Lighthouses in Michigan

by Joe and Barb

Visitor Favorite Tourist Attraction: Michigan lighthouse are one of the most under-rated tourist attractions in Michigan, but one of our favorites!

Since Michigan has more miles of coastline than any other state except Alaska, it has over a hundred lighthouses to choose to visit! My favorite lighthouses for family day trips, romantic evenings by the shore, and explorations on the beach are:

Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum

This light tops the list for very good reason. It is one of the oldest lighthouses on the Great Lakes and has been turned into a museum with a surrounding public park. Not only can you learn about the historical relevance of the lighthouse, but you can let the kids run in the park and have a picnic to round out the day. Those who are more adventurous can even sign up to spend a week or longer living inside the lighthouse!

This is one of the many lighthouses scattered in and around Traverse City. You could easily spend a day or even a weekend just exploring the lighthouses in this area.

Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse

To visit this lighthouse up close, you have to venture down a half mile long path beside a breakwall. There are often fishermen dotting the path and you can catch beautiful views of tour boats cruising into the lake, which stretches on seemingly forever beyond the lighthouse.

Saginaw Bay Charity Island Lighthouse

This lighthouse rests ten miles offshore, so you will have to book a cruise out to the island to see it. This is a great idea for a day trip with the family. You can explore the island while snapping pictures the beautiful lighthouse.

South Manitou Island Lighthouse

This is another offshore light that requires you to take a ride to visit, but this ride will be much longer. You have to meet the ferry at the Leland port on Lake Michigan and ride for over an hour before you will arrive at the 100 foot lighthouse. If you are interested in climbing over 100 steps to reach the top and take pictures of the most spectacular lake views, the ride will be more than worth the time spent.

This is a great idea for an adult day trip or an evening out with that someone special. Photographers will love this lighthouse as well. You can only take this adventure in the summer months.

Au Sable Light Station

This lighthouse is located at Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore and requires you to hike three miles round trip to pay a visit. There is a shuttle bus that operates during limited times for a fee, but this is a great day trip for those able to take the hike out and spend some time lounging on the beach before heading back. Many also enjoy viewing the lingering remains of old shipwrecks, which can be found on the nearby beach. Tours are offered through mid-September.

There are MANY more great options. Which lighthouse you visit depends on what you are physically capable of and how ambitious you want to be on your next trip. You could easily tour Michigan through lighthouses alone while enjoying other attractions in nearby cities...that is what we do every year!

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