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What's At The Bottom Of Lake Michigan? As It Turns Out, A Lot Of History

TheTravel logo TheTravel 1/28/2023 Aaron Spray
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  • Lake Michigan Is Full Of 1,500 Shipwrecks & Other Secrets
  • Go Scuba Diving In Lake Michigan
  • Lake Michigan Has Plenty Of Things To Discover On Land As Well

Lake Michigan is one of the five Great Lakes, with plenty of things to see and do. Thanks to the Great Lakes and the Saint Lawrence Seaway connects the Midwest to the ocean. It is possible to navigate from the Atlantic to Chicago and beyond. But the Great Lakes are treacherous and full of shipwrecks. Some consider Lake Michigan to be the most dangerous lake in the country.

Like so many lakes in the world, Lake Michigan is hiding many secrets, with it entombing many ships, prehistoric stones, and more. Other lakes also have their watery secrets - scuba diving shipwrecks is also popular in Lake Eerie.

Lake Michigan Is Full Of 1,500 Shipwrecks & Other Secrets

There are almost 1,500 (some say 3,000) shipwrecks believed to be at the bottom of Lake Michigan (most of which are small vessels). Only a few hundred of these have been identified.

  • Shipwrecks: Around 1,500 Wrecks

There are some odd geological finds at the bottom, including a 2007 archeological find that was described as "Stonehenge-like," although it was actually more in a V-shape. One of the stones is said to have a mastodon image on it (although it's not fully clear if it was man-made or just a natural formation).

An eleven-foot crucifix weighing some 1,800 pounds at the bottom of the lake. It is at the bottom of Grand Traverse Bay (it was placed in the lake in 1962 to honor a drowned driver). It is located 20 feet below the surface of the lake, and is easy for drivers to find the watery religious relic.

There are plenty of things to see and discover in Lake Michigan. Who knows what other secrets the lake holds in its watery depths? There are known to be human bodies in it, and some occasionally wash up on the beaches.

Related: Dive Yongala: The Wreck That Became Part of The Great Barrier Reef

Go Scuba Diving In Lake Michigan

There are different companies offering scuba diving in Lake Michigan. One of the companies is Aquatic Adventures which explores the shipwrecks of the Great Lakes, some of which date back to the 1800s.

The recreational dive season in Lake Michigan starts in May and ends in early November (although diving is possible year-round). Visibility tends to be better in the colder months and at depths below 80 feet.

  • Dive Season: May to Early November

Visibility in the lake varies dramatically from day to day, and sometimes the visibility exceeds 100 feet (although 35 to 40 feet is more common). Divers need warm wetsuits or dry suits for most dives.

Under US federal law, it is illegal to remove any of the artifacts found on any wreck that's more than 50 years old (so be content to just take pictures).

The wrecks that Aquatic Adventures can visit include:


  • S.S. Appomattox
  • Dredge No. 6
  • Guillen Tug
  • Lumberman
  • Milwaukee Car Ferry
  • Prins Willem V
  • Transfer


  • S.S. Wisconsin

Port Washington:

  • Mahoning
  • Niagara
  • Northerner

Refer to their website for upcoming scheduled dives - these dives explore one of the wrecks.. Examples of dives include:

Milwaukee Car Ferry:

Advanced skill for this dive with an Advanced Open Water certification required.

  • Start Date: Sat 13 May 2023 at 8:00 am
  • Price: US$ 150.00


This is a great option for beginner scuba divers (although an Open Water certification is required).

  • Start Date: Thu 06 Jul 2023 at 5:30 pm
  • Price: US$ 110.00

Related: Four Of The Five Great Lakes Can Be Seen From Ontario, So Here's Your Trip Itinerary

Lake Michigan Has Plenty Of Things To Discover On Land As Well

Like the other Great Lakes, Lake Michigan is quite a young lake. Lake Michigan took its current for around 15,000 as the last ice age came to an end and the massive ice sheet (the Laurentide Ice Sheet) receded and melted.

Lake Michigan is the third largest of the Great Lakes and borders the states of Michigan, Indiana, Illinois, and Wisconsin. It is the largest lake in the world, wholly in one country. Technically, it is part of the largest lake in the world as, strictly speaking, Lake Michigan and Lake Huron are one lake. One of the most stunning places to visit the shores of the lake is Michigan City in Indiana and see the magical Michigan City Lighthouse (especially after it has frozen over in the winter).

Other notable attractions around Lake Michigan include Mackinac Island between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron while time stops and cars are banned and the Eben Ice Caves on Michigan's Upper Peninsula. Michigan's Upper Peninsula is incredibly different from the Lower Peninsula. It is home to only 3% of the population and is located in the Snowbelt. It is a choice location for anyone with a taste of the wilderness of the Great Lakes.


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