Despite its spooky name, Lake Erie is the second smallest of the five Great Lakes by surface area (9,940 square miles), and the smallest by volume (116 mi3). Don’t let that dissuade you from exploring the lake’s beautiful natural scenery, though. Sometimes big pleasures come in small packages.Lake Erie is primarily fed by the Detroit River and flows out through the Niagara River into Lake Ontario. The Grand, Huron, Maumee, Sandusky, Buffalo, and infamous Cuyahoga Rivers also all contribute to the Lake. The name is actually not a reference to any sort of spookiness associated with the lake, but rather comes from the Erie Native American tribe, which lived along the southern edge of the lake; a tribe known as the Neutrals or the Attawandaron lived in the north. Supernatural enthusiasts, however, will be pleased to know that the lake has its own alleged monster, known as Bessie, who was first sighted in 1817.Recreational hikers will definitely want to check out Point Pelee National Park, a peninsula of marsh and woodland that extends into Lake Erie (from the Canadian side, however, so grab your passport before you go). Indigenous peoples have been living on this site since between 700 A.D. and 900 A.D. Today, the site is popular with bird watchers and hunters. Over 360 different species of birds have been recorded in the park, including Cooper’s Hawks, Painted Buntings, and Yellow Warblers. The best time to visit is during the spring, when migration is at its peak.There are 28 islands within the lake. The largest is Pelee Island, which belongs to Ontariohowever, the next five largest are under the sovereignty of Ohio. In order of descending size, these are Kelleys Island, South Bass Island, Middle Bass Island, North Bass Island, and Johnson’s Island. Many of these islands feature public beaches and areas for swimming, boating, and fishing. Lovers of fine beverages will have another reason to visit Kelleys, though: the island is home to Kelley’s Island Wine Company, established in 1872 and originally one of the largest wineries in America. The company ceased production when its facility was destroyed by fire during Prohibition, but was reestablished as a working winery and tourist attraction by the Zettler family in 1982.The shores of Lake Erie are popular agricultural sites, such as for the sour cherry orchards in Leamington, Ontario. As you can see, despite its small size, Lake Erie packs a punch that makes it more than worth a visit for Clevelanders interested in the great outdoors.