The lighthouses along Michigan’s northeast shoreline have helped guide more than a century’s worth of sailors. This driving tour follows nearly 78 miles of U.S. Route 23.
The lighthouses along Michigan’s northeast shoreline have helped guide more than a century’s worth of sailors. Of the seven that dot this stretch, the ones north and south of Alpena invite travelers to visit and learn more. Take the 7 Lighthouse Adventure, which includes stops at five locations along nearly 78 miles of U.S. Route 23. (The other two lighthouses, found on Thunder Bay Island and Middle Island, can be seen only by private charter boat.)
Begin the driving tour at the northernmost 40-Mile Point Lighthouse in Rogers City, Michigan. Named for its distance 40 miles southeast of Old Mackinaw Point and 40 miles northwest of Thunder Bay, this tower houses a museum and a shipwreck trail. Visitors can also climb to the top of the tower between Memorial Day and when the lighthouse closes in October.
Next, head south to visit both the Old Presque Isle and New Presque Isle lighthouses. Located on Lake Huron’s Presque Isle, each light has unique features. The Old Presque Isle Lighthouse is perfect for a fall visit with its haunted past. The New Presque Isle Lighthouse is the tallest on the Great Lakes that travelers can ascend (for a small fee). Visit on a clear autumn day to take in views of the surrounding fall color and perhaps Duck Island across the lake in Canada.
The next stop heading south along the shore brings travelers into the city limits of Alpena for a glimpse of the Little Red Lighthouse. While the grounds are not accessible to the public, the lighthouse’s cherry-red exterior can be spotted from Alpena’s marina and breakwall.
The final and southernmost stop of the driving tour is the towering white column and red windows of Sturgeon Point Lighthouse, which guards a notoriously rocky shoreline. Travelers over 48 inches tall can ascend the tower for a small fee when a volunteer is on-site. For more information about the 7 Lighthouse Adventure, go to visitalpena.com.