Iconic Point Betsie Lighthouse is Benzie County’s most revered historic attraction. Originally built in 1858, the lighthouse was expanded in 1894 and last renovated in 1944. Ownership of the buildings and property was transferred to Benzie County in 2004 and the four historic buildings have been completely restored. A new building, housing the Gift Shop, Public Restrooms, and a Museum focusing on the Life Saving Service function, was added in 2014.
Located on the western most point of Lake Michigan’s eastern shore near Frankfort, Point Betsie was originally known as Point aux Bec Scies or sawed beak point which was named by the French after a common duck in the area in the 1850’s. Long touted as one of the most picturesque lighthouses in the State, Point Betsie, with still an active light, is surrounded by spectacular views of the Manitou Islands, Sleeping Bear Dunes, and rolling dunes along the shoreline.
The Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse operate and manage the daily activities and upkeep of the buildings and property for the County. The Lighthouse and facilities are open to the public this year from the start of Memorial Weekend on May 25 th to October 27 th . The Lighthouse is open five days a week until June 19 th when Wednesdays are added to the schedule. It is closed all Tuesdays. After Labor
Day the schedule goes back to five days dropping Wednesday. The hours are from 10 to 5 every open day except Sunday when it is 12 – 5.
On display in the Lighthouse is the original 4 th Order Fresnel lens that was operating at Point Betsie for over 100 years to assist mariners. Also displayed are artifacts depicting the life and work of the Lighthouse Keepers, pictures of the Lighthouse throughout the years, and a room dedicated to the Nature Conservancy and the fragile dune ecology of the area. In the Museum part of the new building are original artifacts from the Life Saving Service, paintings depicting the rescue of the crew of the St.
Lawrence Steamer in 1898, and one wall consisting of a color mural of a 1907 panoramic picture of the Lighthouse and Life Saving Services buildings and activities ashore from the vantage point of the lake. The well-stocked Gift Shop is full of distinct Point Betsie memorabilia.
Point Betsie is a must visit. For more information check out our website at www.pointbetsie.org or call 231 352-7644.