Charlevoix South Pier Light, Lake Michigan
The Charlevoix South Pier Light marks the channel entrance from Lake Michigan to Round Lake/Lake Charlevoix (the state’s third largest inland lake) in Charlevoix, a popular summer vacation destination in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula. There was once a light on the north pier, but it was replaced in the 1940s with the current light on the south pier. This is a great place to watch recreational and fishing boats as they come and go each day, as well as the Beaver Island Boat Company ferry which makes daily trips in the summer.
The original color of this light was red, and at some point it was repainted white. When we first visited this lighthouse in the late 1990s it was white (as shown above) – in 2009 it was repainted red. Thanks to a Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program grant in 2015, a fresh coat of red paint was recently applied. You can find a fascinating photo gallery that showcases the light at http://chxhistory.com/south-pier-lighthouse/. Terry Pepper’s Seeing the Light page has a much more in-depth look at the history of this light and the surrounding area.
The Charlevoix South Pier Light is a steel skeletal tower that is 44 feet tall. The upper part of the light is enclosed, and the lantern room is painted black. The pier here features a fairly unique design, with a rectangular gap designed to help break up waves. You can walk right up to this historic beacon for great photographs, and we have found that the beach here is a great spot to hunt for Petoskey stones.
The Charlevoix South Pier Light is a point of civic pride, and when visiting the area you will find it featured in tourism materials, on a wall as part of a downtown mural, and on the logo for the Lake Charlevoix Brewing Company. To get to the parking area for the lighthouse, head west on Park St. from Bridge St./U.S. 31 and follow it for a few blocks to Grant St. Turn right onto Grant St., and you’ll soon be at Michigan Beach Park, where there is plenty of parking. Visit this and more lights by checking out our Ultimate Michigan Lighthouse Road Trip – Lower Peninsula post, our guide to 42 historic lighthouses.