It was the middle of the afternoon one day recently and all of a sudden I had a travel urge. I was thinking lighthouses. What did I do? I got in the vehicle and made a quick road trip over to Grand Haven, Michigan.
I got there right before dark. The lighthouses in Grand Haven are just outside of downtown. It was cloudy, so no sunset shots this time, rats. On the plus side, there was no snow on the ground, which is a miracle considering this area sits right in the heart of the lake effect snow belt of Lake Michigan.
Last winter was a different story. There were high snow drifts, cold, slush and ice everywhere.
I’ve had the chance to spend some time here in the warmer, summer months too.
Walking down the South Pier you’ll first come across the red inner signal light. A fifty-one foot tower built-in 1905.
Continuing on you’ll reach the end of the pier and the red outer barn shaped pierhead light (foghorn house) built-in 1875. The pier has been expanded multiple times, most recently in 1905 and the foghorn house was moved to the end of the pier.
The first lighthouse in the area was built-in 1839. You can get up-close and even touch, but you can’t go into either lighthouse as they are in use.
The two lighthouses are connected via a catwalk. Back in the day, this made it easy for the lighthouse keeper to walk from one to the other. Yellow lights run the complete length of the pier.
The South Pier where the lighthouses reside is an extension of “The Boardwalk” (Lighthouse Connector Park). It extends 1,100 feet out into Lake Michigan. Alongside you’ll see the Grand Haven channel which connects Lake Michigan with the Grand River.
There is also a north pierhead light on the opposite side of the channel.
Right alongside the pier and boardwalk is Grand Haven State Park, which is all beach and nationally recognized by Good Morning America as one of the best family beaches in the United States. Great views of the beach can be had from the lighthouses and pier and vice versa.
The Grand Haven lighthouses, pier, state park and boardwalk make for a great time no matter the weather, season or time of day. It was definitely worth the short drive.
Now I just gotta make sure I get here around sunset. A sunset over Lake Michigan, with the sand, pier and lighthouses as a backdrop, a romantic setting I need to see! What is your favorite lighthouse? Is it close to home?