Michigan, a state in the United States, borders four of the five Great Lakes—Superior, Huron, Erie, and Michigan—and shares a land boundary with Ohio, Indiana, and Wisconsin, and a water boundary with Illinois. It also has an international border with Canada. The total area of Michigan is 96,716 mi2 (250,487 km2), making it the 11th largest state in the country.
Michigan, from northwest to southeast, is divisible into eight primary geographic regions:
Superior Upland is a region in the Upper Peninsula known for its rugged terrain, formed by ancient volcanic activity and glaciation. This area hosts the state's highest point, Mount Arvon, which rises to an elevation of 1,979 feet (603 meters) above sea level. Dense forests and a rocky coastline characterize the Superior Upland, which includes portions of the Porcupine Mountains and the Keweenaw Peninsula.
Eastern Lowland extends through the eastern part of the Upper Peninsula, featuring a contrast to the Superior Upland with its lower elevation and smoother landscape. This region has extensive wetlands and is home to the Tahquamenon Falls, one of the largest waterfalls east of the Mississippi River. It comprises the low-lying areas adjacent to the shores of Lake Huron and the St. Marys River.
Northern Upland occupies a significant portion of the Lower Peninsula, marked by rolling hills and a mix of hardwood and coniferous forests. The region is noted for its elevation, which gradually decreases from the highlands towards the central part of the state. It includes parts of the Manistee and Huron National Forests, offering a diverse topography with small lakes and streams.
Cheboygan Lowland is characterized by its flat to gently rolling landscape. This region has numerous small lakes and wetlands, providing a distinct contrast to the higher elevations of the adjacent Northern Upland. The Black River and parts of the Inland Waterway traverse through this lowland area.
Saginaw Lowland is a fertile agricultural region in the central part of the Lower Peninsula. It encompasses the Saginaw Bay and the surrounding flatlands, which were historically a mix of swamp and prairie. The Saginaw River flows through this region, emptying into Lake Huron.
Lake Michigan Lowland Plains run along the western edge of the Lower Peninsula, adjacent to Lake Michigan. This region is characterized by sandy shores and dunes, and it includes Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. The Grand River, the longest in the state, flows through this region, contributing to the area's geographic features.
Southern Upland covers the southernmost part of the Lower Peninsula, featuring a landscape of rolling hills and fertile plains. This region is a continuation of the Great Lakes Plains and has the lower elevations conducive to agriculture and urban development.
Huron-Erie Lowland Plains stretch along the southeastern shore of Michigan, including the Detroit metropolitan area. This lowland is part of the larger Lake Plains and has the Detroit River, which connects Lake St. Clair with Lake Erie. The lowest point in Michigan, at the surface of Lake Erie, lies at 571 feet (174 meters) above sea level.
Major Bodies of Water: As a state almost surrounded by the Great Lakes, Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline in the United States (3,288 linear miles). The state's notable lakes include Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, Lake Huron, and Lake Erie, each contributing significantly to the state's border. Lake Superior, the largest and deepest of the Great Lakes, outlines the northern edge of Michigan's Upper Peninsula, while Lake Michigan defines the western boundary of the Lower Peninsula. Lake Huron lies to the east, with Lake Erie touching the southeastern corner of the state.
Regarding Michigan's rivers, the Detroit River is a significant waterway due to its connection between Lake St. Clair and Lake Erie and its role in international shipping. The Grand River, Michigan's longest river, flows into Lake Michigan after traversing the state's central region. In the Upper Peninsula, the Tahquamenon River is known for its impressive Tahquamenon Falls, while in the Lower Peninsula, the Saginaw River serves as a vital drainage conduit into the Saginaw Bay of Lake Huron.
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
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This page was last updated on January 22, 2024