Surrounded by Lake Superior, Lake Michigan, and Lake Huron, Michigan’s Upper Peninsula has long played a pivotal role in the transportation and shipping industries. For centuries, ships have been traversing the unpredictable waters and rocky shores, using lighthouses in Upper Peninsula Michigan as guides.
Today, travelers in Michigan are fascinated by the dozens of Upper Peninsula lighthouses. While many of them are still operational, some have simply been preserved as tributes to an era gone by.
This guide will tell you which Michigan lighthouses to visit in the Upper Peninsula — where they’re located, if they’re operational, and if they’re accessible. Adding a lighthouse or two to any Michigan itinerary will make your adventure through the Mitten State better!
Au Sable Light Station & Tour | Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore
One of the most picturesque lighthouses in Upper Peninsula Michigan, Au Sable Light Station is a popular spot among tourists who want to see a stately, well-preserved lighthouse. It was built in 1873 and 1874, and it continues to operate today, though it’s no longer staffed by a keeper.
Big Bay Point Lighthouse
Built in 1896, Big Bay Point Lighthouse has been an operational tower safely guiding mariners along the waters of Lake Superior for more than a century.
Today, the automated light still shines bright for those on the water, and the historic building welcomes guests who are interested in an authentic and immersive bed-and-breakfast experience.
Copper Harbor Lighthouse
Copper Harbor Lighthouse was built in 1866, making it one of the oldest lighthouses in Michigan.
Nestled in the far reaches of Copper Harbor, this historic lighthouse is no longer operational, though its 1933 steel skeleton tower still aids those who are navigating the rough waters of Lake Superior. There’s currently no public access to this lighthouse.
Crisp Point Lighthouse & Tour
Crisp Point Lighthouse is one of the most remote lighthouses in the Upper Peninsula, though most visitors find that it’s well worth the effort to get to this desolate location.
Constantly threatened by erosion from the lively waters of Lake Superior, this lighthouse is a sight to behold. Self-guided tours are available seasonally, and the lighthouse grounds are typically open from May until October.
DeTour Reef Light
Located in the heart of the treacherous DeTour Reef, the DeTour Reef Light was built in 1931 to help mariners traverse the waters of the rocky reef. Preservation efforts have been underway since 1998. Visitors can tour the reef light and learn more about its history and the role that it plays today.
Eagle Harbor Light Station & Museum Complex
Because of the thriving nature of the copper mining industry in the Keweenaw Peninsula, a lighthouse was necessary on Eagle Harbor. The original tower was built in 1851, but it was replaced by the current structure in 1871.
The automated light is still operational today, so visitors can’t visit the top of this lighthouse. However, they can tour the historic quarters and learn more about this light in its visitor center.
Eagle River Light Station
The Eagle River Light Station was completed in 1855 to aid with navigation during the booming era of Michigan’s copper industry. Today, it can be seen from the road, but it’s privately owned and operated. The grounds are closed to the public, but the lighthouse can be booked as a vacation rental.
Fourteen Mile Point Lighthouse
Fourteen Mile Point Lighthouse is a historic, privately-owned lighthouse in Ontonagon Michigan. While no public tours are available, the grounds around this lighthouse are open.
However, you must be quite the adventurer to reach it. It requires a 12-mile hike over a landscape that can be treacherous at times. The best way to experience this lighthouse is by boat or plane.
Grand Island East Channel Light
Located on the southeast shore of Grand Island, this rugged lighthouse is on private land and cannot be accessed by the public. However, many people enjoy seeing this mighty tower on boat tours to the Pictured Rocks nearby.
This East Channel light was built in the middle of the 19th century and was abandoned by the turn of the 20th century. Recently, preservationists have worked to restore the lighthouse so that all can see it from the water.
Grand Island North Light
Located on the north side of Grand Island and overlooking the mighty Lake Superior, the Grand Island North Light is a peaceful, solitary light. Known to locals as Old North Light, it was built in the middle of the 19th century around the time that the Soo Locks opened.
This northern tower was operational until 1961. Today, it serves as a private summer retreat.
Granite Island Light Station
While many Upper Peninsula lighthouses line the shores of the peninsula, this one stands guard on a small, 2-acre island off the coast of Marquette. It was built in 1869 but is no longer operational.
Today, visitors on the water can marvel at this stately brick lighthouse that rests atop the rocky island. While there are no public tours, virtual experiences allow people to learn more about this privately-owned lighthouse.
Gull Rock Light Station
Situated on a tiny, remote island off the coast of Manitou Island, the Gull Rock lighthouse is now abandoned and isolated. However, interested visitors can snap a few photographs of its white, schoolhouse-style structure if they embark on a boat tour of the area.
Huron Island Light Station
About 3 miles off the coast of the Upper Peninsula is a small chain of rocky islands known as the Huron Islands. The Huron Island Light Station is strategically situated on a prominent island and was intended to help mariners avoid disasters in the icy cold waters of Lake Superior.
Today, the tower and light aren’t open to the public. Although, visitors can access the grounds by boat.
Isle Royale Light Station
Isle Royale Light Station was constructed in 1875 on the remote Menagerie Island, which is situated off the coast of the much-larger Isle Royale. While keepers operated this light for several decades, it was automated in 1914.
Today, the light is still operational and powered by solar energy. While the grounds are open, it’s nearly impossible for members of the public to reach the lighthouse. Most view it by boat.
Keweenaw Waterway Lower Entrance Light
Stretching into the waters of Keweenaw Bay, the Keweenaw Waterway Lower Entrance Light was designed to guide mariners safely around the peninsula and bay. It was first operational in 1868 and was maintained by a keeper until 1939.
Today, there’s no longer a light in this lighthouse, but the lens is on display at Eagle Harbor Lighthouse. Visitors can visit the grounds of the lighthouse, but no tours are available.
Keweenaw Waterway Upper Entrance Light
Created to guide boats and vessels that were entering the Keweenaw Waterway, the Keweenaw Waterway Upper Entrance Light is a small, skeletal tower built in the 1930s. However, there has been a light in this location since the middle of the 19th century.
Today, visitors can view the tower from McLain State Park, but they cannot access the grounds or tour the light, which is owned by the U.S. Coast Guard.
Manistique East Breakwater Light Station
One of the later additions to the Upper Peninsula lighthouse collection, the Manistique East Breakwater Light Station was constructed in 1910.
Today, this proud red light station overlooks Lake Michigan. While members of the public can access the grounds, the light station is privately owned and doesn’t offer tours.
Manitou Island Light Station
Manitou Island Light Station has the distinct honor of having one of the oldest towers and keeper’s quarters in the state of Michigan. This lighthouse, which was constructed in 1862, is still active today, though its light has long been automated.
While the grounds are open to the public, it’s important to keep in mind that the island has to be accessed by boat. Because there are strong currents, it’s recommended that only experienced boaters attempt the journey.
Marquette Breakwater Outer Light Station
Jutting into the waters of Marquette Bay, the Marquette Breakwater Outer Light Station is distinctly different from many of the other lighthouses in Upper Peninsula Michigan.
The cylindrical tower and white-and-red striped pattern make it look more modern and less like the schoolhouse-style lights that are more well-known in the area. Currently owned by the U.S. Coast Guard, visitors can access the grounds of the lighthouse, but the tower itself is closed.
Marquette Harbor Lighthouse
The Marquette Harbor Lighthouse is considered a defining structure in the community, and it has been guiding those in the area for nearly two centuries. While a lighthouse has been located at this spot since 1853, this structure was built in 1866.
The tower has been significantly modified over the years, making it one of the most unique lighthouses in Michigan. Today, visitors can book guided tours to see the lighthouse for themselves and learn more about its history.
Martin Reef Light Station
Martin Reef Light Station was built in the early 20th century to warn vessels about the shallow, rocky waters of the Martin Reef. The U.S. Coast Guard owns the light, and the tower is closed to the public.
The best way to see this small but vital lighthouse is by boat. Local ferry company Shepler’s offers a tour that cruises by the light.
Mendota Light Station
The Mendota Light Station is one of the few lighthouses along the Keweenaw Peninsula that has remained unchanged since it was constructed in 1895.
It’s still maintained by a lighthouse keeper and continues to provide guidance as mariners traverse the channel that connects Lake Superior to Lac La Belle.
Menominee North Pier Light
Located on the border of Michigan and Wisconsin in the small town of Menominee, the Menominee North Pier Light is situated at the end of a pier that juts out into Green Bay. The lighthouse is owned by the City of Menominee.
Visitors can access the grounds of the lighthouse by walking along the pier. Tours are available on select days between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Munising U.S. Coast Guard Station
The Munising U.S. Coast Guard Station is located on the Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore, and it serves as the Pictured Rocks park headquarters.
The lighthouse was built in 1932 and decommissioned in 1960, but it has been the location of the park headquarters ever since. Today, visitors can access the grounds and tour a history museum on site during the summer months.
Ontonagon Harbor West Pierhead
The Ontonagon Harbor West Breakwater Lighthouse (aka Ontonagon Harbor West Pierhead) serves as a navigational tool that aids mariners who are traveling along Lake Superior near the mouth of the Ontonagon River.
This lighthouse is currently operational and owned by the U.S. Coast Guard, but the tower is closed to the public. The best views of the lighthouse are on the beach or from the water.
The Ontonagon Lighthouse is famous for being one of the oldest standing lighthouses on the Keweenaw Peninsula. It was maintained and operated by lightkeepers for nearly a century before being automated.
Today, visitors can walk through this stately lighthouse for themselves and enjoy an immersive guided tour during the peak summer travel season. It’s one of the most popular tourist attractions in Ontonagon.
Passage Island Light Station
The rugged and remote Isle Royale National Park is one of the least-visited national parks in the country, but those who make the journey are rewarded by intimate and personal experiences with this magical terrain.
One opportunity that park visitors have is to take a ranger-led boat tour and guided hike to the Passage Island Light Station, an isolated lighthouse that watches over the dark, frigid waters of Lake Superior.
Peninsula Point Lighthouse
Standing tall after more than 150 years, Peninsula Point Lighthouse is a 40-foot tower that was constructed to guide ships along the rocky shoals of the channel. Today, visitors can climb to the top of the tower during the summer season and enjoy panoramic views of the surrounding water.
Pipe Island Light Station
In the waters of the St Marys River is a small island known as Pipe Island — sometimes referred to by locals as Round Island.
Nestled on this tiny river island is a small, yet dignified, white lighthouse known as the Pipe Island Light Station. This privately-owned lighthouse isn’t accessible to the public, but boaters can view it while traveling along the river.
Point Iroquois Lighthouse
Located along one of the busiest shipping lanes in the Great Lakes, Point Iroquois Lighthouse provided guidance to mariners for more than 100 years. Today, this historic lighthouse has been preserved and maintained for visitors to enjoy.
The grounds are open seasonally. During the summer months, visitors can climb to the top of the tower to enjoy spectacular views.
Presque Isle Breakwater Light
As a more recent addition to the collection of lighthouses in Upper Peninsula Michigan, the Presque Isle Breakwater Light stands out as one of the few that has always been operated remotely. It was built in 1941 and operated by a remote control from a couple of miles away.
Today, the automated light continues to shine onto the waters of Presque Isle Harbor. It’s owned by the U.S. Coast Guard, so while the grounds are open to the public, the tower isn’t accessible.
Rock Harbor Lighthouse
Rock Harbor Lighthouse is the oldest standing lighthouse on Lake Superior, having been built in 1855. It’s currently located within the boundaries of Isle Royale National Park and is owned and operated by the National Park Service. Interested visitors can tour the lighthouse during the summer season.
Rock of Ages Light Station
Located on a small bit of rocky land off the western coast of Isle Royale National Park, the Rock of Ages Light Station can appear both haunting and foreboding.
This towering white lighthouse is owned and operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, and the only way for visitors to experience it is from the water. It’s not open to the public.
Round Island Lighthouse
Off the coast of Mackinac Island — an idyllic Victorian-era island where motor vehicles are banned to this day — is a much more rugged island known as Round Island. At the tip of Round Island, across the channel from Mackinac Island, is a hearty, red-and-white lighthouse known as Round Island Light.
Most visitors see this lighthouse as they take the ferry from the mainland to Mackinac Island, but the preservation society that maintains the tower welcomes visitors once a year during an annual open house.
Round Island Passage Light
For more than a century, the tiny white lighthouse in the Round Island Channel has guided those who are looking to get through the Straits of Mackinac. The Round Island Passage Light is a favorite among travelers who are taking the ferry to and from Mackinac Island.
Currently, the lighthouse is privately owned. The only way to see it is while on the ferry ride or from the shores of Mackinac Island.
Sand Hills Lighthouse
With a unique architectural design and stately appearance, Sand Hills Lighthouse is one of the most picturesque lighthouses in Upper Peninsula Michigan.
While it’s no longer operational, it has been transformed into a bed-and-breakfast, allowing travelers to experience what it might have been like to live and work at the lighthouse. It’s currently undergoing renovations and is closed to the public.
Sand Point Lighthouse | Baraga
Built in 1877, Sand Point Lighthouse in Baraga stands out with its bright red brick exterior. It’s a smaller lighthouse that was operational for decades, but now, the light at Sand Point is part of a skeletal tower closer to the point.
The lighthouse is currently owned and maintained by the Keweenaw Bay Indian Community as part of the Ojibwa Recreation Area. The grounds are open to the public, but no tours are available.
Sand Point Lighthouse & Delta County Historical Museum
With a pristine white facade and a brick red roof, Sand Point Lighthouse is one of the most idyllic lighthouses in Upper Peninsula Michigan. It overlooks the Little Bay de Noc, and while it’s no longer an operational lighthouse, it still plays an important role in the community.
The lighthouse building is now home to the Delta County Historical Museum, where visitors can learn more about the area’s history and tour the lighthouse during the summer season.
Seul Choix Pointe Lighthouse & Museum
Built in 1895 along one of the busiest fishing ports in Michigan, Seul Choix Pointe Lighthouse played a critical role in keeping mariners safe on the waters of Seul Choix Bay and Lake Michigan.
With its 56-foot-tall tower and charming attached dwelling, this lighthouse is worth the photograph. The grounds are open throughout the year, and during the summer, visitors can take tours of the lighthouse.
St Helena Island Light
St Helena Island is a small island between Michigan’s Upper and Lower Peninsulas, and it has long been used as a fishing station.
St Helena Island Light was constructed in 1872 and lit for the first time in 1873, but it was automated by 1922. The tower quickly fell into disrepair, but in 1984, a preservationist group took over ownership of the tower and restored it.
Today, visitors can book tours through the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association. There’s even a program where volunteers can apply to be “Miracle Workers” and live on the island while tending to the light.
St Ignace Chief Wawatam Park & Lighthouse
Wawatam Lighthouse has, perhaps, the most interesting history of all of the lighthouses in Upper Peninsula Michigan.
This classic-style lighthouse was constructed in 1998 and first located in Monroe Michigan as part of the Michigan Welcome Center. It was relocated to St Ignace in 2006 and quickly became an operational light that was used to aid ship navigation.
Travelers can visit and tour the lighthouse, as well as learn more about the history of St Ignace. Conveniently located near the ferry docks, this is a popular spot among tourists who plan to visit Mackinac Island.
Stannard Rock Light Station
Described by some as the loneliest place in the Great Lakes, the Stannard Rock lighthouse has a haunting presence in the middle of Lake Superior. Today, it’s an automated light that continues to serve as an aid to navigation.
At one time, though, a keeper lived and worked on the isolated tower — surrounded by nothing except the dark waters of Lake Superior. The tower is now closed and isn’t accessible.
White Shoal Light Station
Located 20 miles west of Mackinac Bridge in the heart of Lake Michigan, White Shoal Light Station is easy to spot with its candy cane stripes. This privately-owned light tower isn’t accessible to the public, but it’s possible to book boat tours that pass by.
Whitefish Point Lighthouse
As the oldest operating lighthouse on Lake Superior, Whitefish Point Lighthouse is one of the most famous lighthouses in Upper Peninsula Michigan. The current tower was built in 1861, and it has been helping mariners safely navigate the treacherous waters in this region.
Also known as Shipwreck Coast, Whitefish Point is considered to be one of the most dangerous places to go boating. From early May until late October, visitors can tour the entire campus, which is part of the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum.
Discover All the Lighthouses in Upper Peninsula Michigan
Standing dozens of feet high and telling the stories of the shorelines, lighthouses in Michigan appeal to people of all ages. Whether you’re taking a summer vacation to the Upper Peninsula or visiting frozen Michigan lighthouses, you’ll find endless opportunities to explore and photograph these majestic towers.
List of Upper Peninsula Lighthouses in Michigan
|Au Sable Light Station and Tour – Pictured Rocks National Lakeshore||Burt Township, MI 49883||Lake Superior||Yes||Yes, Seasonally|
|Big Bay Point Lighthouse||4674 Co Rd KCB, Big Bay, MI 49808||Lake Superior||Yes, Seasonally||Yes, Seasonally|
|Copper Harbor Lighthouse||Fort Wilkins Historic State Park Copper Harbor, Copper Harbor, MI 49918||Lake Superior||No||No|
|Crisp Point Lighthouse and Tour||1944 Co Hwy 412, Newberry, MI 49868||Lake Superior||Yes, Seasonally||Yes, Seasonally|
|DeTour Reef Light||Light House Rd, De Tour Village, MI 49725||Lake Huron||Yes||Yes|
|Eagle Harbor Light Station and Museum Complex||670 Lighthouse Rd, Eagle Harbor, MI 49950||Eagle Harbor and Lake Superior||Yes, Seasonally||Yes, Seasonally|
|Eagle River Light Station||Eagle River, MI||Eagle River||No||No|
|Fourteen Mile Point Lighthouse||Ontonagon, MI 49953||Lake Superior||Yes||No|
|Grand Island East Channel Light||Grand Island, Alger County, MI 49862||Grand Island Harbor Bay||No||No|
|Grand Island North Light||Grand Island Rd, Munising, MI 49862||Lake Superior||No||No|
|Granite Island Light Station||Marquette, MI 49855||Lake Superior||No||No|
|Gull Rock Light Station||Grant Township, MI 49918||North Bay and Lake Superior||No||No|
|Huron Island Light Station||Big Bay, MI 49808||Lake Superior||Yes||No|
|Isle Royale Light Station||Houghton Township, MI||Lake Superior||Yes||No|
|Keweenaw Waterway Lower Entrance Light||White City Rd, Chassell, MI 49916||Keweenaw Bay||Yes||No|
|Keweenaw Waterway Upper Entrance Light||Keweenaw Peninsula, MI||Lake Superior||No||No|
|Manistique East Breakwater Light Station||Manistique, MI 49854||Lake Michigan||Yes||No|
|Manitou Island Light Station||Copper Harbor, MI 49918||Lake Superior||Yes||No|
|Marquette Breakwater Outer Light Station||Marquette, MI 49855||Marquette Bay||Yes||No|
|Marquette Harbor Lighthouse||300 N Lakeshore Blvd, Marquette, MI 49855||Marquette Bay and Lake Superior||Yes||Yes|
|Martin Reef Light Station||Martin Reef, MI||Lake Huron||No||No|
|Mendota Light Station||Mohawk, MI 49950||Lake Superior||Yes||No|
|Menominee North Pier Light||Harbor Dr. Menominee, MI 49858||Green Bay||Yes||Yes, Seasonally|
|Munising US Coast Guard Station||Grand Marais, MI 49839||West Bay||Yes||No|
|Ontonagon Harbor West Pierhead||Ontonagon, MI||Lake Superior||Yes||No|
|Ontonagon Lighthouse||Ontonagon, MI 49953||Ontonagon River||Yes||Yes, Seasonally|
|Passage Island Light Station||Isle Royale National Park||Lake Superior||Yes||No|
|Peninsula Point Lighthouse||3722 County 513 T Rd, Rapid River, MI 49878||Little Bay de Noc and Big Bay de Noc||Yes||Yes, seasonal self-guided tours available|
|Pipe Island Light Station||De Tour Village, MI 49725||St Marys River||No||No|
|Point Iroquois Lighthouse||13042-13260 W Lakeshore Dr, Brimley, MI 49715||Lake Superior||Yes, Seasonally||Yes, Seasonally|
|Presque Isle Breakwater Light||Unnamed Road, Marquette, MI 49855||Presque Isle Harbor||Yes||No|
|Rock Harbor Lighthouse||Rock Harbor Lighthouse, Houghton Township, MI||Middle Islands Passage||Yes||Yes, Seasonally|
|Rock of Ages Light Station||Eagle Harbor Township, MI||Lake Superior||No||No|
|Round Island Lighthouse||Round Island Light, Mackinac Island, MI 49757||Round Island Channel||Yes||No|
|Round Island Passage Light||Lake Shore Dr, Mackinac Island, MI 49757||Straits of Mackinac and Round Island Channel||No||No|
|Sand Hills Lighthouse||6029 5 Mile Pt Rd, Ahmeek, MI 49901||Lake Superior||Temporarily Closed||No|
|Sand Point Lighthouse – Baraga||Light House Rd, Baraga, MI 49908||L’Anse Bay||Yes||No|
|Sand Point Lighthouse and Delta County Historical Museum||Water Plant Rd, Escanaba, MI 49829||Little Bay de Noc||Yes||Yes, Seasonally|
|Seul Choix Pointe Lighthouse and Museum||3183 Co Hwy 431, Gulliver, MI 49840||Seul Choix Bay and Lake Michigan||Yes||Yes, Seasonally|
|St Helena Island Light||St Ignace, MI 49781||Straits of Mackinac||Yes||Yes|
|St Ignace Chief Wawatam Park & Lighthouse||St Ignace, MI 49781||Straits of Mackinac||Yes||Yes|
|Stannard Rock Light Station||Off Keweenaw Peninsula||Lake Superior||No||No|
|White Shoal Light Station||Emmet County, Michigan||Lake Michigan||No||No|
|Whitefish Point Lighthouse||18335 N Whitefish Point Rd, Paradise, MI 49768||Lake Superior||Yes||Yes, Seasonally|