Celebrate 150 Years of the St. Helena Island Lighthouse With This Unique Trip
One of the Great Lakes’ greatest stories of lighthouse preservation in the St. Helena Island Lighthouse in Lake Michigan. Located on a small island just west of the Mackinac Bridge, the lighthouse had fallen into disrepair and was in danger of being lost forever before the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association stepped in. Since 1986, GLLKA has done an amazing job of restoring the lighthouse and grounds, and this year they are offering some unique day trips that allow visitors the rare chance to see this Michigan landmark up close. It also happens to be the 150th anniversary of the St. Helena Island Lighthouse, and several other special events are planned this year. Here are some details about the “St. Helena Experience”:
The trips to St. Helena Island will be/were offered on 14 different days this summer. Several of the remaining dates are sold out, but tickets remain available for July 3, July 24, July 26, July 31, August 7, August 9, and August 15. From the GLLKA website: “You will depart Mackinaw City at 2:00 PM aboard the Huron Explorer, a 28-foot baha cruiser, with 5 other passengers.Your group of 6 will have a private tour of the lighthouse and outbuildings. Ice cold beverages and fresh baked goods will be available at the lighthouse. You have a total of 3 hours on the island to explore before departing the island at 5:30 PM and return to Mackinaw City around 6:00 PM.” The cost for this trip is $125 per person for GLLKA members and $145 for the general public. Visitors to the island will also pass under the Mackinac Bridge on the trip to the island and the return trip to Mackinaw City.
GLLKA has also partnered with photographer Dave Johnson to offer a four-day workshop on the island July 12-16. A two-day event in August (18th and 19th) celebrates the St. Helena Lighthouse anniversary as well as the 40th anniversary of GLLKA with speakers, memorials, lighthouse tours, and cruises that go by lighthouses and shipwrecks in the Cheboygan area. A good portion of the island is a nature preserve, and the views from the top of the 60+ foot tall tower must be breathtaking!
We’ve been able to view this beautiful lighthouse several times from the Shepler’s Lighthouse Cruise, and travelers on U.S. 2 can get a distant view of the lighthouse from a rest area a few miles west of St. Ignace. While this awesome trip didn’t work into our summer schedule this year, we certainly hope it is offered again in the future so we can enjoy the St. Helena Experience!