The Great Lakes Region is more than just stunning vistas and beautiful waters, it’s also a spot where you can see the Northern Lights. That’s right, you don’t need to travel outside the continental U.S. to see the brilliant colors of the Aurora Borealis. The Great Lakes region is the largest expanse of freshwater in the world, and is approximately the size of continental Europe. The region includes Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Ohio, and Wisconsin.
Here are three recommended spots for viewing:
Cook County, Minnesota
Cook County, on the north eastern tip of Minnesota, has plenty of outdoor spaces to lie back and watch the colors light up the sky. The area, home to Minnesota’s tallest mountain peaks and highest waterfall, provide a breath-taking backdrop to watch the northern lights glow. Head to Oberg Mountain in the Superior National Forest to capture views of the Aurora casting its glow over Lake Superior. The Aurora Borealis can be seen between late autumn and early spring in Cook County.
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula
Michigan’s Upper Peninsula is one of the northernmost parts of the continental U.S., extending out into Lake Superior more than 250 miles from Green Bay, Wisconsin. Aurora Borealis sightings are common in the region, with many locals able to catch the glowing lights from their yards. For the best chance of see the Aurora Borealis, head to Marquette, the major port on Lake Superior, or the Keweenaw Peninsula, the state’s northernmost area. The best time to see the Northern Lights in Michigan is during the spring and autumn months.
On the shores of Lake Superior, the northern most region of Wisconsin, is a fantastic spot for watching the Aurora Borealis. Surrounded by the waters of the Great Lakes, greens and pinks light up the night sky, putting on a beautiful natural show. On a clear night, the northern lights reflect off the largest lake in North America, creating a spectacular show you won’t see anywhere else. You are more likely to see the Northern Lights in Wisconsin during autumn and late spring.
Photo courtesy of Great Lakes USA
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Mary Jo Manzanares | Mary Jo Manzanares is a founder and the editor-in-chief of The Traveler’s Way, an online travel magazine proving informational and inspirational travel recommendations for curious Baby Boomer travelers. She has been a speaker at various industry events and has a personal travel blog at Traveling with MJ. When she’s not traveling, Mary Jo likes lingering over a cup of coffee, wandering in a museum, sipping wine at a cafe, and sharing it all with friends and readers. Mary Jo's top travel destinations are Italy, Portugal, and the Caribbean.