Public Tours of the St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouses will be offered Memorial Day through Labor Day in 2018, organized by the Heritage Museum & Cultural Center. Following the major restoration completed in 2016, St. Joseph now has the only lighthouses located on a Lake Michigan pier which are regularly open to the public. The North Pier range lighthouses, along with their preserved “catwalks” or elevated walkways, are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Do you know why the current lights were built of steel in 1907? Or why there are two lighthouses on the pier instead of one? Visit to learn more as a new interpretive exhibition debuts inside the lighthouse this season. Explore historic photos, maps, and reproductions. Catch a photo-opportunity with St. Joseph’s longtime Lighthouse Keeper, Captain Ollhoff! This exhibit on the pier was made possible by a grant from the Michigan Humanities Council, an affiliate of the National Endowment for the Humanities, a grant from the Berrien Community Foundation and a gift from Entergy – Palisades Power Plant.
2018 Schedule of St. Joe Lighthouse Tours
“The St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouses are iconic, beloved in our community, and known around the region– but stepping inside gives you an incredible new perspective,” said Lighthouse Tour Manager Alex Milnikel. “Our visitors can literally walk in the footsteps of the lighthouse keepers, up the spiral stairs and ladder, all the way up to the lantern deck for an incredible view of the lake and harbor.”
The most comprehensive way to experience the lighthouse is to attend an hour-long guided walking tour of the North Pier, which culminates in an optional climb up to the lantern room inside the Inner Lighthouse. North Pier Walking Tours are scheduled for every Friday and Saturday, June 1 through September 1, departing from the beach at 10:00am. To register, please purchase your tickets online at StJoeLighthouseTours.org or call the Heritage Museum at (269) 983-1191. (Anyone climbing the tower must be the minimum height of 48 inches tall.)
Following the Friday and Saturday Walking Tours, free Open Hours are scheduled at the Inner Lighthouse & Fog Signal Building from 11:00am to 2:00pm. Volunteer guides and the new exhibit will help connect visitors to the Keepers who once maintained the lights and the many vessels who relied on them to safely make port.
Between Memorial Day and Labor Day 2018
Every Friday and Saturday (June 1 through September 1):
North Pier Walking Tour leaves from Tiscornia Beach at 10:00am
- $10 Adult Ticket. $5 Child Ticket. Reservations recommended.
(Purchase Tickets at StJoeLighthouseTours.org or call 269-983-1191.)
- On this hour-long walking tour, trek the length of the North Pier with a guide, covering 180 years of lighthouse history. Includes climb to the lantern room of the Inner Light for a bird’s-eye view!
Inner Lighthouse Open Hours 11:00am-2:00pm
- First floor open to public visitors, free of charge.
- Tickets to climb upstairs for Lantern Tour: $5
(Pay by cash or card, first-come/ first-served)
- Explore the Inner Lighthouse at your own pace and learn about the Twin Cities’ rich maritime heritage! Tower Climb Tickets are sold on the first level of the lighthouse.
2018 Select Days with Special Open Hours:
- Thursday, June 21, Open 7:00-10:00pm (Solstice Sunset)
- Friday, July 13, Open 7:00-10:00pm (Krasl Art Fair Weekend Sunset)
- Sunday, September 2, Open 8:00-11:00am (Tri-State Regatta)
Private lighthouse tours are also available to groups for a non-refundable fee of $350. The Heritage Museum also offers speakers for short beach programs or PowerPoint presentations on the history of St. Joseph’s Lighthouses for $150. For more information, please call the Heritage Museum or e-mail StJoeLighthouseTours@theheritagemcc.org.
Important St. Joe Lighthouse Tour Information
Safety Notice: If the weather or lake conditions become hazardous, scheduled tours and open hours may be canceled for safety reasons. Signage at Tiscornia Park will display the status of the current day’s Lighthouse Tours; please be advised that cancellation decisions typically occur at the last minute. Thank you for your understanding!
Parking at Tiscornia Park: The daily parking fee set by the City of St. Joseph is not included in the tour price. Please pay by cash or card at the parking lot’s self-serve kiosk.
Liability Release: All walking tour participants or the parent/guardian of minor participants will be required to sign a general liability waiver prior to the tour. The North Pier has many uneven walking surfaces and is subject to weather conditions including waves. There is a tall ladder and spiral stairs for those wishing to climb up to the lantern.
Ladder Height/Age Requirement: Height of 48 inches is required to climb the ladder up to the lantern. Adults who are responsible for youth under age 18 should use their knowledge of the young person’s ability to climb and descend the ladder alone, to determine if the youth should be allowed to ascend.
Recommended Attire: Comfortable closed-toe walking shoes are strongly recommended. No thong-type sandals will be allowed on the ladder. Please dress for the weather; tours may be held in the rain. Sunscreen and sunglasses are advised; skirts and dresses are not advised.
Refund Policy: If your pre-paid walking tour is canceled due to conditions, please contact the Heritage Museum to reschedule your tour or request a refund. Contact the Heritage Museum at (269) 983-1191 or StJoeLighthouseTours@theheritagemcc.org.
For More Information
For more information, please visit StJoeLighthouseTours.org. Follow our Facebook Page St. Joe Lighthouse Tours to connect with lighthouse information, event reminders, and updates about the current weather and status of scheduled tours and open hours. Contact us at the Heritage Museum by phone, (269) 983-1191, or by e-mail at StJoeLighthouseTours@theheritagemcc.org.