Michigan has the longest freshwater coastline of any political subdivision in the world, being bounded by four of the five Great Lakes, plus Lake Saint Clair. Michigan is one of the leading U.S. states for recreational boating. The state has 64,980 inland lakes and ponds. A person in the state is never more than six miles (9.7 kilometers) from a natural water source or more than 85 miles (137 kilometers) from a Great Lakes shoreline. It is the largest state by total area east of the Mississippi River.
Michigan is the only state to consist of two peninsulas. The Lower Peninsula, to which the name Michigan was originally applied, is often noted to be shaped like a mitten. The Upper Peninsula (often referred to as "the U.P.") is separated from the Lower Peninsula by the Straits of Mackinac, a five-mile (eight-kilometer) channel that joins Lake Huron to Lake Michigan. The two peninsulas are connected by the Mackinac Bridge. While sparsely populated, the Upper Peninsula is economically important due to its status as a tourist destination as well as its abundance of natural resources.
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