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Lake Erie
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The Lake Erie Region is centered around Lake Erie, one of the Great Lakes in North America. The lake has a surface area of nearly 10,000 square miles, making it the fourth largest of the Great Lakes, and the eleventh largest on a global scale.[2] The Lake Erie Region is known for providing large amounts of hydroelectric power to Canada and the United States via the Niagara River. Additionally, the area is informally considered to be “the thunderstorm capital of Canada.”[3] The area receives roughly 35 inches of precipitation annually.[4] Some of the most prominent cities of the destination include Cleveland, Ohio; Detroit, Michigan; and Buffalo, New York. Arguably, the most famous attraction in the Lake Erie Region is Niagara Falls.

What Lake Erie is known for

Within the Lake Erie Region, visitors can find a range of different activities. On the southwestern shore, a small peninsula juts out from the city of Sandusky, Ohio, which contains an amusement parked named Cedar Point. The park receives millions of visitors annually and has the current world record for highest number of attractions within a theme park.[5] 

To the northeast of Lake Erie, a Canadian town called Crystal Beach is known for a shoreline of the same name as the city. Because the beach is south-facing, guests are able to sunbathe from sunrise to sunset on clear days. Perhaps most famous of all is the world-renowned Niagara Falls. Bringing in millions of visitors each year from all over the world, the falls are a massive component of the Lake Erie Region’s prominence. The falls are impactful to the degree that they define the destination's primary season of tourism, which occurs during the summer and early fall (June - September).[4] This is because of the warmer weather, allowing Niagara Falls to achieve its peak flow rate. The Niagara River flows from Lake Erie to Lake Ontario, crossing the U.S./Canada border in the process. Within northern Ohio and southern Michigan there are thousands of square miles of farmland. Some of the common crops grown in the region include soybeans and corn.[6] 

People tend to visit the territory due to the blend of forest landscapes and Lake Erie activities, though the area sees large masses of international visitors by means of large cities such as Detroit, Michigan, and Cleveland, Ohio. General activities in the area include hiking, fishing, walking along the Lake Erie shoreline, cross-country skiing, and camping. The Sterling State Park on the western edge of Lake Erie is one example of a location in the destination that includes nearly all of the previously-mentioned activities. Though it isn’t possible to know how many people visit the area as a whole annually, there is more detailed information available for some of the specific draws to the area. Niagara Falls, for example, receives anywhere between 12 to 14 million visitors per year.[7] The number of annual Cleveland visitors is roughly 19 million[8], and Detroit sits at around 16 million.[9]


Not surprisingly, Lake Erie is one of the most defining landscapes of the Lake Erie Region. The lake is pivotal to the weather in the area, producing a heavy amount of lake effect snow as cold winter winds pass over its warm waters. Lake Erie is the shallowest of the five Great Lakes, meaning that its temperature fluctuates in greater amounts and at faster rates than the other lakes. This can produce particularly varied weather conditions over the course of a year, and is a large contributing factor to the heavy snowfall of cities such as Buffalo, New York; and Erie, Pennsylvania.[1] 

Lake Erie’s mean elevation is 571 feet above sea level, making the air relatively easy to breathe in the surrounding land. As a year-round average, the temperature is roughly 46 degrees Fahrenheit. July is the warmest month of the year with an average temperature of 71.1 degrees Fahrenheit, and January is the coldest with its average of 25 degrees. During the summer months as a whole—which is the peak tourist season for the destination—visitors can expect temperatures of around 70 degrees Fahrenheit. Lake Erie’s temperature during the summer is roughly 68 degrees, making it suitable for swimming and other water-related recreational activities.[4] 

There are 31 islands on the lake, 13 of which are located within Canadian territory and the remaining 18 within the United States’. Most of the islands are located on the western portions of the lake.[1] The ecosystems on the islands are fairly unique, providing homes to endangered snakes such as the Lake Erie water snake and the blue racer. The islands also serve as migratory waypoints for songbirds and monarch butterflies.[10] 

The land portion of the Lake Erie Region is generally quite flat, providing thousands upon thousands of square miles for farming. The territory is green due to the 35 inches of average annual precipitation in the area. As one approaches the towns of the area, they are likely to see groves of trees and small rivers. The Lake Erie Region also makes up part of the Great Lakes Region as a whole. The Great Lakes Regions are known for their production of corn, soybeans, and hay. Additionally, around 15% of the dairy products manufactured in the United States are byproducts of agriculture done in the vicinity.[6]


Lake Erie was initially formed by glacial erosion. It began to appear much as it does today roughly 4,000 years ago, making it relatively young, geographically speaking. Several Native American tribes made their homes around the Lake Erie shorelines, including the Erie tribe to the south. This tribe would become the inspiration for the lake’s name, which has a few possible meanings, including “long tail” and “cherry tree.”[1] 

The first known European settler to lay eyes on the Lake Erie Region was French explorer Louis Jolliet in 1669. By that point, all of the other Great Lakes had been explored by the European settlers. The area around Lake Erie remained out of reach more than any of the other lakes because the Iroquois natives restricted access to the French.[1] 

As the centuries went by, the economic success of Lake Erie has risen due to its extensive fishing possibilities. Though there was fear that the lake would be over-fished by 1895, those predictions proved to be false.[11] Unfortunately, Lake Erie is the most polluted of the five Great Lakes. Human activities over the decades have caused algae to bloom in large proportions due to over enrichment. Many fish species completely died out, but efforts to mitigate pollution effects have allowed species such as the brown trout to be reintroduced into the lake. Though the lake continues to be the most polluted of the five Great Lakes, it is no longer in a constant state of deterioration such as it was in the mid 1900s.[1]