There are over 50 different lighthouses to be found along Michigan‘s Upper Peninsula, with the majority of them having been built in the mid 1800’s. For those who want to experience this unique slice of history, a lighthouse tour is one of the best ways to do this.
Fort Gratiot Lighthouse, Port Huron
The Fort Gratiot Lighthouse was actually the very first to be built in Michigan, making this the perfect place to begin your tour. This lighthouse was built in 1825, 11 years after the construction of the fort was completed, and while it has been closed to the public for quite a few decades, it is now run by the Port Huron Museum and is open for tours.
Huron Lightship, Port Huron
Also at Port Huron is the Huron Lightship, which was built in 1920 and operated until 1970, making it the last operating lightship on the lakes. The ship is now a museum, and would make for the ideal stop on your lighthouse tour.
Pt. Aux Barques Lighthouse
Located near the town of Port Hope, the Pt. Aux Barques Lighthouse should be the next stop on your lighthouse tour, as this is a very significant structure that first began running in 1848. This is another lighthouse that is open for tours, which are well worth taking in order to really appreciate the magnificent restoration work that has gone on here.
Just a short distance north of Port Huron is Port Sanilac, whose lighthouse first became operational in 1886. This lighthouse is now privately owned, meaning that while tours within it are not available, there are still some fantastic views of the light to be had from the road.
Harbor Beach Lighthouse
Since you are now just a short distance from Harbor Beach, this is the perfect opportunity to take a boat tour to explore the iconic Harbor Beach Lighthouse. The boat is a 31 foot Cherokee, and leaves the Harbor Beach Marina every 20 minutes, taking you to the lighthouse where you will be shown around by an experienced guide, learning about everything from the breakwall to the history of the lighthouse. This is one spot where you will definitely want to bring your camera, as the 360 degree view from the top of the lighthouse is simply breathtaking.
Port Austin Reef
The Port Austin Reef lighthouse is another lighthouse that is only accessible by boat, and is one that has undergone thousands of dollars worth of renovation. This lighthouse began operating in 1899, and was constructed in order to mark a particularly rocky patch at an important turning point. Boat tours are only available during the summer months on Saturday afternoons, so a visit to this lighthouse would need to be planned out in advance.
For those of you who really want to make the most of exploring the lighthouses of the Upper Peninsula, the US Lighthouse Society Lighthouse Passport Program and Club may be perfect for you. This enables you to properly record each of your lighthouse visits, and gain a level of recognition for each accomplishment that you make.