Lighthouses of Lake Huron: An Ultimate Guide
If you’re Looking for your very own pure Michigan getaway featuring towering a lighthouse standing proud on a windswept coast, Lake Huron lighthouse are your answer.
Look no further than Lake Huron’s Michigan shores, where looming lighthouses are still active aids to navigation for the boaters, fishermen, and freighters who travel the Great Lakes every day and night.
There is no better place to see lighthouses up close and personal than on the shores of Lake Huron.
Some of these lighthouses are still active and operational, and some of these buildings stand testament to the rich nautical history of the Great Lakes State.
Visit a Lake Huron Lighthouse
Indoor tours of these lighthouses of Lake Huron, as well as some beautiful scenery surrounding these beautiful structures, make a perfect destination for a family fun day, a solos trip or a Michigan road trip.
We’re sharing some of the most picturesque Lake Huron lighthouses, as well as an interactive map to help you plan your visit. You can scroll to the bottom to find the map.
Read on to discover more about the lovely lighthouses of Lake Huron.
Michigan Lighthouse Keeper Program
Several lighthouses in Michigan offer the opportunity to stay overnight in a lighthouse and be a volunteer lighthouse keeper.
The Lighthouse Keeper Programs are operated by each lighthouse independently and vary in their fees and requirements.
Some of these programs are free and some require a fee. We note which of the lighthouses below are part of the program and provide informational links when able.
We recommend that you check with each lighthouse individually to find more information about each program.
Lake Huron Lighthouses in Northern Michigan
Mackinac Point Lighthouse
526 N Huron Ave, Mackinaw City, MI 49701
This Mackinac Island Lighthouse was built in 1892 and marks Mackinaw Point, the spot where Lake Michigan and Lake Huron meet. Located within Michilimackinac State Park, this 49’ limestone lighthouses have guided shops through the Straits of Mackinac for almost 130 years.
Both the lighthouse tower and original buildings have been restored and are open for daily tours in season. If you visit, be sure and explore the grounds and exhibits, the demonstration of the Fog Signal Whistle (which happens multiple times a day) and the film detailing the history of the lighthouse, “Shipwrecks of the Straits,” is really enjoyable for all ages.
While you’re in the area, check out the rest of what Mackinac Island has to offer such as the state park, which offers everything from trails to walk to other historic sites and monuments.
Curious about the Native American cultural background of the land? Enjoy the Native American Cultural History Trail.
Be sure and use our guide to the best places to stay on Mackinac Island to plan your visit.
DeTour Reef Lighthouse
Light House Rd, DeTour Village, MI 49725
Located a mile offshore in northern Lake Huron, this exceptional lighthouse built on a crib is the perfect lighthouse touring destination for families with and without kids.
An active navigation aid, the 83-foot tall DeTour Reef Light guides traffic to and from Lake Superior and Lake Huron via the St. Mary’s River. Sitting in 23’ feet of water, the crib-style concrete structure is 20-feet high with a 60-feet square base, and supports a white, Classical Revival-style square building.
This historic lighthouse is open for tours, and it’s well worth the price to take a ferry from Drummond Island out to the lighthouses, where you can strap into a safety harness and climb the tower.
There’s nothing quite like looking out at Lake Huron from atop the tower where you can Michigan AND Canada!
You can also book an overnight stay here through the Lighthouse Keepers Program, find more information here.
PRO-TIP: There’s so much to see in this area, use our guide to the eastern Upper Peninsula to discover more.
Round Island Lighthouse
Mackinac Island, MI 49757
You’ve seen this lighthouse before: in photographs; on postcards and calendars; on television and in the movies. The iconic red and white Round Island lighthouse is familiar to anyone who has ridden the Mackinac Island ferry: you pass right by on your way to docks.
Located on the west shore of the 378-acre Round Island, in the shipping lanes of the Straits of Mackinac, the lighthouse stands three stories tall with a three-story keepers quarters attached. Built in 1895, the lighthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and was featured in the movie “Somewhere in Time.”
The Round Island Lighthouse has endured some of the fiercest storms on the Great Lakes, with high winds and winter ice flows that resemble glaciers.
During a severe storm on October 20, 1972, the southwest corner of the lighthouse was destroyed, and work has been underway to restore the light ever since. Tours of Round Island have been postponed until further notice, so be content with watching it from the water as you pass by on your next ferry ride to Mackinac Island.
Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse
Bois Blanc Island, MI 49775
This unique light is located on Bois Blanc Island near Mackinac Island is privately owner and has been restored. It is not open to the public; however, you can see it quite clearly from a boat on the lake.
Cheboygan Crib Light (Cheboygan River Front Range Lighthouse)
606 Water Street, Cheboygan, MI 49721
This uniquely shaped lighthouse built in 1880 and restored in 2004 is one of the more unique lighthouses of the area. With its square build and bright red accents, the Cheboygan River Front Range Light is open to the public, from Memorial Day to Labor Day on weekends.
The tours, as well as any repairs made, are all part of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers association, made up of the majority of volunteers, wanting to give back to the community and want to preserve these amazing historical landmarks.
Interested in entering and seeing the historic Cheboygan Crib Light, too? They have opportunities to do so if you volunteer.
Poe Reef Lighthouse
Huron Shores Roadside Park, US. 23, Cheboygan, MI 49721
Built in 1928 to guide ships through a dangerous passage, this 71-foot tall white-and-black square tower sits on Poe Reef off the coast of Cheboygan. The only way to truly see this light up close and personal is in a private boat, as the crib is closed to visitors.
40 Mile Point Lighthouse
County Park Rd, Rogers City, MI 49779
Positioned on the Northern Shoreline of Lake Huron, the Forty Mile Point Lighthouse is located in Presque Isle County’s Lighthouse Park.
This is a unique lighthouse because it is not located at the mouth of a river or in a harbor: it is located at a point 40 miles south of Mackinac.
While the park this picturesque lighthouse is open year-round from 8 am to sunset, most of the tour programs, as well as museums, are open from Memorial Day through mid-October, so do plan accordingly. It’s one of the rare lighthouses that remain open to the public during the winter months, and it’s quite beautiful in snowy weather.
Feel like giving back while you are in the area? Think about volunteering to be a lighthouse keeper. You’ll have jobs such as informing visitors of the area’s history, as well as general upkeep of the property such as painting, fixing broken things, and much more.
You can also book an overnight stay here through the Lighthouse Keepers Program, find information here.
Old Presque Isle Lighthouse
5295 E Grand Lake Rd, Presque Isle, MI 49777
As far as dreamy, romantic lighthouses go, this is one for the books. Set on a remote point along the shores of Presque Isle Harbor, this beautiful lighthouse is a Michigan-must.
Built in 1840, the pretty lighthouse is one of the oldest in Michigan and is said to be haunted.
The lighthouse is no longer operational but serves as a museum, and tours are available.
If you visit, bring your camera and plan to spend some time exploring the grounds and gift shops.
Plan on ringing the giant bell on grounds (it once hung in the clock tower of Old City Hall at Lansing, Michigan’s capital). Weighing in at 3500 pounds, the bell is bigger than the Liberty Bell in Philadelphia!
Yes, the lighthouse is open for tours daily from Memorial Day to mid-October.
New Presque Isle Lighthouse
4500 E Grand Lake Rd, Presque Isle, MI 49777
At 108′, this is one of the tallest lighthouses in Michigan, it’s the tallest lighthouse tower accessible by the public on the Great Lakes. It was built in 1870 and has been completely restored; visitors can explore the spacious grounds and climb the 130 steps to the top from memorial day through Labor Day.
Middle Island Lighthouse
Alpena, MI 49707
Located 10 miles offshore, on an Alpena island exactly between Thunder Bay Island and Presque Isle Harbor in Lake Huron, the Middle Island Light is a Michigan must-see.
Standing 78’ feet above the water the light from this structure can be seen for more than 17 miles and is about 15-minute boat ride from Rockport Harbor, a sprawling abandoned limestone quarry in Alpena.
Built in 1905, the lighthouse is owned by the Coast Guard, but the grounds surrounding the lighthouse (and the entire island for that matter) are privately owned, and include a two-story, red brick keeper’s duplex and a fog signal building — converted into a 10-bed lodge.
Tours of the island are currently suspended but watch here for updates and maybe you’ll have the opportunity to visit this remote island on an overnight trip.
Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse
Alpena County, MI
One of Michigan’s oldest running lighthouses, this historic structure was built in 1832, using all locally sourced limestone. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is adjacent to the Thunder Bay National Marine Sanctuary and Underwater Preserve.
Located 13 miles offshore from Alpena, on 215-acre Thunder Bay Island, Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse is still operational. Tours are not offered, so the best way to see this lighthouse is by boat.
Sturgeon Point Lighthouse
6071 Point Rd, Harrisville, MI 48740
The Sturgeon Point Lighthouse and the surrounding grounds are one of the best-kept secrets in Michigan. Located just north of Harrisville, a tiny harbor town that’s big on charm, the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse is worth a road trip.
The sprawling grounds include the still-operational Cape Cod-style lighthouse, a gift shop and the Old Bailey Schoolhouse, an restored one-room schoolhouse. You’ll also find other artifacts from shipwrecks in the area and detailed signage that shares information about tragic Lake Huron shipwrecks both here and in other spots along the lake.
Still maintained by the US Coast Guard the Sturgeon Point Lighthouse grounds are open all year round for visitors and the Keepers house now turned into a Maritime Museum from Labor Day through September.
Be sure and tour this classically styled lighthouse, equipped with Paris, France-made Lens. Standing 70 feet and 9 inches tall, the ground of this beautifully kept lighthouse is perfect for a summer day picnic with a loved one or the family.
Plan to spend some time exploring Harrisville, Greenbush and Oscoda when you visit; you’ll find some of the nicest beaches in the state along these shores.
Tawas Point Lighthouse
686 Tawas Beach Road, East Tawas, MI 48730
A birdwatcher must-see destination in Michigan, Tawas Point lighthouse has been in commission since 1876. Located in Tawas State Park in the resort town of East Tawas, the Tawas Point Lighthouse sits on a tiny spit of land that juts out into Lake Huron, surrounded by sandy beaches – perfect for splashing and swimming.
The Tawas Point Lighthouse serves as the sole representative of a true Victorian-era style station on the Great Lakes, and a very active group of volunteers keep tours and outdoor activities running smoothly.
When you visit the grounds of the lighthouse, you’ll find a keeper’s house and tower, as well as a gift shop.
The grounds are perfect for romantic sunsets over Tawas Bay as well as sunrises over Lake Huron.
You can also book an overnight stay here through the Lighthouse Keepers Program, you can find information here.
More Lake Huron Lighthouses
Fort Gratiot Lighthouse
2802 Omar St, Port Huron, MI 48060
Built in 1814 to keep watch over the conjunction of the St. Clair River and Lake Huron, the Fort Gratiot Lighthouse is the oldest lighthouse in all of Michigan.
Although Fort Gratiot is the oldest Lighthouse, it is also one of the only Lighthouses that still allow you to climb all the way to the tippy top, and the view once you’re up there is none other than a view of Port Huron and the international Blue Water Bridge to Canada.
This is one of the best options for a family road trip from the Detroit area. While you’re in Port Huron, don’t miss the Huron Lightship museum.
You might also consider taking a short ride north along the Lake Huron shoreline to the charming Michigan beach town of Lexington.
Harbor Beach Lighthouse
1 Ritchie Dr, Harbor Beach, MI 48441
Photos are welcome at this lighthouse and even encouraged during your tour of this famous and award-winning Michigan landmark. Take a boat ride around and down the break wall and learn all about the history of this harbor light and even tour the lighthouse itself and learn from volunteers all about the life of a lighthouse keeper.
Harbor Beach is the largest man-made, freshwater harbor in the world, and is very picturesque.
Port Sanilac Lighthouse
81 S Lake St, Port Sanilac, MI 48469
Built in 1886, this pretty lighthouse stand almost 60 feet tall, and the Port Sanilac Light is still operational.
Although privately owned now they do offer tours of the property a few days a year, and it is encouraged that you visit the area from outside the fence throughout the rest of the year.
A virtual tour can also be viewed on their website here.
Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse
7320 Lighthouse Rd, Port Hope, MI 48468
Ranked one of the ten oldest lighthouses in Michigan, the Aux Barques Lighthouse is still remotely operated by the US coast guard to this day.
The lighthouse was built 1848 and translates from the French to “Point of the Little Boats.”
This historic lighthouse is located nearly at the very tip of Michigan’s thumb and looks out on the whole of Lake Huron and takes part in active aids to navigation.
Don’t miss the yearly Heritage festival at this stunning Michigan Lighthouse on Port Hope. The festival offers music, refreshments, tours up the tower, and much more fun for the entire family.
Port Austin Reef Lighthouse
Port Austin, MI 48467
Nicknamed the castle on the lake, the Port Austin Reef Lighthouse is located about 1.5 miles offshore from Port Austin. The lighthouse is open to tourists in the summer from Labor Day to Memorial Day and is accessible by boat.
Charity Island Lighthouse
Big Charity Island, Au Gres, MI
The Charity Island Lighthouse is located 10 miles off the coast of Caseville in Saginaw Bay.
Enjoy a boat ride to the island, immediately following that boat ride is a short walk through a gorgeous forest to the lighthouse.
The island itself is home to not only a stunning lighthouse but a rentable lighthouse keeper house, an archaeological site, bald eagles, and rare shoreline plants.
Visiting on a date with a loved one? The island offers a lovely dinner cruise complete with beer and wine purchases. They also offer cruises for bird watchers in the spring as the island is home to many species of birds.
You can find more about visiting Charity Island here.
Saginaw River Rear Range Light
Bay City, Michigan
A historic landmark, this river range light is where the invention of range lights happened. It has since been turned into the private property of a chemical company so your only way to view this historical plot of land is from the opposite side of the Saginaw River.
Other Interesting Lighthouses Worth Checking Out
Spectacle Reef Lighthouse
Not yet open for tours or visitors, however, they are working hard at restoring it so it can be a Living museum and learning center.
Isle Royale (Menagerie Island) Lighthouse
Visit Isle Royale and make your way to this Lake Superior lighthouse.
Chantry Island Lighthouse
This Ontario Lighthouse is located off the coast of Southampton, Ontario.
Georgian Bay Lighthouses
Be sure and check out these lighthouses, located on Lake Huron’s Georgian Bay: Janet Head, Cabot Head, Cape Croker, Snug Harbour
St. Helena Island Lighthouse
Located near Cheboygan, Michigan.
More Michigan Lighthouses to See
About the Author –
Charlotte Dennison is a content creation intern at My Michigan Beach. She grew up in Vermont and has summertime family ties to the great state of Michigan in both Ann Arbor and Lake Hamlin. In addition to content creation, she spends her time studying writing, editing, and publishing at Emmanuel College in Boston. Writing has been her dream since the start of high school, and she hopes to turn content creating into a life-long career. Charlotte is jazzed to be interning at MyMichiganBeach.com. Outside of writing Charlotte enjoys curling up with a Stephen King novel and her cat on rainy city days.