Think lighthouses for next vacation


Door County, WI has some good lighthouses to tour on land and some seen just by boat. (J Jacobs photo)

Making lighthouse stops can be fun or daunting as a vacation theme. Best is to plan ahead because given the amount of shoreline on the Great Lakes in the United States and Canada, there are way too many lighthouse outposts in service and deactivated to fit into one trip.

For some idea of how many lighthouses abound in the region visit the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers’ Regional Map. Count the orange dots or click on them for their info. Yes they are numerous but those don’t tend to include lighthouses that have become landmarks and tour sites such as the Grosse Point (not in Michigan) Lighthouse in Evanston, IL and also available at Grosse Point Lighthouse.

Do notice the white dots on the map. They don’t have information. But the town listed will so go to Holland, MI to learn about its Big Red Lighthouse. it should be considered as a lighthouse road trip. Big Red is reportedly the state’s most photographed lighthouse.

In addition, although not  even as white dots on the GLLKA map, Door County, WI has fun lighthouses to visit as does Traverse City, MI

Don’t worry that it takes a number of years to drive by all the lighthouses, active and not on the Great Lakes.

BTW boating is easier but not all lighthouses in the Great Lakes region are on an existing Great Lake, really. Many lighthouses on the GLLKA map are on islands or inland or far out from the roads. They are or were supposed to steer or warn boaters of potential trouble or guide boaters towards safe harbors.  Also, not all lighthouses are visible by boat, others are not visitable by car.

So, if considering a road trip connected to some Great Lakes lighthouses consider your parameters. Maybe do one state. Michigan, with 3,288 miles of lake shore, claims to have more lighthouses than any other state at 130 so visit Lakeside Lights | Michigan.

Or consider staying just in the United States (not the Canadian side) and think about just one lake area such as Lake Superior’s Upper Peninsula.  

Or consider those that are reputedly haunted. See “Dark side of area lighthouses.” 

Or those that have been repurposed such as B ‘n’ Bs. Two are listed on the GLLKA map and more from across the country are on the United States Lighthouse Accommodations done by the US Lighthouse Society.

Now that you have some ideas to consider the next article will be an easy Midwest/Great Lakes lighthouse trip to Door County, WI.

Author: Jodie

Longtime Chicago Tribune contributor for news and features. Travel writer for What's Happening, Lakeland Boating and A&E for CBS