Lake Erie is the smallest of the Great Lakes by volume with the largest concentration of cities and urbanized areas. The lake is 241 miles (209 nm) long and only 56 (49 nm) miles wide, covering 9,910 square miles. The average depth is 62 feet but the western basin has an average depth of only 24 feet. It warms quickly in summer and freezes over in winter (necessitating the pulling in of all floating navigational aids in winter months.)
As the shallowest and southernmost of the Great Lakes, Erie is also the warmest, meaning you can enjoy almost any watersport here. Canoes, kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are popular as are pontoon boats. Large commercial vessels (fishing boats and freighters) are also regularly seen on Lake Erie.
The southern shore of Lake Erie is shared by four states: Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania and New York. Much of the nation’s heavy industry is concentrated along Lake Erie. Despite the concentrations of this heavy industry, cruising skippers can still find miles of unspoiled shoreline between the major urban centers. Erie’s northern shore is part of the Canadian province of Ontario. The low-lying coastline contains no major cities; miles of rural countryside divide small fishing villages and resort communities where even barnyard silos can be important local landmarks.
Lake Erie’s islands are the main attraction for most cruising boats. Located in the western end of the lake, the islands are spread like stepping-stones from the Ohio shore across to Canada. Some of the finest walleye fishing in the world can be found on the reefs dotting this area. Each of the islands has a distinct personality providing plenty of activities from anchoring off a sandy beach to enjoying a glass of wine in a local winery.
Plan your boating trip on the Lake Erie, ON, CAN/MI, OH, PA, NY. Browse marinas, dockage, service yards, and navigation alerts.
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