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Best Michigan Lighthouses To Explore For Summer Fun

Standing tall against crashing waves and calm waters alike, Michigan's many lighthouses that guide sailors safely to shore now also beckon families to come and explore.

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New Presque Isle Lighthouse Park and Museum

  • Address: 4500 E. Grand Lake Road, Presque Isle
  • Phone: 989-595-5419
  • Hours (2013): 9 a.m.-6 p.m. daily
  • Admission (2013): $3/fee to climb tower

Built as a replacement for the Old Presque Isle Lighthouse, the New Presque Isle Lighthouse Park and Museum is part of a 99-acre township park. There's plenty to do and see, including climbing the 130 steps to the tower's top. It's the tallest lighthouse that admits visitors, so you don't want to miss this one!

Forty Mile Point Lighthouse

  • Address: 7323 US-23 North, Lighthouse Park, Rogers City
  • Phone: 989-734-4587
  • Hours (2013): 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Tuesday-Saturday, noon-4 p.m. Sunday
  • Admission (2013): free

Tucked into trees lining Lake Huron, the Forty Mile Point Lighthouse was first lit in 1897, guiding sailors through the treacherous waters between Presque Isle and Cheboygan.

Cheboygan River Front Range Lighthouse

  • Address: 606 Water St., Cheboygan
  • Phone: 231-436-5580
  • Hours (2013): 8 a.m.-5 p.m. Saturday, Sunday and holidays
  • Admission (2013): $5/adults, $3/children to tour

Currently, the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Associations is in the process of restoring this 1880 sentinel, which is still open for visitors. One unique feature: Instead of being on the water's edge, this lighthouse is located in town.

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

  • Address: 526 N. Huron Ave., Mackinaw City
  • Phone: 231-436-4100
  • Hours (2013): 9 a.m.-5 p.m. daily June 8-Aug. 17; 9 a.m.-4 p.m. daily Aug. 18-Oct. 13
  • Admission (2013): $6/adults, $4/ages 5-17, free/kids under 4 years

Stop off at this beauty before venturing across the Mackinac Bridge. The 1892 lighthouse is the perfect spot to view the Straits of Mackinac. Hands-on exhibits will teach your kids more about what it was like to live and work in a lighthouse.

Mission Point Lighthouse

  • Address: End of M-37, Old Mission Peninsula, Traverse City
  • Phone: 231-645-0759
  • Hours (2013): 10 a.m.-6 p.m. daily
  • Admission (2013): $5/adults, $3/kids, free/children 5 and under

This quaint lighthouse is tucked right into the peninsula jutting out into the middle of Grand Traverse Bay. Explore the area, take a tour and pack a picnic for a relaxing afternoon.

Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum

  • Address: 15550 N. Lighthouse Point Road, Leelanau State Park, Northport
  • Phone: 231-386-7195
  • Hours (2013): 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily June-Labor Day; Noon-4 p.m. Labor Day-Oct. 31
  • Admission (2013): $4/adults, $2/kids 5-18 years, free/kids under 5 (plus state park vehicle admission fee)

As part of Leelanau State Park, this lighthouse museum has a number of exhibits to help your kids understand the importance of these beacons to those on the shorelines of the Great Lakes.

Point Betsie Lighthouse

  • Address: 3071 Point Betsie Road, Frankfort
  • Phone: 231-352-7644
  • Hours (2013): 10:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Saturday, 12:30 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Sunday (Friday times available in August and holidays, too)
  • Admission (2013): $4/adults, $2/kids under 12, free/kids under age 6

This gem of a lighthouse can be a little difficult to find, but it's worth making the effort. The picturesque tower is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the country. Nearby, you can make your way through Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore.

Big Sable Point Lighthouse

  • Address: Ludington State Park, M-116, Ludington
  • Phone: 231-845-7417
  • Hours (2013): 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
  • Admission (2013): $3/donation adults, $1/donation kids

The imposing Big Sable Point Lighthouse stretches 112 feet into the Michigan sky. Take your time trekking the 130 steps to the top of the tower and then relax with a walk on the beach afterwards.

Little Sable Point Lighthouse

  • Address: Silver Lake State Park, 287 North Lighthouse Drive, Mears
  • Phone: 231-845-7417
  • Hours (2013): 10 a.m.-5 p.m. daily
  • Admission (2013): $3/donation adults, $1/donation kids

Rising among sand dunes and evergreen trees, the Little Sable Point Lighthouse isn't so little! Located in Silver Lake State Park, this brick-covered lighthouse stands 107 feet tall.

Ludington North Breakwater Light

  • Address: Stearns Park Beach, Stearns Park Outer Drive, Ludington
  • Phone: 231-845-7417
  • Hours (2013): 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Monday-Sunday, plus 5-8 p.m. Monday
  • Admission prices (2013): $3/donation adults, $1/donation kids

Just down the way from the Big Sable, the Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse stands at the end of a half-mile breakwall. The 57-foot tower is the perfect spot to watch the sunset on Lake Michigan.

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