Michigan is located in the Great Lakes region of the United States, which introduces a unique geography for the state. Michigan is bordered by four U.S. states - Wisconsin to the west, Ohio to the south, Indiana to the southeast, and Illinois to the southwest. Additionally, it has water boundaries with Minnesota, Ontario (Canada), and two of the Great Lakes - Lake Erie and Lake Huron. The state has a total area of 99,729 square miles, including a land area of 58,110 square miles and a water area of inland lakes and Great Lakes of 38,575 square miles. In addition to these two great lakes, a variety of other lakes, including Lake Superior, Lake Erie, and Lake St. Clair, are found around and throughout the state.
The terrain of Michigan is quite varied, with lowlands and higher elevations. Most of the land is gentle plains with a few notable exceptions, such as the northern peninsula covered with boreal forests, vast tracts of cedar marshland, and certain regions that feature prominent sand ridges known as dunes. Besides, the state is also covered by over 11,000 small freshwater lakes.
Michigan is separated into two distinct peninsulas: Upper Peninsula (known more commonly as U.P.) and Lower Peninsula (or L.P.), with many areas still considered wilderness or undeveloped land protected by conservation/environmental organizations or national parks.
The two peninsulas are separated by an 8km long channel, known as the Straits of Mackinac – which in turn connects Lake Huron with Lake Michigan. The two peninsulas are connected by the Mackinac Bridge. Mackinac Island is positioned on the eastern edge of the Straits of Mackinac. Located in the far north-western corner of Lake Superior is the forested Isle Royale – a primary island National Park in the United States.
As observed on the map, the Upper Peninsula of Michigan (“the U.P.”) is hilly and rugged in the west, especially in the heavily-forested Porcupine Mountains. Situated, further east in the Huron Mountains, to the northwest of Marquette is, Mount Arvon - the state's highest point, at an elevation of 1,979ft (603m). Moving to the east, the Upper Peninsula's land becomes much flatter, with some inland swamps.
Michigan’s Lower Peninsula is shaped like a mitten and is rather flat, especially along the eastern and southeastern shorelines. Gentle, rolling hills are found in the central and southern portions, while further north, to the east and southeast of Traverse City, the landscape becomes quite hilly. Located in the north-western part of the city of Cadillac is, Lower Peninsula’s highest point, at 1,700ft (520m). Michigan’s lowest point, which is situated along the shoreline of Lake Erie, stands at about 572ft.
The climate in Michigan generally follows a humid continental pattern, with cold winters and warm summers typical throughout most of the state. However, there are variations depending on geographical locations, such as near one of the great lakes, where temperature fluctuations are milder all year round compared to inland regions farther away from water sources. A notable example would be Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park, which lies on the western shoreline along Lake Michigan yet experiences colder temperatures than coastal cities like Detroit due to its higher elevation.
Cities in Michigan are plentiful, with Detroit being its largest metropolitan area, followed by other major cities like Grand Rapids, Lansing, Flint, Ann Arbor, Traverse City, Saginaw, Kalamazoo-Portage, Bay City-Midland-Saginaw Township North, Jackson Township South/East Lansing Eastwood Townships/Delta Charter Township among many others spread out across different regions throughout the state populated by an ever-growing population size estimated at around 10 million people according to recent data collected by the United States Census Bureau in 2020.
Michigan is divided into 83 counties. In alphabetical order, the counties are: Alcona, Alger, Allegan, Alpena, Antrim, Arenac, Baraga, Barry, Bay, Benzie, Berrien, Branch, Calhoun, Cass, Charlevoix, Cheboygan, Chippewa, Clare, Clinton, Crawford, Delta, Dickinson, Eaton, Emmet, Genesee, Gladwin, Gogebic, Grand Traverse, Gratiot, Hillsdale, Houghton, Huron, Ingham, Ionia, Iosco, Iron, Isabella, Jackson, Kalamazoo, Kalkaska, Kent, Keweenaw, Lake, Lapeer, Leelanau, Lenawee, Livingston, Luce, Mackinac, Macomb, Manistee, Marquette, Mason, Mecosta, Menominee, Midland, Missaukee, Monroe, Montcalm, Montmorency, Muskegon, Newaygo, Oakland, Oceana, Ogemaw, Ontonagon, Osceola, Oscoda, Otsego, Ottawa, Presque Isle, Roscommon, Saginaw, Saint Clair, Saint Joseph, Sanilac, Schoolcraft, Shiawassee, Tuscola, Van Buren, Washtenaw, Wayne, Wexford.
With an area of 250,493 sq. km, Michigan is the 11th largest and the 10th most populous state in the USA. Located in the south-central part of the state’s Lower Peninsula, at the meeting point of the Grand and Red Cedar Rivers is, Lansing – the capital city of Michigan. It serves as an industrial hub for the production of automobiles and associated parts as well as other industries like textiles, glass, and metal products. It also hosts the headquarters of several insurance companies and offices of various technology firms. Situated in the southeastern part of the state along the Detroit River is Detroit – the largest and the most populous city in Michigan. It also serves as the state’s major cultural center and its chief port.
The State of Michigan is located in the Great Lakes and Midwest region of the United States. Michigan is bordered by the states of Ohio and Indiana in the south; by Illinois, Wisconsin, and Lake Michigan in the west; by Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Lake Superior in the northwest and by the Canadian province of Ontario, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie in the north and east.
Regional Maps: Map of North America
|Legal Name||State of Michigan|
|ISO 3166 Code||US-MI|
This page was last updated on February 13, 2023