Summer Lake Life Overflowing With Opportunity
Perhaps you’ve heard the phrase “the Midwest is best” used to describe the congenial personalities and laid-back lifestyle of the region’s residents, but the benefits of this area go beyond even its friendliest dwellers. Living near water, including Lake Michigan, the fifth largest freshwater lake in the world, and inland lakes like Wisconsin’s Geneva and Delavan, affords residents incredible natural beauty and the opportunity for a plethora of activities. Here’s a look at some of the unexpected advantages that living near water provides in the heart of summer.
Of course, beach days, stand-up paddle, boating, and fishing are all fun activities; however, the benefits go beyond recreational enjoyment. According to a study conducted at England’s University of Exeter, proximity to water naturally encourages physical activity. Whether a run along the beach, a long walk, or refreshing swim, any form of exercise encourages good physical and mental health including reduced blood pressure, lower cholesterol, heart health, and a sense of overall well-being.
Swim, Bike, Run!
To take your exercise to the next level, many waterfront cities in the Midwest hold triathlons each summer. Triathlons are a great way to challenge your physical stamina while enjoying the outdoors. The Chicago Triathlon, held along the Lake Michigan shoreline, is one of the world’s largest and offers training programs and a shorter Sprint distance for those just dipping their toes into the endurance sport’s waters. North of Chicago, Wilmette features the North Shore Triathlon, while Lake Geneva and Delavan Lake also hold triathlons with unique courses depending on your skill level. For an even further feat, Benton Harbor, Michigan, hosts the Half Ironman Steelhead.
Breezes and Bounty
The Midwest may not be the first place that comes to mind when people think about wine country, but proximity to the Great Lakes – a natural air conditioner – and favorable soil conditions actually do foster an environment that is conducive to growing grapes. Dablon Vineyards and Winery along with Gravity Vineyards are two locations in Southwest Michigan to enjoy a variety of crisp, local wines, while Studio Winery in Lake Geneva and Staller Estate Winery in Delavan also make several varietals.
Let There Be Light
Lake Michigan is renowned for its lighthouses. Whether a resident or tourist, the significance of these landmarks can be appreciated today from a historical perspective. The lighthouses that dot the horizon in Southwest Michigan and Chicago are visually stunning while also providing a story of how these once-growing industrial hubs managed marine traffic. The Chicago Harbor Lighthouse, and New Buffalo Lighthouse are both still operational, while St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouse is decommissioned but serves as a marker to the mouth of the St. Joseph River. If you’re up for a road trip, the Lake Michigan Circle Tour is a fantastic way to experience more than 60 lighthouses from Wisconsin to Michigan.
Also of historical significance, Lake Geneva’s U.S. Mailboat has been delivering mail to residents’ docks since 1916 when it was established as a delivery alternative to area roads that were largely inaccessible. The boat still delivers mail throughout the summer months and tours can be booked to experience how the mail is delivered by “mail jumpers” that go from dock to dock.
The endless perks of lake life should never be overlooked. From the simplicity of a spectacular sunset or waves crashing on the beach, to the lesser-known highlights the water inspires, we hope you’ll get outside this summer and appreciate our greatest natural resource.