You Know You Live On The Great Lakes If...

by Jenn Schleich

If you live on one of the five Great Lakes, you know there’s something special about residing on one of the largest fresh water bodies in the world. But what exactly is that something special? Maybe it’s the endless access to fresh water, perhaps it’s the friendly people and the sense of community, or maybe it’s our world renowned sunsets. Whatever it is, you know you’re lucky to live in a place year-round that tourists flock to by the thousands.

Living on the Great Lakes is like the ultimate staycation and outdoor adventure — wrapped up in one stunning package. Swimming, boating, fish fry events, beach dances, festival after festival, bonfires, surfing, sunbathing, and water sports are some of our favorite pastimes. Of course, thousands of tourists also enjoy everything the Great Lakes have to offer and pose their own set of logistical problems, but deep down we do sort-of like the cottagers (j/k).

We also know the secret truth tourists are blind to: winter on the Great Lakes is just as great, aside from the sideways snow, closed roads, polar vortex and grey skies ... wait, maybe it’s not so great. You can snowmobile or cross-country ski to work though, so there’s always that.

If you live on one of the Great Lakes, you know what I'm talking about. Because there are some things only we can truly understand. Things like...

1. You're used to witnessing the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises in the world, every day.

Great Lakes sunsets have been voted some of the best in world.

2. You know boats are stranded by ice, not low tide.

What is this tide you speak of?

3. ...And that boardwalks run parallel to shore.

... and they don't host Ferris wheels and amusement parks, much to everyone's disappointment.

4. You know all the legendary party utopias dotting the shoreline.

And you also think they're kind of gross.

5. Your town’s population doubles during the summer.

We just want to get out of the grocery store alive, is that too much to ask?

6. ... And that people think your town ceases to exist after Sept. 1.

Where did all the people go?!

7. You know surfing often requires a wet suit.

Because the best surf comes in November.

8. 'Snowsqualls' and 'Lake Effect Snow' are part of your everyday vocab.

Once winter arrives, it's either cloudy or snowing. On the upside, you can snowmobile to work.

9. You know winter = barren frozen desert.

Somehow, you can still live at the beach and simultaneously exist in a world of endless winter. So much for that beautiful view and all those restaurant patios.

10. You know that the word 'snowbird' doesn't refer to migratory fowl.

We're talking about those lucky enough to winter in Florida.

11. You consider only three geographical directions ... unless you own a boat.

Businesses generally don't float, so the radius of available shopping and dining is cut down by one quarter.

12. You own a boat.

13. You know that 'big' waves are only 5 ft. high.

Scary right? Though waves as high as 70-90 ft. have been recorded in the history books.

14. You've jumped into the lake without testing the water because 'yesterday it was warm!'

But unbeknownst to you the lake turned and today it's 10 degrees colder. Thanks for that one Mother Nature.

15. Your out-of-town friends think your driveway is public beach parking.

We're never leaving!!!!

16. Wind turbines are nothing special to you.

17. You find landlocked towns claustrophobic, and aren't sure why people choose to live in them.

18. At least one your city friends has mistaken the lake for an ocean.

True story. To their credit, the water does stretch as far as the eye can see.

19. Your town mascot is probably something silly, like a lighthouse.

And everyone thinks that's totally normal.

20. You've seen a celebrity pull into the harbor in an absurdly large yacht, and you were not impressed.

21. You aren't convinced by the claims that there are sharks in the Great Lakes.

You know better ... right?

22. You like to pretend there are no mosquitos.

Or so the rumor goes.

23. You’ve heard of the clothing-optional beach, Hanlan’s Point, and maybe you’ve been there.


Nude beaches aren't just for the Europeans.

24. You think 60°F (15°C) is warm, and you aren't afraid of polar bear plunges.

We're not scared of the cold and we aren't afraid to prove it.

25. Because, really, when you live somewhere this beautiful?

There really isn't much to be afraid of.

Images: Giphy (5), 1juniper, jettajet, Florin Chelaru, Quintanomedia, lapstrake, ejwettstein, Olichek, EdithMaracle, Pychao, Quintanomedia, lapstrake, ejwettstein, Olichek, EdithMaracle, Pychao, nisargphotography/Flickr; nisargphotography; Ontario's West Coast, Pottahawk Pissup, Coleslutzky/Instagram,