Lighthouse Map + Circle Tour

Lake Michigan Lighthouse Map & Circle Tour

View the Circle Tour Driving Route

Download or View the Lake Michigan Lighthouse Map & Circle Tour online (PDF)

Get More Lake Michigan Lighthouse Information

 

Circling Lake Michigan

Vacationers have been looping the lake for generations, but the official “Lake Michigan Circle Tour” route was not established until the 1980s when the Michigan Department of Transportation teamed up with West Michigan Tourist Association (WMTA) to create the route and its official guidebook. Along the way, find more than 100 lighthouses, countless islands, unique attractions, parks and natural areas, miles of glorious beaches, quaint harbor towns, an internationally-recognized urban center, and one “modern marvel” – the Mackinac Bridge.

While a loosely-organized “circle route” around Lake Superior was promoted by local tourist organizations as early as the 1960s, the first official (and signed) Great Lakes Circle Tour was the Lake Michigan Circle Tour. The only single-nation Circle Tour (Lake Michigan being the only Great Lake completely within the US), the Lake Michigan Circle Tour also has the most mileage of any Circle Tour in the state.

Working in conjunction with the Michigan Department of Transportation, the West Michigan Tourist Association helped to make the first of the official Great Lakes Circle Tours a reality and the first publication was released in 1988 as a 52-page guide book. The guide book was transformed into a map in 2007, and the route can now be found online at Lake Michigan Circle Tour: Lighthouse Driving Itinerary.

Featured Lighthouses

Click on any of the below to learn more about this year’s featured lighthouses

North Point Lighthouse & Museum, Milwaukee

 

St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouses

Year Built: 1907
Height: 57’4″
Tours: Yes
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 42°06’58.0″N 86°29’36.0″W
Website: StJoeLighthouseTours.org
Did You Know? The smokestack exhausted the steam-powered fog signal and was removed in the mid-1940s as technology changed. It was then replicated and replaced during the major restoration project in 2016.

 

South Haven South Pierhead Light

Year Built: 1903
Height: 35′
Tours: No
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 42°24’04.9″N 86°17’16.8″W
Website: SouthHavenLight.org
Did You Know? In 2016, more than $300,000 was spent to restore the lighthouse, ensuring the enjoyment of future visitors. Workers removed roughly 10 coats of paint, made repairs, and re-painted it with about 52 gallons of its signature red paint.

 

Holland Harbor Lighthouse

Year Built: 1872
Height: 32′
Tours: No
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 42°46’21.7″N 86°12’44.7″W
Website: BigRedLighthouse.com
Did You Know? The first lighthouse keeper was Melgert van Regenmorter, appointed to service in 1870, at an annual salary of $540. He served until just prior to the steam fog signal going into operation. It is said that he wanted no part of the new technology.

 

Muskegon South Pierhead Light

Year Built: 1903
Height: 48′
Tours: Yes
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 43°13’36.0″N 86°20’28.5″W
Website: MuskegonLights.org
Did You Know? In order to save money, the US Lighthouse service placed the original 1870s lighthouse top onto the new tower when constructed in 1903. So, depending on where you’re standing within the tower, its age varies between 115-147 years old.

 

White River Light Station

Year Built: 1875
Height: 35′
Tours: Yes
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 43°22’29.3″N 86°25’27.5″W
Website: SPLKA.org
Did You Know? Captain William Robinson was the very first keeper from 1875-1919, and he passed away the day before he was scheduled to depart and retire. The lighthouse is now a maritime museum with many local artifacts and interesting exhibits.

 

Little Sable Point Lighthouse

Year Built: 1874
Height: 115′
Tours: Yes
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 43°39’05.0″N 86°32’22.6″W
Website: SPLKA.org
Did You Know? Little Sable Point Lighthouse still has its original third order Fresnel lens installed in the tower, making it one of the very few lighthouses on Lake Michigan to be able to showcase its original lens.

 

Big Sable Point Lighthouse

Year Built: 1867
Height: 112′
Tours: Yes
Stay at the light? Yes
GPS Coordinates: 44°03’27.5″N 86°30’52.1″W
Website: SPLKA.org
Did You Know? The Big Sable Tower was built of Milwaukee cream brick, which was so soft that the tower began deteriorating from the sand which blew against it. In 1900 the tower was encased in steel plates and painted its trademark black and white.

 

Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse

Year Built: 1927
Height: 38′
Tours: No
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 44°15’05.8″N 86°20’47.7″W
Website: VisitManisteeCounty.com
Did You Know? The top of the tower of Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse was originally located on a lighthouse in Chicago, and was brought to Manistee in 1927. The lighthouse will open for tours July 6, 2019.

 

Point Betsie Lighthouse

Year Built: 1858
Height: 37′
Tours: Yes
Stay at the light? Yes
GPS Coordinates: 44°41’28.7″N 86°15’19.1″W
Website: PointBetsie.org
Did You Know? A unique headstone is located on the property.

 

Robert H. Manning Memorial Light

Year Built: 1990
Height: 38′
Tours: No
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 44°48’51.372″N 86°4’2.532″W
Did You Know? As an avid offshore fisherman, Robert Manning frequently returned from his boat trips after dark. He often wished there was a lighthouse in the area to aid in navigation. After his death in 1989, his relatives and friends raised funds to build this memorial lighthouse in Manning’s memory.

 

South Manitou Island Lighthouse

Year Built: 1840
Height: 65′
Tours: Yes
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 45°00’27.18″N 86°5’38.292″W
Did You Know? This lighthouse was deactivated in 1958 & stood neglected until it was incorporated into Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore in 1970. Park rangers provide tours of the tower to some of the 9,000 people who take the ferryboat to the island each summer.

 

Mission Point Lighthouse

Year Built: 1870
Height: 36′
Tours: Yes
Stay at the light? Yes
GPS Coordinates: 44°59’28.7″N 85°28’46.2″W
Website: MissionPointLighthouse.com
Did You Know? Every winter the park is visited by a snowy owl. Visit the Mission Point Lighthouse website to find more details about their popular Lighthouse Keeper program, and to fill out your application (ages 18 & up only).

 

Charlevoix South Pier Lighthouse

Year Built: 1948
Height: 41′
Tours: No
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 45°19’12.8″N 85°15’53.7″W
Website: VisitCharlevoix.com
Did You Know? The lighthouse is owned by the City of Charlevoix and maintained and preserved by the Charlevoix Historical Society, while the United States Coast Guard is responsible for the operation of the light itself.

 

Paradise Bay Harbor Light

Year Built: 1856
Height: 41′
Tours: No
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 45°34’35.0″N 85°34’21.0″W
Website: BeaverIsland.org
Did You Know? The light tower has been completely restored, and plans call for recreating the keepers’ quarters. The original fourth order Fresnel lens is on permanent display across the street from the light.

 

Squaw Island Lighthouse

Year Built: 1892
Height: 48′
Tours: No
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 45°50’21.48″N 85°35’16.8″W
Did You Know? Squaw Island and the lighthouse are privately owned. As vegetation limits views from the water, Squaw Island Lighthouse is best seen from the air. During the 36 years it was staffed, Squaw Island Lighthouse only had two head keepers: William Shields and Owen McCauley.

 

Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse

Year Built: 1867
Height: 38′
Tours: No
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 45°48’39.96″N 84°25’14.88″W
Did You Know? The original 1829 circular sixty-five-foot-tall stone tower collapsed in a 1837 storm when water rose above its base. The lighthouse was rebuilt further inland in 1839. Eventually this structure also became dilapidated, and the current lighthouse was constructed in 1867.

 

Round Island Light

Year Built: 1895
Height: 51′
Tours: No
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 45°50’13.848″N 84°36’59.904″W
Did You Know? During a severe storm on October 20, 1972, the lower potion of the southwest corner of the lighthouse was torn away. The light’s historical marker is located at Biddle Point on Mackinac Island, where you can easily view Round Island and the light.

 

Point Iroquois Light Station

Year Built: 1870
Height: 65′
Tours: Yes
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 46°29’03.9″N 84°37’49.5″W
Website: bit.ly/PointIroquoisLighthouse
Did You Know? Visitors are welcome to climb to the top of the tower to
enjoy the panoramic view, tour the interpretive museum that tells the story of the lighthouse and its keepers, and walk the grounds, which include a spectacular beach and boardwalk.

 

Whitefish Point Lighthouse

Year Built: 1861
Height: 80′
Tours: Yes
Stay at the light? Yes
GPS Coordinates: 46°46’16.0″N84°57’27.4″W
Website: ShipwreckMuseum.com
Did You Know? Whitefish Point is the oldest operating lighthouse on Lake Superior.

 

Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse

Year Built: 1912
Height: 43′
Tours: No
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 44°27’26.67″N 87°29’34.4″W
Website: Kewaunee.org
Did You Know? This was originally built as a fog signal building at a time when there were two light towers housing range lights on the pier. In 1931 a lantern room was installed on top of the building and the front tower was moved to the entrance of the Chicago River.

 

1860 Light Station

Year Built: 1860
Height: 113′
Tours: Yes
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 43°23’27.7″N 87°52’03.8″W
Website: PWHistory.org
Did You Know? The Grand Duchy of Luxembourg replicated and donated the tower and lantern room in the restored lighthouse in 2002.

 

Port Washington North Pierhead Light

Year Built: 1935
Height: 78′
Tours: No
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 43°23’07.1″N 87°51’34.9″W
Website: VisitPortWashington.com
Did You Know? The Port Washington North Pierhead Light is one of only two art deco lighthouses of this design; the other is on Lake Erie.

 

Southport Light Station

Year Built: 1866
Height: 55′
Tours: Yes
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 42°35’21.8″N 87°48’57.2″W
Website: KenoshaHistoryCenter.org
Did You Know? The walls at the bottom of the tower are 4 1⁄2 feet thick solid Milwaukee Cream City brick. The wall thickness tapers off to 2 1⁄2 feet at the top of the tower, with the inside of the tower staying the same diameter from the bottom to the top.

 

Michigan City East Pierhead Light

Year Built: 1904
Height: 49′
Tours: No
Stay at the light? No
GPS Coordinates: 41°43’44.4″N 86°54’42.0″W
Website: eMichiganCity.com
Did You Know? The original fifth order Fresnel lens has been replaced with a modern plastic optic; however the original is available for viewing at the museum in the Old Michigan City Lighthouse.

Lighthouse Passport Club

Lighthouse hunting is an addicting hobby, and one shared by hundreds of thousands of people around the globe. The U.S. Lighthouse Society’s Lighthouse Passport Program and Club is the perfect complement to this passion allowing you to record your lighthouse visits, and achieve recognition for your accomplishments.

To purchase your very own passport, you can sign up online at www.uslhs.org or by calling 415-362-7255.

Lighthouse Links