Record High Lake Levels Mean Smaller Beaches This Summer

You check into your vacation rental, decide to take a walk on the beach, and when you get there, you realize something is different. The beach doesn’t quite look how you remembered it. It seems a lot smaller. And you are correct.

Lake Michigan has risen almost 4 feet since 2013, during which the lake level was at a historic low. If you were used to long stretches of expansive beaches, you might be in for a shock when visiting Harbor Country this year.  Many of the local beaches have shrunk significantly, so be prepared to see less sand this summer. 

According to a recent article by the Chicago Tribune, this is a natural occurrence in the cycle of the lake.  The entire Great Lakes ecosystem normally fluctuates between highs and lows over time. Usually the water recedes in the fall, but due to wet springs and increased rainfall as a result of El Nino, that didn't happen. Following years of abnormally low lake levels, water is making a comeback. Water levels are expected to continue to rise during the rest of the year. Although the beach might not be how you remember it, it is back to how it used to be. It’s a plus for boaters but tends to be a bit disappointing to beachgoers. But don’t fret, because our beaches are still here, and they are still beautiful, but you might have a closer view of the lake this year. Jump in and enjoy it!