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Ask many Midwesterners what they think of when they think of Lake Michigan and you are likely to hear about images of the tall, steely skyline of Chicago standing in contrast to the cool blue waters of the lake; the sights and smells of Navy Pier; the North Avenue Beach near Lincoln Park; or the state of Michigan itself. What many people forget is that Lake Michigan abuts into the eastern border of the great state of Wisconsin, creating what may be one of the most under-utilized and beautiful vacationing destinations of the northern Midwest region of the United States. North of Milwaukee, Wisconsin's lakeshore is home to peaceful, lakeside villages, destinations of unique historical distinction and some of the most breath-taking scenery you will likely ever encounter.
Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes of the North America. The other four are Lake Erie, Lake Superior, Lake Huron and Lake Ontario. Of the five Great Lakes, Lake Michigan is the only one to be located entirely within the border of the United State of America. It is believed the word 'Michigan' is derived from the Objibwe word 'mishigami,' which translated means 'great water'. The area was originally inhabited by Native American Indians and subsequently settled by the French. The region has retained many of these cultural influences throughout the years.
For many, the beaches of the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans are too far away for shorter weekend getaways. The white sand, pristine beaches of northern Wisconsin are the perfect answer. Far enough away to escape from the daily grind, but close enough to be reasonable and time efficient, the Wisconsin shores of Lake Michigan beckon many Midwesterners back year after year.
Travelling north from Milwaukee toward Green Bay, visitors will be delighted by small towns such as Sheboygan which offer loads of lakeshore charm. When driving through Sheboygan, be sure to plan a stop for the kids at Harbor Pointe Miniature Golf followed by an ice cream treat at the South Pier Parlor, located on a channel just adjacent to Lake Michigan itself. Other lakeshore towns offer lakeside dining, relaxing resorts, boating, beaches and more here along the shores of Lake Michigan.
Door County of northern Wisconsin, just north of Green Bay, is an area of Wisconsin known for its pastoral settings, fabulous dairies and welcoming, local communities. Of particular interest, Door County borders along the northern lake shores of Lake Michigan and provides some of the most memorable vacation destinations of the region. Door County vacationing is particularly popular in summer months as folks from southern regions and large Midwestern cities flock to the shores of Lake Michigan to beat the summer heat. Even in the height of the summer months, the water of Lake Michigan range from fifty-five (55) to eighty (80) degrees Fahrenheit, making it cool, crisp and refreshing even in the hottest of outdoor temperatures.
Up on the Door County Peninsula, the stunning sand formations of Whitefish Dunes State Park await families seeking to explore unique and new terrain. Just north of Whitefish Dunes State Park, Cave Point Park features stunning rock cliffs and underwater caves, favorites among intrepid outdoorsmen and explorer types. Islands surrounding the Door Peninsula include Chambers Island, Hog Island, Plum Island, Rock Island, Washington Island, Detroit Island and Pilot Island. Children and adults alike will be delighted by the huge lake ships traversing the Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal here along the Door Peninsula of northern Wisconsin. Summer and fall bring fresh cherries, peaches and apples to the orchards and fields of Door County. Door County orchards are particularly proud of their cherry crops, which are thought to be among the best in the world as a result of the hot days and cool, temperate nights of northern Wisconsin in summer. Pick your own fruit farms are a fabulous way to enjoy a taste of the northern lakeshore of Lake Michigan. Stop at a local dairy for some freshly made, world-class Wisconsin cheddar cheese to accompany your freshly picked fruit and you have a simple meal made in heaven. While in the Door County region, be sure to take a couple of hours to tour a local dairy. And, don't forget to try fresh cheese curds at such a place. The squeaky freshness of this extraordinary version of cheese is a true Wisconsin specialty.
Wisconsin towns and cities bordering along Lake Michigan include Port Washington, Racine, Sheboygan, Two Rivers, Whitefish Bay, South Milwaukee, Kenosha, Fox Point, Algoma, Shorewood, Oconto, Mequon and Cudahy. Antique shopping; locally owned restaurants featuring organic, fresh, local products; welcoming local residents and outstanding outdoor recreation combine to create the perfect Midwestern vacationing destination. Come and explore the shores of Lake Michigan along the eastern edge of Wisconsin!
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