Michigan has more lighthouses than any other state (247, though only 100 are in decent condition). Many lighthouses dot the coast of Michigan from the St. Joseph’s North Pier Light in southwest Michigan to McGulpin Point Lighthouse by the Straits of Mackinac. 20 of them are actually open to the public with tours and maritime museums, depicting life back then. History buffs will love the western pike of Michigan and we’re sure of it. Renters will love the Michigan cabins near the lighthouses too.
Long before technology, lighthouses were the only way to safely navigate boats from all over the Great Lakes and to land, primarily in the 1800s when boat traffic was at its heaviest. Over time, cargo boats were less needed as cargo shipments on land became more efficient. Lighthouses became more automated and the need to have someone there all the time had dissipated.
What creates an awe about these beacons of light? Lighthouses helped shaped shipping history in America. The families that grew up in lighthouses with their many tales, slowly moved inland to find more work as lighthouses became more advanced. The history of lighthouses (some even ghostly) can be a fascinating story to tell and only those that are extensive in the knowledge can tell it. Enjoy a vacation on Michigan’s western coast to fully experience the magnitude of lighthouse history. We are featuring 22 lighthouses in our map.
1. The Peninsula Point Lighthouse: An hour away from Manistique, this lighthouse is a brick square lighthouse that is great for observing migratory birds and butterflies and sits on a shore of fossils from 400-500 million years ago. Ideal for a road trip along picturesque Upper Peninsula. Now see the Manistique cabin rental(s) near the Peninsula Point Lighthouse.
2. The Poverty Island Lighthouse: In 2011 was declared by Lighthouse Digest to be "America’s Most Endangered Lighthouse". This is located near Summer Island in the Upper Peninsula Michigan, close to Manistique. Now see the Manistique cabin rental(s) near the Peninsula Point Lighthouse.
3. The Manistique Lighthouse: This lighthouse sticks out with its bold red color and is still used for navigation purposes. It was was once used as a navigation light for the shipping industry as it was an important shipping port for the logging industry. It is privately owned and not open for inside tours. Now see the Germfask cabin rental(s) near the Manistique Lighthouse.
4. The Seul Choix Lighthouse: 14 miles east of Manistique, this lighthouse has been considered haunted due to strange happenings. Well maintained, this lighthouse is a registered Historical marker with museum highlighting the history of this nautical treasure. Now see the Germfask cabin rental(s) near the Seul Choix Lighthouse.
5. Old Mission Point Lighthouse: It’s location on the 19 mile long peninsula is especially unique to Michigan. The moderate temps allow for exceptional grape and cherry growing, therefore lots of wineries and vineyards populate this area. The view of this particular lighthouse and the surrounding area makes this a beautiful backdrop for romantic proposals and weddings. Now see the Traverse City vacation rental(s) near the Old Mission Point Lighthouse.
6. Grand Traverse Lighthouse: Located in the Leelanau State Park, this lighthouse is located in Northport, MI in the “pinky” of the mitten state. This picturesque lighthouse is surrounded by water and provided a light of hope since 1858. Now see the Lake Leelanau cottage rental(s) near the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.
7. North Manitou Shoal Lighthouse: Declared as extra excess to the Coast Guard, this lighthouse that floats in the water midway between the southern end and the northern end of North Manitou Island and the mainland. If no on speaks interest in the undertaking of this lighthouse, it will be sold at an auction… anyone interested? Now see the Maple City cabin rental(s) near the North Manitou Shoal Lighthouse.
8. South Manitou Island Lighthouse: One of the most recognized characters on the island, this lighthouse is a focal point for many visitors looking to check out the 3 brothers shipwreck nearby or the dunes through the town’s village. Enjoy a romantic proposal, a selfie or a panoramic view of Lake Michigan with this incredible view. Now see the Maple City cabins near the South Manitou Lighthouse.
9. Manning Light Lighthouse: the 2nd newest lighthouse in Michigan, this is located near Empire, Michigan. It was named after Robert Manning wished he had a lighthouse to help navigate his trips on his vessel to the mainland. After he died, the lighthouse was erected and named after him. Now see the Benzonia, MI cabin rentals near the Manning Light Lighthouse.
10. Point Betsie Lighthouse: This lighthouse was leased to the Friends of Point Betsie immediately after the Benzie County acquired it from the Coast Guard in 2004 and since then, a million dollars have been put back into it, remodeling and fixing up the lighthouse. This lighthouse makes for a perfect proposal, wedding or honeymoon. Even memorials, baptisms, and senior portraits. Now see the Benzonia, MI vacation rentals near the Point Betsie Lighthouse.
11. Frankfort North Lighthouse: This is a spectacular location for a romantic picnic while the sun sets over the horizon or to enjoy a peaceful evening fishing. Pick a day with fireworks and you have an evening of lake fun and burst of color above a historical lighthouse. What sounds better than that? Now see the Benzonia, MI cottages near the Frankfort North Lighthouse.
12. Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse: 1 of 4 catwalks that exist on the West Coast of Lake Michigan, this pier and lighthouse is owned by the town of Manistee museum. The lighthouse is the focal part of the lighthouse park, the Douglas Recreation Park. Consider this a terrific backdrop to wedding photography, senior portraits, reunions, and ceremonies in Manistee, Michigan. Now see the Wellston, MI cabins near the Manistee North Lighthouse.
13. Big Sable Lighthouse: This peculiar history and beautiful backdrop set the tone for this lighthouse. This lighthouse was erected after 1855-the year where three tragic shipwrecks caused the loss of many lives on board. Construction and habitants continued until 1968. This is when electricity made this lighthouse fully automated, therefore eliminating the need for the Coast Guard. After they vacated, the State Dept. Of Social Services operated an experimental program with delinquents, using survival therapy techniques in the lighthouse. Now see the Fountain, MI cabins near the Big Sable Lighthouse.
14. Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse: often voted #1 lighthouse in Michigan, this lighthouse is in Stearns Park in Michigan where activities are boundless for the day. This lighthouse is a great place to bid adieu to the passengers of the S.S. Badger, the Lake Michigan Car Ferry. Play a round of mini golf, be adventurous at the skate park, or pack a picnic for the sunset here. Now see the Fountain, MI vacation homes near the Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse.
15. Pentwater Pier Lighthouse: these lights mark the entrance to the channel connecting Lake Michigan and Pentwater Lake. The park it is set next to Mears State Park outside of Pentwater. Lots of festivals, fireworks and contests are always going on in this area. Check the local website for current events in Pentwater. Now see the Whitehall, MI cabin rentals near the Pentwater Peir Lighthouse.
16. Little Sable Point Lighthouse: This lighthouse was the last one lighthouse to be electrified in Michigan, therefore not getting abandoned until 1958. When the concrete proved to be unstable the building next to the tower was demolished and the only thing left was the tower. Now see the Whitehall, MI cabins and cottages near the Little Sable Point Lighthouse.
17. White River Lighthouse: Located near Whitehall, Michigan this light is situated on a narrow peninsula and is home to a thorough museum, highlighting maritime history. This lighthouse was constructed during the prime lumbar industry days. The keeper, his wife and 13 children occupied this small residence. Now see the Whitehall, MI rentals near the White River Lighthouse.
18. Muskegon South Pierhead Lighthouse: Muskegon, once home to the largest concentration of millionaires in the 1800s due to the rebuilding of Chicago after the great fire. Climbing the tower is a favorite among children today. Now see the Muskegon, MI cabins near the Muskegon South Pierhead Lighthouse.
19. Grand Haven Lighthouse: This tower has been the site of shore erosion and a meteor strike, proving Mother Nature can sometimes be quite moody. This red lighthouse is currently being conserved under the Grand Haven Lighthouse Conservancy. Now see the Muskegon, MI cabins for rent near the Grand Haven Lighthouse.
20. Holland Harbor Lighthouse: This is a must stop of those that desire a great road trip along Lake Michigan. This charming town, home to the annual tulip festival every year, is a gorgeous town, complete with its might fine red lighthouse. This is only 2.5 hours from Chicago so to even make a day of it is simple. Now see the Saugatuck, MI cottages near the Holland Harbor Lighthouse.
21. South Haven South Pier Lighthouse: This lighthouse is certainly a celebrity in this beach town along Lake Michigan. This town hosts the Haborfest every year and attracts thousands of visitors every year. Unfortunately, the lighthouse, while looking magnificent on the outside, needs a lot of repair on the inside due to erosion. Only 2 hours from Chicago. Now see the Covert, MI vacation rentals near the South Haven South Pier Lighthouse, and these Coloma, MI vacation cabins near the South Haven South Pier Lighthouse.
22. St. Joseph Pier Lighthouse: This lighthouse is in St. Joseph, the Riviera of the Midwest, which makes this one very popular. This lighthouse once served as headquarters to the Red Cross. The catwalk is still used to for fishing, running, or biking. Now see the Benton Harbor, MI vacation rentals near the St. Joseph Pier Lighthouse, and these Union Pier, MI home rentals near the St. Joseph Pier Lighthouse.
While enjoying your Michigan lighthouse tour, take a drive down the West Michigan Pike. With wine and craft beer tours along serene and quiet beach towns, you’ll want to stay for more, which is why you will want to rent a Michigan Vacation Rental along the coast. Enjoy the street performers of Holland, Michigan or the sand dunes at Silver Lake. Enjoy a historical sail across Lake Michigan on the Friends Good Will Ship, telling the story of commerce in the 1800s and War of 1812.
The Great Lakes hold more than 6,000 sunken ships. In the springtime, Lake Michigan can be so clear that even finding shipwrecks from an airplane can be easy. The cold freshwater at the bottom is about 39 degrees year-round which is a great temperature for preserving shipwrecks and even the handful of airplane crashes. If you’re looking for excitement on your lighthouse tour, here it is.
The maritime history among all the lighthouses are a nautical nod to our nation’s past in historical events such as the Pearl Harbor attack, World War II, and the Cold War. The Little Sable Point Lighthouse is a must see for travelers looking at Michigan lighthouses. This is the tallest along Lake Michigan and is great view from the top. A great way to admire the sunset on Lake Michigan. Another popular one is north of Grand Haven is the Grand Haven Lighthouse and Pier, festively decorated with lights along the pier. A famous and most often photographed is the majestic Ludington’s North Breakwater Light. Ranked #1 in the state, this lighthouse is also a must see on your Lake Michigan lighthouse tour.
Summertime is great for travel to West Michigan as tours of the lighthouses are always going on. But added bonuses to this type of travel is the aurora borealis, also called the northern lights, after the night begins to fall. This rare glimpse of Mother Nature’s magnitude is highly recommended and can only be seen in certain parts of the world. The golf courses along the eastern shores of Lake Michigan are also some of the best in the country.
Monthly newsletter and other surprises.
Monthly newsletter and other surprises.