Make your next getaway an adventure! If you’re looking for a working vacation, discover what it’s like to tend a lighthouse on an uninhabited island. Seeking thrills? Grip the steering wheel of a NASCAR race car going 150 mph. Or leave the driving to an expert and tool around a re-created village in an open-air Model T. Come along, and explore the opportunities.
More Adventure Diaries — How to become a lighthouse keeper
Au Sable Point Lighthouse, Munising
No fee, one or two-week duty period
Big Sable Point Lighthouse, Ludington
Fee charged, minimum two-week duty period
Crisp Point Lighthouse, Howell
No fee, no minimum duty period
DeTour Reef Light, Drummond Island
Fee charged, weekend-long duty period
Forty Mile Point, Rogers City
Fee charged, stay in your own RV, flexible duty term
Grand Traverse Lighthouse, Northport
Fee charged, one-week duty period
Little Sable Point Lighthouse, Ludington
Fee charged, no minimum duty period
Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse, Ludington
Fee charged, no minimum duty period
Old Mission Point Lighthouse, Traverse City
Fee charged, minimum one-month duty period
Point Iroquois Lighthouse, Sault Ste. Marie
No fee, minimum two-year duty period
06/437-5272 or 906/635-5311
Tawas Point, East Tawas
Fee charged, one or two-week duty period
(989/362-5658 or 989/362-5041)
More Adventure Diaries — More in Mackinaw City
More Things to Do — Mackinaw City
Arnold Transit Co.
The oldest ferry service of Mackinac Island offers scenic rides on traditional ferries. Or go for speed on one of the triple-deck catamarans. Purchase tickets online for a discount.
Spend the day as a French voyager in Mackinac State Historic Parks visiting Colonial Michilimackinac. At the restored fort, hear the booming cannons and muskets being fired while experiencing the colonial way of life.
Headlands International Dark Sky Park
For maximum stargazing potential, wander over to the Dark Sky Park and enjoy the view. Headlands boasts 600 acres of light pollution-free Lake Michigan coastline. Catch one of the monthly programs to hear stories of the constellations. www.emmetcounty.org/darkskypark
Two hundred feet above the water, the Mackinac Bridge holds the title for third longest suspension bridge in the world. The Mighty Mac crewmembers are willing to drive the cars of the uneasy—just ask.
Mill Creek Discovery Park
The water-powered sawmill at the Mackinac State Historic Park, Mill Creek, chops trees into 100 logs each minute. Head outside for an adventure tour including a ride on the 425-foot-long zipline, a 40-foot climb on the climbing wall and a hike 50 feet above the ground on the Forest Canopy Bridge.
Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse
Explore the original buildings of the lighthouse, which feature exhibits including shipwrecks in the Straits of Mackinac, the original lens and restored living quarters. Finish with a climb to the top of the tower and take in the view.
Shepler’s Mackinac Island Ferry
Beyond shuttle services to and from Mackinac Island, Shepler’s guides cruises around main tourist sites. View the Mackinac Bridge and historic lighthouses from the water. www.sheplersferry.com
Star Line Mackinac Island Ferry
Star Line’s HydroJet ferries spray a roostertail of water shooting 35 feet into the air as passengers are transported to and from the island.
More Places to Eat — Mackinaw City
Known for the whitefish, Scalawag’s basket more than satisfies with one to three pieces of fish, fries, coleslaw and hush puppies. Dine inside (or out), paper towels are on every table.
More Places to Stay — Mackinaw City
Living up to its name, this lakeside motel opens to the beach with a pool and hot tub area. Enjoy the scenic water views while warming up by a bonfire along the beach. www.largestbeach.com
More Adventure Diaries — More in Dearborn and Detroit (9 miles from Dearborn)
More Things to Do — Dearborn and Detroit
Detroit Artists Market
The gallery at the Detroit Artists Market exhibits new shows frequently but the gift shop is always open. Find works from local artists along with Michigan keepsakes such as books and prints.
Detroit Eastern Market
The largest historic market in the United States holds its biggest public market each Saturday. Stroll through booths of vendors selling hot meals, fresh produce, antiques and locally made jewelry.
Detroit Institute of Arts
Browse more than 100 galleries containing one of the top six collections in the United States. The Detroit Institute of Art displays works from prehistory through the 21st century.
Ford Rouge Factory Tour
Part of the Henry Ford Museum in Dearborn, the original assembly line factory runs as visitors come through on self-guided tours. Watch workers put together Ford F-150 trucks the same way Model-T’s were made.
The house in Detroit where Motown Music began holds the original recording studio full of equipment used by artists like the Supremes and the Jackson 5. Upstairs, displays feature costumes, photos and records from Motown greats.
Located on the city’s Riverwalk, this small shop rents bikes for leisurely rides. Wheelhouse also provides guided bike rides to tour the city’s highlights and historical sites.
More Places to Eat — Dearborn and Detroit (9 miles from Dearborn)
Avalon International Breads
Each morning, 1,500 loaves of bread bake in the ovens of this Detroit organic bakery. Beyond 50 types of bread, Avalon also makes baked goods and old-family recipes like callah and oatmeal raisin cookies (313/832-0008).
Buddy’s Original Pizza
A speakeasy turned pizza shop, locals have been claiming Buddy’s the best pizza in Detroit since the ‘40s. The deep-dish pies sit on a cracker-thin crust and come in classic cheese and specialty flavors like chicken fajita.
Located in the heart of Detroit’s entertainment district, Cliff Bell’s resembles a 1930s jazz club. Live music accompanies high-end meals, like the grilled salmon with roasted mushrooms, cipollinis (little onions) and goat cheese gnocchi, and martinis five days a week.
Good Girls Go to Paris Creperie
With a wide option of crepes in Detroit—sweet and savory—expect a wait worth the crispy, gooey goodness. Each crepe holds a girl’s name, such as favorites Sarah and Shannon.
London Chop House
Decorated with celebrity caricatures, jazz instruments and cigar humidors, the chophouse serves upscale entrees like filet mignon and Ahi tuna.
Miller’s Bar claims to serve not only the best burger in Dearborn, but in Michigan. Basic, but delicious, each one comes with French fries and onion rings in a low-key atmosphere.
Motor City Brewing Works
Located in downtown Detroit, Motor City Brewing serves inexpensive salads and wood-fired pizzas with inspired flavors, like the Greek pizza. The microbrewery has tasteful beers made on site—try the Detroit-themed Ghetto Blaster.
Iron Chef Michael Symon’s restaurant in Detroit serves dinner to the meat-lover’s desire. Entrees include 14-ounce veal chops, steaks the size of plates and bacon-wrapped-trout. Vegetarian? Don’t fret, options such as dressed up macaroni and cheese and fried Brussels sprouts are also available.
Detroit’s oldest operating restaurant, Roma Cafe makes Italian favorites from scratch. The extensive menu includes plenty of pasta dishes, veal, chicken and seafood entrees and some out-of-the-ordinary appetizers like frog legs.
Russell Street Deli
With a butcher next door, a bakery down the street and an urban farm nearby, every ingredient at Russell’s comes fresh and local. The small Detroit restaurant fills fast with patrons devouring soups and sandwiches made from scratch.
Along the Detroit River, Sindbads draws a crowd. Serving steaks and sandwiches with names such as the Spinnaker, Gulf Stream and the Schooner to match the restaurant’s nautical theme.
This bootlegger style cocktail bar in Detroit prides itself on the menu packed full of unique liquor combinations changing seasonally. Enjoy a cocktail while listening to live jazz and munching on appetizers.
More Places to Stay — Dearborn and Detroit (9 miles from Dearborn)
The Inn on Ferry Street
The Inn uses four Victorian houses to put guests up in rooms each with a private bathroom. Located in midtown Detroit this complex is just a walk away from museums like the Detroit Institute of Arts.
MotorCity Casino Hotel
Occupying an old Wonder Bread factory, MotorCity has plenty of rooms boasting great views of downtown Detroit. The hotel also stands above restaurants and bars, a casino and a club.
Omni Detroit Hotel at River Place
Enjoy river views at this hotel along the Detroit Riverwalk. The interior feels European with tall ceilings, deep wood accents and Victorian furnishings. www.omnihotels.com/detroit
Located near the Ford Motor Company headquarters in Detroit, this swanky hotel is in the perfect spot for touring. The traditional rooms are filled with plush bedding and marble baths.
The Westin Book Cadillac Detroit
After a $200 million renovation, the hotel in downtown Detroit has been restored to its original beauty. The historic Westin, which once stood as the tallest in the world and the tallest building in Detroit, housed famous visitors such as Herbert Hoover, Harry Truman and Frank Sinatra.
More Adventure Diaries — More in Brooklyn and Tecumseh (19 miles from Brooklyn)
More Things to Do — Brooklyn and Tecumseh
Cherry Creek Cellars
Housed in a one-room schoolhouse in Brooklyn, Cherry Creek covers a span of red and white wines. Fruit jams, salsas and dressings are also available. www.cherrycreekwine.com
The Boulevard Market
In Tecumseh, the Boulevard believes in staying small and local. The artisan cheeses and freshly baked bread are made on site and sold alongside other specialty food items, wine and beer.
Producing 1,800 cases of wine from the Great Lakes Watershed out of Tecumseh each year, the Pentamere offers more than wine. While you taste, browse the showcase of a local artist—rotating exhibits keep things fresh.
Walker Tavern Historic Site
In the 19th century it took travelers five days to travel the road from Detroit to Chicago via stagecoach. This tavern near Brooklyn provided a place for rest and relaxation during the trek. Visit the restored stop to learn about the travel associated with the historic crossroads.
What a Find!
Scour this Tecumseh consignment shop’s multiple showrooms for used books, collectibles, furniture and antiques. Don’t let the inexpensive prices fool you—What a Find only accepts gently used items.
The Wild Iris
Eclectic clothing and accessories hang from the shelves of The Wild Iris. The owner travels the country all year and brings the biggest women’s trends to Tecumseh. www.shopthewildiris.com
More Places to Eat — Brooklyn and Tecumseh (19 miles from Brooklyn)
British Pantry & Tea Garden Cafe
In Tecumseh, weave through tea towels, pots, cups and books to the tearoom. Here, choose from a selection of tea, sandwiches and desserts. Also browse the wide variety of loose leaf for sale.
The Daily Grind
A hotspot among the locals, this cozy coffee and sandwich shop resides in downtown Tecumseh. Coffee and sandwiches aren’t the only options—enjoy a variety of salads, baked goods and desserts.
Evans Street Station
Occupying an old firehouse in Tecumseh, this restaurant sources all of its ingredients from local farms. The menu contains high-end, seasonal entrees, such as Roasted Duck Breast with locally grown sweet corn, mushrooms and purple fingerling potato, and decadent desserts like the flourless dark chocolate Kahlua torte.
JR’s Hometown Grill & Pub
Western flair and a wide variety of menu items grace this Tecumseh restaurant. Find light options of soup, salad and sandwiches or choose something a bit heartier like steak, ribs or build your own pasta bowl.
Lev’s Bakery Shop
Family owned and operated, Lev’s is an old fashioned bakery with made from scratch cookies, doughnuts, pies, cakes and breads.
More Places to Stay — Brooklyn and Tecumseh (19 miles from Brooklyn)
Chicago Street Suite
These apartment-style suites are located above downtown businesses. Each guest gets a voucher for breakfast at the Daily Grind downstairs.
Dewey Lake Manor
Residing in a restored Victorian home, Dewey Lake Manor provides amenities including a paddleboat, canoe, croquet, grills and more.
For More Information, contact:
Detroit Metro Convention & Visitors Bureau
Jackson County Convention & Visitors Bureau
Mackinaw Area Visitors Bureau
Featured in the Article
Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association
Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village
Mach 1 Racing Schools
Michigan International Speedway