Many Michiganders aren’t aware they can spend the night in some of the lighthouses along our coastlines. Here are seven of our favorites, and how to reserve them.
MICHIGAN—There are more than 100 working lighthouses in Michigan, each offering something different for tourists and native Michiganders alike. But some of the towering beauties offer something a little more than a tour and photo op: the chance to stay overnight.
Sure, some of the lighthouses let you stay under the condition that you do a little work. Others offer lighthouse keeper programs, which require you to make sure everything is in working order during the stay. Others let people spend the night.
Here is a look at some of our favorite Michigan lighthouses that you can live in, if only for a day or two.
Big Bay Point Lighthouse
Big Bay, Michigan
How many bed and breakfasts sit atop a cliff overlooking the largest of the Great Lakes? At least one. Big Bay Point Lighthouse was converted into a bed and breakfast in the mid-1980s and features more than a dozen rooms inside with access to woods and trails outside. Reserve a room online here by looking at the availability of the Big Bay Point Lighthouse’s rooms. Call 906-345-9957 to make a reservation.
Big Sable Point Lighthouse
The Big Sable Point Lighthouse is more than 150 years old and over 100 feet tall, allowing anyone who stands atop the historic beacon a wide view of Ludington State Park beach and Lake Michigan. Stays at the lighthouse are handled by the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association, a nonprofit organization that deals with lighthouses over a 30-mile stretch of Michigan’s western shoreline.
A volunteer keepers program allows members the chance to live and work in the lighthouse from May to October. Information on becoming a member and having a chance to stay in the lighthouse can be found here. Call 231-845-7417 for more information on the keepers program.
Crisp Point Lighthouse
Crisp Point Lighthouse on Lake Superior still stand today thanks to a preservation effort by the Crisp Point Light Historical Society after the ground around the 58-foot beacon began to quickly erode. Now, more work is planned for 2022, but people can still stay in the lighthouse through its volunteer keepers program. Information on that can be found here. Call 989-859-1407 during normal business hours for information on volunteering.
Eagle River Lighthouse
Eagle River, Michigan
Located in Michigan’s Keweenaw Peninsula, the Eagle River Lighthouse is as north as one can get in the state. For those looking to get away for a weekend, this might be the ideal spot. The restored 1850s lighthouse is now primarily a vacation rental home. Interested? View the listing to make a reservation.
Mission Point Lighthouse
Traverse City, Michigan
Grand Traverse County’s Mission Point Lighthouse is in an area rich with history. Though the lighthouse was decommissioned in the 1930s, people can still visit the beacon as part of its keeper program, volunteering at the lighthouse for a week at a time. Learn more about staying at the lighthouse as a volunteer keeper here. Call 231-645-0759 for information on the keeper program.
Point Betsie Lighthouse
Point Betsie Lighthouse, because of its location near the Sleeping Bear Dunes and overall aesthetic, is one of Michigan’s most well-known and often photographed lighthouses. While the lighthouse looks great from afar, the view from inside often features Lake Michigan sunsets and more. Michiganders can volunteer to stay in and work at the lighthouse, or they can stay for a week at a time. Anyone interested in doing so should delay their plans until 2022, as the lighthouse is booked for the rest of 2021. Make a reservation by calling (231) 352-7644.
White Shoal Lighthouse
Emmet County, Michigan
The abandoned White Shoal Lighthouse sits in waters about 20 miles west of the Mackinac Bridge and about 13 miles away from the nearest boat launch and until recently people could still spend the night there. But that is not the case now, with the only barber pole lighthouse in the US closed to the public for the rest of 2021.
Efforts from White Shoal Light Historical Preservation Society are underway to restore the lighthouse, with hopes of having the beacon in good enough shape to reopen it to the public for overnight stays. Read more about the group’s progress here. Reach out to the preservation society by calling 989-205-0123.