Shedding Light on Michigan's Lighthouse Life
Experience lighthouse life during a visit to almost any of Michigan’s 129 historic beacons. Most lighthouses offer public tours, and some invite visitors onto the parapet, the platform that wraps around the lantern room. With 3,200 miles of shoreline and one of the nation's most active waterways, it's no wonder that Michigan claims more lighthouses than any other state in the country. For visitors willing to spiral up steep stairs and squeeze through a narrow hatch, panoramic views serve as a reward. Check out the list of featured lights below:
The 45-minute guided tour includes climbs for sweeping looks at Tawas Bay.
Tawas Point Lighthouse - East Tawas
Trek 1.5 miles through the state park to climb 130 steps and emerge onto one of the state’s tallest beacons for views of the dunes.
Big Sable Point Lighthouse - Ludington
This historic, bright red light guards a rocky bluff.
Marquette Harbor Lighthouse - Marquette
LIGHTHOUSE KEEPERS PROGRAMGuests greet visitors, provide tours and perform light duties—in exchange for room and board—as part of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association’s Volunteer Keepers Program. Each lighthouse charges fees for applications ($30) and the program ($200 and up). Sessions run from a few days to up to two weeks. About 20 lighthouses participate, including:
Participants staff the gift shop and collect fees for self-guided tours. It’s a much different kind of work from that of the original keepers, who hauled pails of oil to fuel the lamp amplified by the Fresnel lens. Perks include free wine tasting and unlimited views of rolling vineyards.
OVERNIGHT STAYS—LIVE LIKE A LIGHTHOUSE KEEPER
A few Upper Peninsula lighthouses operate as inns or bed-and-breakfasts. For overnights, check into one of the following for a unique lodging experience:
Short and squat, tall and lean, brilliant red or striped black and white, each of Michigan's uniquely beautiful lighthouses play its part in keeping the Great Lakes safe. Come see the lights of Pure Michigan.