The Leelanau Peninsula, also known as the Little Finger of Michigan, boasts some of the most scenic views in the Great Lakes region. Home to rolling hills, pristine beaches, and breathtaking sunsets, this peninsula is a gem waiting to be explored. And what better way to appreciate its beauty than by visiting its lighthouses?
There are four lighthouses that can be found on the Leelanau Peninsula: South Manitou Island Lighthouse, Grand Traverse Lighthouse, Point Betsie Lighthouse, and North Manitou Shoal Lighthouse. Each of these structures has its unique story and purpose, making them a must-see for anyone visiting the area.
The South Manitou Island Lighthouse was first built in 1871 on the Manitou Passage. It guided ships from Lake Michigan towards the island, which was a major refueling stop for steamers traveling from Chicago to the east coast. The lighthouse, which is currently managed by the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, now serves as a museum that visitors can tour.
The Grand Traverse Lighthouse (pictured) was built in 1858 to serve as a guide for mariners on their journey from Chicago to Montreal. Located at the tip of the peninsula, this lighthouse is now open to the public as a museum showcasing the rich maritime history of the area.
Point Betsie Lighthouse, built-in 1858, stands at the entrance to Betsie Bay and has been a navigational aid for more than 150 years. It has also served as a residence for many lighthouse keepers over the years. Today, it is a museum that visitors can tour and admire the panoramic views of Lake Michigan from the tower.
The North Manitou Shoal Lighthouse, also known as the Crib, was built-in 1935 as a navigational aid for boats in the area. Located offshore from Leland, it is only accessible by boat, making it a popular spot for fishing and diving. While it no longer functions as a lighthouse, it is maintained by the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association, and visitors can explore the unique architecture of this octagonal building.
In conclusion, Leelanau Peninsula’s lighthouses are not only stunning landmarks, but they also tell the story of Michigan’s maritime history. Whether you are interested in exploring museums, fishing, or diving, there is something for everyone in the area’s lighthouses. So make sure to add these landmarks to your itinerary and experience the beauty and history of the Leelanau Peninsula.