Muskegon South Pierhead Light, Lake Michigan
Muskegon, Michigan was once an important Great Lakes port thanks to a thriving lumber industry. The Muskegon South Pierhead Light is the third beacon to mark the entrance to the channel that connects Lake Michigan with Muskegon Lake, and for the second consecutive summer it is open for tours on select days thanks to the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy. While it was once a booming lumber town and port, Muskegon is now home to countless outdoor recreation opportunities (in all seasons), a vibrant downtown filled with history and art, museums, breweries and more – check out our list of 16 Things to See and Do in Muskegon for more ideas. You’ll find the Muskegon South Pierhead Light near Pere Marquette Park, with access from a walkway that goes between the Coast Guard Station and the NOAA research facility. Parking is available in a lot next to the Coast Guard Station or at Margaret Drake Elliot Park.
The Muskegon South Pierhead Light was built in 1903, with its lantern room coming form the previous Muskegon Lighthouse (built in 1871). It is painted red and stands 50 feet tall. Views from the top of the tower include Lake Michigan beach and dunes, channel shipping and recreational boat traffic, the USS Silversides Submarine Museum, and on clear days a view of up to 10 miles of Lake Michigan. You do not have to enter the light to visit it, just be sure to follow the posted signs and walking path to the pier.
The Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy took over this light, as well as the smaller Muskegon South Breakwater Light, in 2010. Limited tours had been offered since 2013, but starting last summer visitors were able to enter the light and climb the tower on a regular basis. The current schedule is Memorial Day to Labor Day, 12-4 PM, Mon/Wed/Fri/Sat. Admission is $4 for adults and $2 for age 11 and under. There are minimum height requirements for children and it is recommended that all entering the tower wear sturdy shoes as the final ascent to the lantern room involves a ladder. Find out more at http://www.muskegonlights.org/visit/tours/, http://www.michiganlights.com/, and on Facebook.
It is also possible to view this light from a boat, or from the other side of the channel in Muskegon State Park. Other nearby lighthouses include the Grand Haven Pierhead Lights (20 miles to the south) and the White River Lighthouse (24 miles to the north).