Visit West Michigan Lighthouses

Lighthouses symbolize safety, a fascinating maritime history--and have a romantic nature about them. Our area of West Michigan along the Lake Michigan shoreline has its share of these wonderful structures, from Manistee's North Pierhead Lighthouse down to Little Sable Point Lighthouse at Silver Lake. Most were constructed in the late 1800s, when the lumber industry was at its peak. The lighthouses were especially useful in the mid-1900s, when Ludington's Lake Michigan harbor was home to a large carferry fleet.

Today, thanks to organizations that are dedicated to preserving these lighthouses, they proudly stand on the shores of a sometimes turbulent Lake Michigan, opening their doors to visitors, and continue to guide vessels into port.

Ludington light
North Breakwater Light

Ludington's North Breakwater Light

You've seen it in numerous photographs, and it is now ranked #1 in Michigan lights to visit. Ludington's North Breakwater Light is a focal point within the community, and a great place to watch the sunset or wave at the S.S. Badger (Lake Michigan Carferry) as it cruises from its dock in Ludington out onto Lake Michigan. During open hours, visitors can climb the 53 steps to the top. The breakwall leading out to the light is a popular venue for fishermen and those who enjoy walking the mile-long round trip.

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm May 28-September 6, 2021.

Read more about Ludington's North Breakwater Light.

Big Sable
Big Sable Point Lighthouse

Big Sable Point Lighthouse

The black-and-white striped, 112 foot lighthouse at the Ludington State Park stands proudly on the shores of Lake Michigan and remains a testament to lighthouse keepers of the past. The Big Sable Point Lighthouse is listed on both the state and national registers of historic places. From May-October, visitors can hike the 1.5 miles from the parking lot to the beach and climb the 130 steps to the top of the tower, which offers a spectacular view of the Lake Michigan waters. The original keeper's quarters houses a gift shop, where you can pick up a memento of your visit.

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm daily May 10-October 24, 2021.

Read more about Big Sable Point Lighthouse.

Little Sable Point Lighthouse

Little Sable
Little Sable Point Lighthouse
About 30 miles south of Big Sable Point Lighthouse brings you to the other "point" that juts out into Lake Michigan. Located in the Silver Lake Sand Dunes and the Silver Lake State Park, Little Sable Point Lighthouse is a 107' brick structure constructed in 1874. The Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association took over the maintenance of the lighthouse in 2005.

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday, 10am-5pm daily May 28-September 19, 2021.

Read more about Little Sable Point Lighthouse.

Pentwater's Pierhead Lights

Pentwater Pierhead
Pentwater's Pierhead Lights
The Pierhead Lights of Pentwater serve as beacons to guide pleasure boats into Pentwater's Lake Michigan harbor during the busy summer season. Pentwater's Pierhead Lights aren't technically lighthouses, but rather two lights. The current South Pierhead Light stands 25 feet tall, with the North Pierhead Light at 17 feet tall. Each is considered one of the few remaining pier range light systems located on the Great Lakes.

Read more about Pentwater's Pierhead Lights.

Manistee Pierhead
Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse

Manistee's North Pierhead Lighthouse

The most symbolic icon of the Victorian Port City is the North Pierhead Lighthouse, located between the 1st Street and 5th Avenue beaches of Manistee. Many Michigan lighthouses demolished their catwalks when the lights became electrified, so Manistee's catwalk is a rare sight. In the late 1920s, after extensive pier renovations, the old fog signal building was replaced by the present structure. Standing watch over Lake Michigan waters, Manistee's North Pierhead Lighthouse welcomes boaters into its harbor, and is a reminder of Manistee's great maritime history.

Read more about Manistee's North Pierhead Lighthouse.

White River Light Station

White River Light Station
White River Light Station photo by Marion Riedl
Built in 1875, the White River Light Station is one of four lights operated by Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association. Located in Whitehall, Michigan (about 40 minutes south of Ludington), the Light Station is situated between Lake Michigan and White Lake. The light station was decommissioned in 1960 and became a museum in 1970. Here, you can climb the spiral staircase to the top of the tower or view the original Fourth Order Fresnel lens. There is a $8 donation for adults and $5 for youth 17 & under to climb the tower.

Hours: Tuesday-Sunday 10am-5pm, late May-late October. May 21, 2021-Oct. 25, 2021. October hours are 11am-4pm.

Read more about White River Light Station.

Grand Haven Light
Grand Haven Lighthouse & Pier

Grand Haven Lighthouse & Pier

A series of lights draped like holiday lights run along the pier, only broken in the middle by the sight of the Grand Haven Lighthouse. This inner lighthouse, built in 1905, has a round tower looks elegant in its vivid red with lights stringing out on either side. As we follow the lights towards the lake we come to the breakwater's second lighthouse. This outer light, built in 1875, has its own charm and resembles a small barn in appearance. At one time the outer light was equipped with a fog horn which could warn ships in harm's way when the light could not be seen. The west side of the light sports a structure similar to the bow of a ship. This protects the light from the heavy swells so common on Lake Michigan.

West Michigan Lighthouse Locations...

West Michigan Map

Ludington's North Breakwater Light -- Walk the half-mile long pier to West Michigan's most popular lighthouse.
North Pierhead Lighthouse in Manistee -- At the Manistee beach.
Little Sable Point Lighthouse -- Located at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes.
Big Sable Point Lighthouse -- Located in the Ludington State Park.
Pentwater Pier Head Lights -- At the channel to Pentwater Lake.
Grand Haven Lighthouse -- The Grand Haven lighthouse is at the mouth of the Grand River.
White River Light Station in Whitehall -- Operated by the Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers.

Discover More Lake Michigan Lighthouses...

Northwest Michigan Map

Grand Traverse Light Station -- Located on the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula in Northern Michigan, The Grand Traverse Light was established in 1852.
Point Betsie Light Station -- Nestled in a dune just south of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the tower stands 39 feet tall, but with the height of the dune it towers 52 feet above Lake Michigan.

Northern Michigan Map

Harbor Point Lighthouse -- Located in Harbor Springs in Northern Michigan. McGulpin Point Lighthouse -- This lighthouse is located in the Straits of Mackinac at Mackinaw City. Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse -- Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse is in Mackinaw City.

Wisconsin Lighthouse Map

Manitowoc North Breakwater - Walk out to the end of the pier to this Manitowoc lighthouse, and wave to the carferry S.S. Badger as the ship passes by.
Algoma North Pierhead - This lighthouse can be seen all along the Crescent Beach Boardwalk and is accessible via the pier if you want to venture closer.
Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse - Located in Kewaunee, Wisconsin...halfway between Sturgeon Bay and Manitowoc along Lake Michigan.

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Last Updated: 07-27-2021 03:32 PM ID: 364