National Lighthouse Day dates back to 1789. On August 7th many moons ago, Congress approved an act for the establishment and support of lighthouse, beacons, buoys, and public piers. It was not until 200 years later, in 1989 that this important Act received it’s own day of recognition. Happy National Lighthouse Day! Celebrate today and visit a lighthouse that’s not far away.
Old Mission Point Lighthouse
Located on 45th parallel the Old Mission Point Lighthouse is a popular park and playground along the shore. Pack a picnic and spend the day. There are beautiful hiking trails surrounding the lighthouse. It’s also a museum open for tours, and in search of volunteer keepers to serve as tour guides.
Directions: take M-37 to the end of Old Mission peninsula, approx. 22 miles from Front St. in Traverse City.
Point Betsie Lighthouse
The oldest operating light in Michigan —and perhaps the most photographed— Point Betsie is a must-see on a visit to Benzie County. It’s a great spot to hunt for fossils like Petoskey stones and Charlevoix stones. The lighthouse is open for tours in the summer Thursday – Sunday.
Directions: take M-22 to Pt. Betsie Rd, 4 miles north of the blinking light in Frankfort.
South Manitou Island Lighthouse
Guiding ships safely through the Manitou Passage, the South Manitou Island Lighthouse is an important beacon in Lake Michigan. It’s part of the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, with tours that take you to the top for an incredible panoramic view of National Lakeshore.
Directions: South Manitou Island may be reached by ferry from Leland. The lighthouse is located 0.6 miles from the ranger station and dock
Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum
At the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula you’ll find the Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum. For a glimpse into our maritime history take the tour, or better yet, ask about their guest lightkeeper program. The lighthouse and museum are open May through October, and weekends in November.
Admission: Adults $5, Children 6-12yrs $2, under 5yrs are free
Directions: 9 miles north of Northport inside Leelanau State Park (entry fee charged)
Frankfort North Breakwater Lighthouse
The Frankfort Lighthouse marks the entrance to the Betsie Bay, a popular port for fishermen and sailors. You’ll find kids jumping from the pier in the summer, surfers riding the waves well into the fall, and the most storm watching along the north and south piers when the wind is high. Plus it’s a spectacular spot to watch the sun say goodnight to Lake Michigan.
Directions: Take M-22 past the blinking light to Main St, then west through downtown to Frankfort beach
We Love Our Lighthouses
The importance of lighthouses is hard to ignore. Especially when you consider the fact that at one time, the beacon of light could be seen across almost all of America’s shoreline!
Have you visited any northern Michigan lighthouses? Let us know your favorite in the comments below.
For more information on lighthouses in the area, and get directions right from your phone, download our mobile app. You’ll find them listed under the Attractions section. The Traverse Traveler app is a handy way to navigate through the Traverse area and discover must-see destinations like these.
See you on the beach!
I’m not sure why I have a fascination with lighthouses, but I definitely do – climbing them, photographing them … even just finding the more remote ones! Thanks for this article. We’ve been talking about traveling north to Michigan, so I’ll save this for whenever we visit (plus I’ll post to Twitter, Pinterest and G+). Oh …, by the way, I had no idea that there was a national lighthouse day!
I love that they’re all different, but served the same purpose. It makes them more fun to explore. Do you have a favorite lighthouse?