If your mom is like ours she probably has a whole sunroom filled with cheesy ceramic lighthouses, all symbols of her dream vacation: a gigantic lighthouse tour. Well, make you mom's dreams come true and become her favorite kid by taking her on this 500-mile lighthouse journey through western Michigan.
Start in southwest Michigan at the St. Joseph North Pier Lighthouse, known for its breathtaking wintertime photos. The St. Joseph lighthouses (there are actually 2 on the pier) have a history dating back to the early 1800s when the first lighthouse was in St. Joseph. In addition to walking the pier itself, head over to Silver Beach for some time in the sand and a beautiful view of the lighthouses.
From St. Joseph you’ll travel north along the scenic Blue Star Highway until you reach the town of South Haven and the aptly named South Haven Lighthouse. The lighthouse has changed many times over the years, but its last renovation in 1940 gave the lighthouse its current steel pier and distinctive red color. A beach, park, playground, and concession stand are all right at the base of the pier so it’s the perfect place for a family picnic.
Muskegon South Pier Lighthouse
Continue up north to the Muskegon South Pier Lighthouse and make a stop at the Great Lakes Naval Memorial & Museum - USS Silversides where you can tour a WWII sub!
From Muskegon keep trekking north to the Big Sable Point Lighthouse and the Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse.
Venture out on the long wooden catwalk to reach this stunning piece of history. Try and catch this lighthouse during sunset, as you're bound to have some incredibly colorful views!
After Manistee keep heading north for some of the most beautiful parts of your trip as you visit Point Betsie Lighthouse, Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum, and Mission Point Lighthouse.
Grand Traverse Lighthouse Museum
Round out your journey through the northern portion of the Mitten with a stop at the Charlevoix South Pier Light.
If the Mission Point Lighthouse resembles anything like a house to you, that's because it is! Short-term keepers are allowed to live in the lighthouse for short periods of time, so stop by and say hello!
Charlevoix South Pier Light
The Charlevoix South Pier Light, now located along a small bay in Lake Michigan, still actively guides boats passing through the large lake. The platform to the lighthouse is open but visitors are not allowed to access the actual tower.
Finally, end your trip at Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse where you’ll see a great view of the bridge to the UP.
So after 500 miles you’ll have visited 10 lighthouses while driving some of the most beautiful roads in the entire country, and just think of all that bonding time you just had with your mom!
Roadtrippers helps you find the most epic destinations and detours—from roadside attractions to natural wonders and beyond.
Explore More Trip Guides
An Essential Idaho Road Trip
- 10 Places
- 1,548 mi
The Ultimate Guide to Badlands National Park
- 13 Places
9 stops on a Selma to Montgomery National Historic Trail road trip
- 9 Places
- 55 mi