12 Reasons Why the Great Lakes Are Better Than the Ocean

Everyone wants to live on a beach, right? That's pretty much the dream of every red-blooded American... right? Sunsets on the deck, waking up to the waves, that's the life, RIGHT????? Well dream on dreamers, the ocean ain't all it's cracked up to be. The Atlantic and Gulf Coasts of the United States get pummeled by hurricanes every year, and after California finishes its transformation into a barren, sun-baked hellscape that will make the Dust Bowl look like a brief dry spell, the Big One will promptly deposit the whole state to the bottom of the sea.
Actually, the ocean kind of sucks.

The Great Lakes are superior. Hell, one is even NAMED Superior. But if you're one of those people who need "reasons" -- other than those mentioned above (seriously???) -- here are 12 more.

1. Water, water everywhere and not a drop to drink

Oh, so you live on the ocean and have amazing views of the water, and your favorite pastime is surfing/drinking while watching other people surf? Cool story, bro. Hope you don't get thirsty. Short of a having a billion-dollar desalination plant nearby, you're screwed. All that water and you can't drink any of it, and once your fresh water reserves run out... well, that's going to be one damn expensive irrigation trench you're going to have to dig to the Great Lakes. Better build yourself a war rig and strap a heavy-metal guitarist to the front, because you're about to enter some crazy Mad Max times.

Flickr/Bernt Rostad

2. Really good water means really good beer

There's a reason that some of the best beer in the country is coming out of the Great Lakes region: it's being made with some of the best water IN THE COUNTRY. Michigan isn't the Great Beer State for naught, and Wisconsin hoards all of its brews because they're so damn good. Plus the other six Great Lakes states! (Calm it down New York, yes, you are pretty and special too.)

3. Fresh water isn't stinky and crusty

So you know how when you go for a dip in the ocean and you come out covered in salt crust and with the distinct stench of rotting seaweed? Yeah, that doesn't happen in the Great Lakes. The water may be colder, but it's wonderfully clean.

4. You can still surf on the Great Lakes

Oh yes, we have waves. Lake Michigan gets 2ft-4ft waves in the summer and 4-8 footers in the winter (wear a wetsuit!), though they can actually get as high as 28ft. In fact, Lake Superior can generate waves over 20ft, and it's not uncommon for storm crests to top 30ft (that's what sank the Edmund Fitzgerald, btw -- history!). And even though the water is cold (we mentioned that already, right?), it's not as if the ocean is terrifically warm all around the world at all times, so stop whining.


5. There are no hurricanes, tsunamis, or typhoons...

... and the rare earthquake is no more than a barely perceptible tremor. The most frequent and most severe earthquakes occur in or near ocean trenches. No ocean = no major earthquakes. Math! Also, with earthquakes come tsunamis. No ocean = no earthquakes = no tsunamis! Also no hurricanes, no typhoons, and no cyclones, because those too are the ocean's burden. The Great Lakes region gets high windstorms and the occasional tiny tornado, but even then it's certainly not Kansas.

6. No shark attacks!

Maybe you've heard that Jaws is currently alive and well off North Carolina? Or how about the recent Great White sightings just off the coast of Surfside, CA? Yeah, the worst you're going to get in the Great Lakes are leeches. Annoying, for sure, but at least you can just pull them off.

Flickr/Tom Gill

7. Lake storms are a wonder to watch (and not at all life-threatening!)

If you've never watched a storm roll in over Lake Michigan at night, you haven't really lived. Well, you have, but still it's pretty wicked cool, and you're missing out. Plus, it totally won't kill you! (Unless you stand in the middle of a field wearing a suit of metal and daring the lightning to strike you.)

8. Lake-effect snow

For those who love snow, of course. This is not a universal +1 in the pro-lake column. But if you love snow, the Great Lakes GOT you!

Flickr/Ohio Sea Grant

9. Boats, boats, boats!

OBVIOUSLY, there are lots and lots of boats out on the ocean. Million-dollar sailboats, billion-dollar yachts, etc. But in the high-rent coastal ocean towns, boating is very much the domain of the really really really ridiculously wealthy. Not so in the Great Lakes, where middle-class weekend warriors want nothing more to do with their day than go out on their boat, or at least their jet skis. And if you don't have a boat yourself, you definitely have a friend who has a boat and, thus, get to reap all the benefits. Bottom line: in the Great Lakes, boating isn't a luxury, it's a lifestyle.

10. It gets humid, but not THAT kind of humid 

Sure, it gets humid. But not, like, Hong Kong humid. Or Hotlanta humid. That's the kind of humidity that blinds you because the sweat is streaming into your eyeballs and you feel like Tyrion Lannister is standing on your chest throwing back a flagon of wine and mocking you for choosing to live somewhere so goddamn insufferably humid, humid. Great Lakes humidity is NOTHING like that.


11. When the world runs out of water, the Great Lakes will be the new Holy Roman Empire

Together the Great Lakes comprise 21% of the planet's surface fresh water by volume, and he who controls the water controls the future. We're basically sitting on lakes of gold over here. Bitches, we will OWN you.

12. Because we said so

In our amazingly scientific power-ranking of each of the 50 states, Michigan -- THE Great Lakes State, and not just a corner border state (It's a peninsula! Actually, it's TWO peninsulas!) -- came in No. 1. Number ONE.