National Lighthouse Day August 7, 2017


National Lighthouse Day is August 7, and Michigan boasts more lighthouses than any other state! According to the Michigan Lighthouse Guide, there are 129 lighthouses in the Great Lakes State.

For a quick lighthouse trip, plan for either of the two closest to Flint: Port Sanilac Light or Grosse Ile North Channel Front Range Light. Both are about an hour and 40 minutes away, and have very different stories to tell.

Established in 1886, Port Sanilac Light is still an active aid for navigation, as well as a private residence for the lighthouse keeper. Grosse Ile Township is situated on several islands in the Detroit River, the largest of which is referred to as Grosse Ile. Grosse Ile North Channel Front Range Light was built in 1906 and decommissioned in 1963; it’s open for public tours by reservation.

For the explorer wanting a longer trip, Michigan’s two tallest lighthouses are located above the Upper Peninsula, including the Rock of Ages Light in Isle Royale. First lit in 1910 and standing 117 feet high, it holds the title of the tallest lighthouse tower in Michigan and 28th in the nation. It remains an active navigation aid with a range of 15 nautical miles, preventing wrecks in an area difficult to cross before its construction. Rock of Ages is available to view by boat. Or, if staying on the Lower Peninsula, cross the state to Big Sable Point near Ludington. The historical marker on the lighthouse reads, “Big Sable Point was an important landmark for mariners traveling a treacherous stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline … In 1855, twelve ships wrecked in that area.” The Big Sable Point Light is one of the few in Michigan with a tower reaching 100 feet. Completed in 1867, its tower measured 112 feet high. The keeper’s dwelling was enlarged over the years into the present three-family residence.

Big Sable Lighthouse is currently open to the public every day through November 4, 2017 from 10am to 5pm. Guests can climb the tower or visit the gift shop located in what was once the keeper’s quarters.

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