A Brief Michigan Exposures Guide to Michigan Lighthouses - Part II
The next part of the tour brings us back down to the Lower Peninsula. Like I said in the previous post, there are several lighthouses in the Upper Peninsula that I haven't been to. From the pictures I've seen, they are quite beautiful.
For our next lighthouse, head west from Mackinaw City on the main drag. This will lead you to a north-south road. Turn right on that road and you will reach the McGulpin Point Lighthouse. This one was fairly recently restored (in fact, I may even remember it without the tower). Now it is open for tours and provides a pretty nice view of the Bridge from the tower.
I don't remember exactly how to get to it from Mackinaw City, but find your way to M-119. This is pretty much a requisite if you're going to tour the state of Michigan because it is one of the more beautiful drives in the state. If you take this drive during the summer, you have to stop for lunch or dinner at Leg's Inn. It is an old Polish Restaurant and provides a pretty good view of Lake Michigan. While you are going this way, you will eventually find your way to Charlevoix and this lighthouse.
Continuing along Lake Michigan will eventually get you to Traverse City. If you continue on that main drag along the Grand Traverse Bay and work your way to M-37, you will find your way to the Little (I forget what it is called) Peninsual and Mission Point pictured above. While you are driving along this way, stop at some of the wineries and get some Michigan wine.
Get on M-22 and then continue up the Leelanau Peninsula until you reach the Grand Traverse Lighthouse.
Get back on M-22 to work your way to Sleeping Bear Dunes. If you look across Lake Michigan towards the islands, you might catch a glimpse of the South Manitou Island lighthouse.
If you look north of the Island, you might catch a glimpse of the Reef Lighthouse.
Continuing south on M-22 will lead you to the Point Betsie Lighthouse. This one is probably my favorite in the state. It's a fairly popular lighthouse but parking is kind of sparse.
If you stay on M-22, you will eventually get to Frankfort where you will see the Frankfort Lighthouse.
After you leave Frankfort, stay on M-22 and continue south until you reach Manistee. This lighthouse is in need of repair.
The Big Sable Lighthouse is just north of Ludington and is in the Lake Michigan Recreation Area. Unless you have a handicap sticker, this is a bit of a hike to reach.
Head back into Ludington to see the Ludington Lighthouse. If you are lucky, you may end up seeing the Badger stirring about. While you are in Ludington, be sure to find your way to Bortell's Fisheries for a really good fish dinner.
Heading south on US-31 will eventually lead you to Pentwater where the Little Sable Lighthouse is. This is another example of a Poe Lighthouse.
Get back on US-31 and head south until you reach Whitehall. Taking the road past town will lead you to this lighthouse.
Continuing south on US-31 will lead you into Muskegon. Go through Muskegon until you reach Pere Marquette Park. There you will see this lighthouse. While you are in Muskegon be sure to visit the LST and USS Silversides which is an old World War II submarine. You can also catch a glimpse of the Paul Townsend which is a pretty neat looking ship (although it serves as cement storage now).
South of Muskegon is Grand Haven. Take the road into town because this will take you past an old steam engine. Continue through town until you reach Grand Haven State Park. There you will be able to see the Grand Haven Lighthouse.
Continuing south on US-31 will lead you to Holland. If you want a close up view of the Holland Lighthouse, you have to go through a condominium development. If you don't want to bother with that, I think there is a park across the river where you can see the lighthouse.
Further south of Holland is South Haven where you will catch the above lighthouse.
The last (or first depending on viewpoint) is the St. Joseph Lighthouse. I think this one is probably one of the more photographed lighthouses in the state. It gets quite windy on the west side of the state and the waves get pretty high which means this lighthouse is covered in ice eventually. It's a pretty neat lighthouse to see in the summer as well but it will cost you $5 to park there (or more if you ignore the warnings).