Many times when you think of lighthouses you think of east or west coast, but we have many lighthouses right here in the Midwest. Michigan is home to more than 20 lighthouses. Some are privately owned, with viewing only from the waters. Other lighthouses are open to the public and a few even have tours. Now, you can hop in your car and take a road trip to Michigan to see a lighthouse in person. Here are just a few of the lighthouses that you can step inside and see for yourself.
Big Red Lighthouse
Big Red Lighthouse is located in Holland, Michigan inside Holland State Park. You can walk along the boardwalk for the best view of Big Red. You can also view Big Red from Mt. Pisgah. There is a dune staircase which takes you 157 feet above sea level for a spectacular view. Big Red is a three-story square tower building- topped with a gray-shingled roof. The twin-gabled structure reflects the Dutch influence in the area.
Twice a year, the Coast Guard inspects the facility and maintains the light. The light can be seen for up to 20 miles. The use of the fog signal has been discontinued. You can see the original lens at the Holland Museum.
Tawas Point Lighthouse
Tawas Point Lighthouse is located in East Tawas in Tawas Pointe State Park. The lighthouse first became operational in 1876 and is still in use today. This lighthouse is often a destination for bird watchers as it’s set in the bluffs with a breathtaking view. It is open seasonally for tours. Since it is inside Tawas Pointe State Park you will need a park pass to visit the lighthouse.
Admission for guided tours of the lighthouse is $5 for adults and $2 for children ages 5 to 17; Children ages 4 or younger admitted free. Admission for self-guided tours (limited availability; see schedule below) is $2 for all visitors ages 5 or older; children 4 or younger admitted free. Tickets are available at the Museum Store. When the store is closed, tours are by donation, as noted below. Proceeds help fund the restoration of and exhibits for the lighthouse and lighthouse keeper’s quarters.
Grand Haven State Park
While you won’t find a specific lighthouse to visit at Grand Haven State Park you will be able to see the Grandhaven pier and lighthouse. This 48-acre state park is known for its sandy shore on Lake Michigan. The park is nearly all beach with scenic views of Lake Michigan and the Grand Haven pier and lighthouse. There is also a playground and fishing pier to enjoy while you are there.
While there are many lighthouses in Michigan there are not many you can actually go inside and explore. But they sure are beautiful to look at.