie State, has a bustling coastline along the southwestern edge of Lake Michigan. The city of Chicago, situated on Lake Michigan’s southwestern shore, is a cultural and architectural gem. From iconic skyscrapers like the Willis Tower to beautiful parks and museums, Chicago offers countless attractions and events. The Navy Pier, Millennium Park, and the Art Institute of Chicago are just a few highlights of this vibrant city.


Michigan, also known as the Great Lakes State, has a major portion of its eastern border composed of Lake Michigan’s shoreline. Cities like Grand Rapids, Holland, and Muskegon offer stunning beaches, charming waterfronts, and a thriving arts and culture scene. The Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, located in the northwestern part of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, is a must-visit destination for its towering sand dunes and breathtaking vistas.


Lastly, we have Wisconsin, which shares a border with Lake Michigan to the east. Popular cities along the Wisconsin side of the lake include Milwaukee, known for its breweries and vibrant music scene, and Door County, a picturesque peninsula offering charming coastal towns and scenic drives. Visitors can explore lighthouses, go fishing, or take a relaxing boat tour to fully experience the beauty of the region.


The states that border Lake Michigan provide a diverse range of experiences, from big-city attractions to tranquil beach getaways. Whether you’re seeking urban excitement, outdoor adventures, or simply a peaceful lakeside retreat, the Lake Michigan bordering states have something to offer every traveler.


Lake Huron Bordering States

Lake Huron, the third-largest of the Great Lakes, shares its shoreline with two states: Michigan and Ontario, Canada. Known for its stunning coastal landscapes, historic lighthouses, and vibrant fishing communities, Lake Huron offers a blend of natural beauty and cultural heritage.


Michigan, once again, is a state that borders multiple Great Lakes, including Lake Huron. The eastern shore of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula is lined with picturesque towns and sandy beaches. Port Huron, located at the southern end of Lake Huron, is famous for its impressive Blue Water Bridge, connecting the United States and Canada. Visitors can explore historic sites like Fort Gratiot Lighthouse or indulge in outdoor activities such as boating, fishing, and beachcombing.


On the Canadian side, Lake Huron is surrounded by the province of Ontario. Many charming towns and cities dot the shoreline, offering a mix of natural beauty and cultural attractions. Sarnia, located in southwestern Ontario, is a popular destination with its beautiful waterfront parks and recreational trails. Georgian Bay, a large bay within Lake Huron, is known for its pristine beaches and the stunning Flowerpot Island, with its unique rock formations.


Whether you choose to explore the Michigan or Ontario side of Lake Huron, you’ll be captivated by the serene beauty and the sense of timelessness that the area exudes. From wandering the scenic coastal roads to discovering maritime history at local museums, Lake Huron’s bordering states provide endless opportunities for exploration and relaxation.


Lake Erie Bordering States

Lake Erie, the fourth-largest of the Great Lakes, borders four states: New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. Known for its stunning sunsets, sandy beaches, and abundant fishing opportunities, Lake Erie offers a diverse range of experiences for visitors.


New York, located in the northeastern part of Lake Erie, has a small but beautiful section of shoreline. The city of Buffalo, situated on the eastern end of Lake Erie, offers a mix of history, culture, and outdoor recreation. Visitors can explore attractions like the Buffalo and Erie County Naval & Military Park or enjoy waterfront activities along the bustling Canalside district.


Next, we have Pennsylvania, which boasts the longest continuous coastline of any state bordering Lake Erie. Erie, Pennsylvania’s fourth-largest city, is a popular destination known for its beautiful Presque Isle State Park. This stunning peninsula features sandy beaches, hiking trails, and the iconic Presque Isle Lighthouse, making it a beloved spot for outdoor enthusiasts.


Ohio, often referred to as the Buckeye State, also shares a border with Lake Erie. The city of Cleveland, located on the southern shore of Lake Erie, offers a vibrant mix of culture, history, and entertainment. From exploring the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame to catching a Cleveland Indians baseball game, there’s no shortage of attractions in this bustling city.


Michigan, once again, has a small portion of its border formed by Lake Erie. The city of Monroe, nestled on the western end of Lake Erie, is known for its rich history and charming downtown. Visitors can explore historic sites like the River Raisin National Battlefield Park or enjoy boating and fishing on the lake.


Whether you’re looking to enjoy water sports, relax on sandy beaches, or explore vibrant cities, the states bordering Lake Erie offer a myriad of opportunities to experience the beauty and excitement of the Great Lakes region.


Lake Ontario Bordering States

Lake Ontario, the smallest of the Great Lakes, shares its shoreline with two states: New York and Ontario, Canada. Known for its stunning natural scenery, vibrant waterfront cities, and world-class vineyards, Lake Ontario offers a unique blend of coastal charm and urban sophistication.


Starting with the United States, New York has the longest shoreline of any state bordering Lake Ontario. The city of Rochester, located on the southern shore of the lake, offers a mix of cultural attractions, outdoor activities, and a thriving food and drink scene. Visitors can explore the Strong National Museum of Play, take a leisurely stroll along the picturesque Genesee River, or go hiking in nearby parks such as Letchworth State Park.


The state of New York is also home to the iconic Niagara Falls, located on the Niagara River, which connects Lake Ontario and Lake Erie. This world-famous natural wonder attracts millions of visitors each year, mesmerizing them with its awe-inspiring power and beauty.


On the Canadian side, the province of Ontario encompasses a significant portion of Lake Ontario’s shoreline. The city of Toronto, Ontario’s capital, sits on the northern shore of the lake and offers a bustling metropolis with diverse cultural attractions, sports events, and a vibrant waterfront. Visitors can explore the iconic CN Tower, visit the Royal Ontario Museum, or relax in the charming Distillery District.


Further east, the region of Prince Edward County is known for its picturesque wineries, sandy beaches, and quaint villages. This idyllic area offers a delightful combination of natural beauty, culinary delights, and a thriving arts scene.


Whether you choose to explore the American or Canadian side of Lake Ontario, you’ll be enchanted by the stunning landscapes, diverse attractions, and warm hospitality found in the states bordering this Great Lake.



The Great Lakes are a magnificent natural treasure that span across the United States and Canada, captivating visitors with their stunning beauty and vastness. Understanding which states border each of the Great Lakes helps us appreciate the unique experiences and attractions that these regions have to offer.


Lake Superior is bordered by the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, and Michigan, each offering a different blend of outdoor adventures and cultural heritage. From exploring the rugged cliffs of Minnesota’s North Shore to discovering the historic sites along Wisconsin’s coast, Lake Superior showcases the beauty of the Upper Midwest.


Lake Michigan shares its shoreline with Indiana, Illinois, Michigan, and Wisconsin. The diverse landscapes range from Indiana’s dunes and beaches to the bustling metropolis of Chicago, the charming coastal towns of Michigan, and the vibrant city life in Milwaukee.


Lake Huron’s bordering states consist of Michigan and Ontario, Canada. The scenic beauty of Michigan’s eastern shore and Ontario’s charming towns along Georgian Bay create a serene and timeless ambiance to explore.


Lake Erie offers a mix of urban excitement and natural attractions with its bordering states of New York, Pennsylvania, Ohio, and Michigan. From the vibrant city life in Cleveland to the tranquil beaches of Presque Isle in Pennsylvania, Lake Erie provides a diverse range of experiences.


Finally, Lake Ontario is bordered by New York and Ontario, Canada. The vibrant city of Toronto and the scenic beauty of New York’s shoreline, including the iconic Niagara Falls, offer visitors a combination of cosmopolitan charm and natural wonders.


Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply a peaceful retreat by the water, the states bordering the Great Lakes provide a plethora of opportunities to explore and enjoy the beauty of these majestic bodies of water. So grab a map and plan your next visit to one of these incredible destinations to create unforgettable memories along the Great Lakes.