There are plenty of folks who will tell you West Michigan is one of the best places in the country to live. But is there anything more than the gut feeling of natives and transplants to support that? When it comes to our region's particular time zone placement, there just might be.

West Michigan is on a time zone border. We are the westernmost part of the Eastern time zone. (The exact westernmost point in the time zone is a dot on the Lake Superior shore between Ontonagon and Gogebic counties in the Upper Peninsula.)

From a practical purpose, West Michigan's position in the time zone means the region sees very late sunsets in the summer and does not suffer from extremely early sunsets in the winter.

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It's not uncommon to see the last gasps of daylight at nearly 10PM in the summer. While spots in the easternmost side of the Eastern time zone see winter darkness set in as early at 4PM in the winter.

The question came up on Reddit recently asking the question what it's like to live on a time zone border. In West Michigan, and particularly in the southwesternmost corner of the state at New Buffalo which sits just a mile from the Indiana line and the Central Time Zone, the concept of 'Michigan Time' is a real thing.

Here's what West Michigan residents and visitors had to tell about our time zone position:

I grew up in far western Michigan (lower peninsula on Lake Michigan). During the summer it wouldn’t get dark until 10 pm EDT. Drove my mother nuts.

It’s positively glorious here (West Michigan) in the summers. Our placement in the timezone, combined with Daylight Saving Time in the summer means for those few months we have great weather, we also get 5+ hours of it every day.

It’s hard to overstate how great it is for a few months every year. Sunset at 9:30, dusk until 10:15…. If I get out of work at 5, I can go for a bike ride, grill dinner, sit outside and eat it, and still have a couple hours of daylight for relaxing outdoors. I wouldn’t trade it for anything tbh.

The opposite applies too. I moved from the west side of Michigan to Chicago, and by far the worst part of the winters here are the 4:15pm sunsets

Weird. I live pretty much on the coast of Lake Michigan in Michigan. We stay lighter about 30 minutes longer than my family in Detroit. And over an hour longer than my wife’s family in Philly. During the summer, it’s light after 10 here.

So those positive vibes about West Michigan aren't just your feelings as a resident, it's our time zone placement - particularly in the summer.

Call it Western Eastern Time and it's all ours.

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