Lake Michigan Lighthouses in Winter: A Michigan Photo Gallery

Being part of a Michigan winter brings with it frigid temperatures and on-again off-again snow. Hanging out along the immediate Lake Michigan coastline takes it to another level. Lake effect snow and high winds off the lake make for a bone chilling experience.

I’ve gone over to various parts of such coastline over the years, in January usually, to capture winter’s rath. I’m fascinated with how it takes hold to the various lighthouses, piers and beaches which you will find plenty of each along Lake Michigan. Some of my favorite shots I’ve taken over the years, all bundled up, follow. So worth it! Well without further ado.

St. Joseph North Pier Inner Light, lighthouse along Lake Michigan

All smiles at the St. Joseph North Pier Inner Light.

St. Joseph pier along Lake Michigan

Gingerly walking on what amounts to be the largest ice block I’ve ever seen.

North Pier Outer Lighthouse in St. Joseph, Michigan

North Pier Outer Lighthouse in St. Joseph, Michigan.

Icue formations along side White River Light in Whitehall, Michigan

Mounds of ice on the pier alongside the White River Light.

Beach along Silver Lake Sand Dunes in Michigan

Snow and ice cover lakeside beach along the Silver Lake Sand Dunes.

Out on the open iced over pier in Muskegon.

Ice fishermen and I are out on the open iced over pier in Muskegon.

Capturing Michigan pier cat walk iced sculptures up close.

Capturing cat walk iced sculptures up close.

More iced over photography happenings in St. Joseph, Michigan

More iced over photography happenings in St. Joseph.

Holland "Big Red Lighthouse" in Michigan along Lake Michigan

Holland’s “Big Red” Lighthouse standing tall.

Little Sable Point Lighthouse near Mears, Michigan

Little Sable Point Lighthouse near Mears, Michigan.

Snow creeping up the Muskegon Breakwater Light

Snow creeping up the Muskegon Breakwater Light.

The frozen channel between White Lake and Lake Michigan

The frozen channel between White Lake and Lake Michigan.

Iced over bridge alongside Holland lighthouse and Lake Michigan

Iced over bridge and pier in Holland State Park.

Icy pier alongside White River Light, Michigan

Anyone up for skating down the Whitehall pier to Lake Michigan?!

Grand Haven pier and lighthouse in Pure Michigan

The Grand Haven Lighthouse is playing peekabo with the large ice formations.

Grand Haven State Park, Grand Haven, Michigan

Lighthouse from up-top the sand dunes of Grand Haven State Park.

A sunny winter day along Lake Michigan, capturing St. Joseph's two lights

A sunny winter day along Lake Michigan, capturing St. Joseph’s two lights.

South Haven beach, Lake Michigan

Out on the open South Haven beach at dawn.

New Buffalo Public Beach in Michigan

Winters view from New Buffalo Public Beach.

Lake Michigan from South Haven, Michigan

Panoramic, snow covered views of Lake Michigan and the South Haven lighthouse.

South Haven Lighthouse in Pure Michigan

Climbing my way toward the South Haven Lighthouse.

Iced over Muskegon's South Breakwater Light, Lake Michigan lighthouses

Muskegon’s South Breakwater Light is iced over.

Iced over Muskegon's South Breakwater Light

Love how ice sculptures can form, like on Muskegon’s South Breakwater Light.

South Haven Lighthouse along Lake Michigan during the heart of winter.

South Haven Lighthouse along Lake Michigan during the heart of winter.

Frozen over South Haven, Michigan lighthouse

Lakeside view of the lighthouse in South Haven. At least I think it’s a lighthouse.

Where is the pier catwalk? From St. Joseph, Michigan

Where is the pier catwalk?

Taking in the wintry blue waters of this Great Lake., St. Joseph. Michigan

Taking in the wintry blue waters of this Great Lake.

Grand Haven State Park Beach along Lake Michigan

Who is up for a walk on the windy, wintry Grand Haven State Park beach?!

Grand Haven, Michigan

Grand River, light poles, railings, and everything else frozen over in Grand Haven.

Pere Marquette Park in Muskegon

Snow filled view of both Muskegon lighthouses from Pere Marquette Park.

Have you had the chance to capture any lighthouses and/or coastlines in winter?

41 responses to “Lake Michigan Lighthouses in Winter: A Michigan Photo Gallery

  1. Chilly, but beautiful introduction to Lake Michigan’s coastline!

    • Aaron - elatlboy

      Thank you Peter. Glad I could help show off what the Lake Michigan coastline here in Michigan is all about. I like it no matter the season. Love winter especially because you never know how the elements will take hold. Cheers!

  2. Stunning photos! I’ve never seen ice like that.

    • Aaron - elatlboy

      Thank you Juliet! Have to get lucky with a lot of wind and waves coming onto the shoreline and for it to be well below freezing for a good period of time. So beautiful to capture up close. Just have to bundle up haha!!!

  3. Your photos are beautiful. I’ve only actually seen snow twice and I think I would be worried about walking around there, it must be very slippery! Those icy shapes are so amazing. Thanks so much for sharing.

    • Aaron - elatlboy

      Thank you Jill! It was in spots. I was extremely careful. Couldn’t venture all the way to the end of some piers and to some lighthouses for safety purposes. No problem, glad you like. Love how the ice just takes hold and forms on things!

  4. Stunning shots!

  5. There certainly is beauty in ice, as you found. I prefer to look at the scenes instead of being there.

    • Aaron - elatlboy

      No doubt Charles! Thanks for checking them out. ๐Ÿ™‚ Understandable. There can be challenges to see these scenes, namely the road conditions. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Incredible! Must be a bit treacherous getting the shots.

    • Aaron - elatlboy

      Thank you Irene! For some of the lighthouses it was, climbing and walking gingerly down the pier/beach. Always take my time, stopping if it gets to risky and just zoom in on the lights. ๐Ÿ™‚

  7. The ice formed by the wind is enough to keep me away. I’ve felt the frigid blasts that come off the Lake. But I’m glad you persevered because your pictures were worth it.

    • Aaron - elatlboy

      Glad you like Juliann! It’s amazing how windy and frigid it is right along the Lake Michigan lakeshore. Same with the lake effect snow. I guess in a way I do want the weather to be bad, because it leads to more beautiful winter scenes. ๐Ÿ™‚

  8. This is probably my favorite gallery you’ve posted! Winter in the Midwest can be a pain, but it sure looks great on photos.

    • Aaron - elatlboy

      Thank you so much Pola! So glad you like. Getting to Lake Michigan and through all the lake effect snow in winter can be challenging, but the beauty of winter does make up for it!

  9. Winter looks suddenly so real! The frozen lighthouse is amazing! Never seen something like that!

    • Aaron - elatlboy

      It definitely is Ilana. Hard to believe that ice/snow and the elements of winter can form like that! Glad you like, cheers. ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. Great photos, Aaron! I’ve visited some Michigan lighthouses in winter but never seem to capture them as wonderfully as you did.

    • Aaron - elatlboy

      Thank you Francesca! Glad you like. Cool beans that you have had a chance to experience! I try to time it when its cold enough, while the lake effect snow machine is still in full gear. Do love going back to the lighthouses along Lake Michigan no matter the time of year. ๐Ÿ™‚

  11. Wow! I didn’t realise that it would all be frozen to that extent! That’s some cold weather you must be having!

  12. You take great photos! Beautiful lighthouses and I love all the ice! I can feel the cold all the way across the world! ๐Ÿ˜Š

    • Aaron - elatlboy

      Thank you so much! The more ice there is, equals more possibilities and the more excited I get! Do feel quite chilling for me too when I look at. Cheers! ๐Ÿ™‚

  13. You seem to take the cold a bit more seriously than we do. Okay, a lot more seriously … great shots~! (Perhaps an unwelcome suggestion, but have you thought about getting out there at nightโ€”possibly with tripod, coloured lights, and a huge hot-water bottle~?)

    Good luck!

    • Aaron - elatlboy

      Glad you like! Was extremely cold as I captured some of the those spots. Have given a little bit of thought in regards to capturing at night. No suggestions are unwanted. ๐Ÿ™‚ Thank you so much for the tips, something I will have to consider. ๐Ÿ™‚

      • Stars … I have a major problem with shooting the stars. Anyone can snap ’em, but a good shot can be a real challenge. In your climate make sure you rug up well~!

  14. Wow. What a wonderful set of beautiful photos. Thank You.

  15. oh my gosh, that ice! so crazy. I’ve only been to Michigan once but not in the winter! ๐Ÿ™‚

    • It is quite the amazing scene to see up close! It’s amazing what the elements of winter can do. It takes a lot of waves in way below 0 temperatures for those kinds of scenes to happen. Magical!

  16. Awesome!

    I’m likely going to be doing a motorcycle road trip with a buddy along the western coast of the “mitten” and then across to the Yooper. Any suggestions?

    • Aaron - elATLboy

      That sounds like a great trip. I would definitely stop in some beach towns like Grand Haven (my favorite) and New Buffalo. Definitely hop on M-22 at Manistee and take all the way up to Leelanau, back down to Traverse City. If you guys are into lighthouses obviously they are aplenty all the way up the Lake Michigan coast.

      My experience in the Yooper is limited but did enjoy the drive up to-and-around Tahquamenon Falls and Whitefish Point from the Mackinac Bridge. Hope that helps! Have a blast.

      • Thank you! We’ll be heading up the M22 if we go! It’s either that or the eastern bayshore in Maryland.

        PS – did you note the M22 made the list on my Great American Road Trips blog?

      • Aaron - elATLboy

        No problem. Scott. Will have to check it out, cool beans!!! It is a favorite of many here in Michigan.

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