Lake Erie is the smallest, shallowest, and warmest of the five Great Lakes, with shores that connect four states and two countries. The Ohio lakeshore is dotted with dozens of cities and towns. From resort communities to working harbors, many built by the industry and agriculture that was nurtured by Lake Erie. The impact Lake Erie has had on American history is tremendous. The lake was a beacon of freedom and opportunity for those fleeing the bonds of slavery and the hundreds of thousands of immigrants seeking a new life. Lake Erie was an invaluable natural resource that sparked the nation's industrial development, acting as a liquid highway for transporting goods and materials to the world. It is the perfect vacation desination and quite simply a great place to live.