Marquette is located on the southern shores of Lake Superior in Michigan’s Upper Peninsula. Lake Superior is the largest freshwater lake in the world. Lake Superior's surface covers 31,700 square miles and its cold, clear waters reach a depth of 1,332 feet.
The Ojibwe called it Kitchigami, meaning “great lake.” In the 1600s it was called Le Lac Superior, or “upper lake,” by the French missionaries, denoting its location at the top of the Great Lakes region.
It has long served as an important waterway for trade and shipping in the Great Lakes Region. However, its history of storms and strong winds have made it infamous for sinking many ships, including the iconic Edmund Fitzgerald in 1975.
Exploring the shoreline
Marquette County boasts 83 miles of Lake Superior shoreline. Some of the best local parks and beaches to explore the shoreline include McCarty’s Cove, Shiras Park, Clark Lambros Beach Park, Presque Isle Park, Wetmore Landing, and Little Presque Isle Beach.
Lake Superior Lookouts
If you’re looking for a Superior view from above, we’d recommend:
Marquette Underwater Preserve
The Marquette Underwater Preserve was established in 1990 to promote conservation of the area’s submerged historical resources. It consists of two areas along Lake Superior’s shoreline, both offering excellent scuba diving opportunities. The Marquette Unit features 24 miles of shoreline around Marquette, allowing divers to explore wrecks of wooden schooners, steamers, and commercial fishing vessels as well as unique geological formations. The second unit, the Huron Islands, is 25 miles to the northwest and features some of the state’s most impressive coastline.
Lake Superior Safety Tips
Whether it’s your first time in Superior or a yearly tradition, the big lake can change quickly and must be respected.
Swim where there are lifeguards. Never swim alone. Before entering the water, make sure someone knows you are doing so.
Check the City of Marquette website’s beach flag advisory system before swimming in Lake Superior. Flags are put up at South Beach, McCarty's Cove, Middle Beach, and Picnic Rocks to indicate dangerous to highly dangerous rip current conditions. Also, check the National Weather Service's Rip Current Forecast.
Rock formations are a likely place to find dangerously strong rip currents. This includes the Picnic Rock area, which is located on Lake Shore Boulevard, near the Lakeview Arena and a short walk from campus. Do not swim in this area. Move down the beach to McCarty’s Cove where lifeguards are located.
Know how to “break the grip of a rip.” Learn more from the National Weather Service at http://ripcurrents.noaa.gov and see below.
If you see someone caught in a rip current, going into the rip current area yourself is not the best solution.
Strong winds on Lake Superior that create huge waves are amazing to see and photograph, but they, too, can be deadly. Do not go into the water or out onto the breakwall at Presque Isle Park during high winds.