Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse, Lake Michigan
Ludington is one of Michigan’ most popular lakeshore destinations, and the Ludington North Breakwater Lighthouse is one of its most iconic landmarks. Walking out to this lighthouse is a popular summer activity. This historic beacon has stood guard for nearly 100 years and has a unique design compared to other Michigan breakwater lighthouses. In normal operating seasons, the lighthouse is open for tours and tower climbs through the Sable Points Lightkeepers Association.
The lighthouse is a square pyramidal steel-plated tower. It is painted white with a black base and black lantern room, and it stands 57 feet tall. It now houses a fog signal and an acrylic optic light, but you can see its original Fourth Order Fresnel lens at the Historic White Pine Village Museum. One unique feature of this light is the prow-like structure underneath it, which helps break waves. Ludington was once a big lumber-producing town, and while the type of vessel visiting the harbor these days has changed it still stays busy with fishing boats and recreational vessels.
Ownership of the lighthouse was transferred to the City of Ludington and it is now operated with the help of SPLKA. This volunteer group also helps maintain and operate the Little Sable Point Lighthouse at Silver Lake State Park, the Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington State Park, and the White River Lighthouse in Muskegon County. To find out about being a volunteer lighthouse keeper, head over to the SPLKA website. The lighthouse can be walked to from Stearns Park, which also features a Lake Michigan beach, volleyball nets, playground equipment, picnic areas, and more.
The breakwater is a great place to watch the S.S. Badger car ferry leave or return. This historic 410 foot long vessel is the last coal-powered ship operating on the Great Lakes. It makes daily trips between Ludington and Manitowoc, Wisconsin, carrying passengers and vehicles.
Some of the other things we recommend in Ludington are Ludington State Park’s campground, beach, trails, and the Big Sable Point Lighthouse, Ludington Bay Brewing, Jamesport Brewing Co., the Sandcastles Children’s Museum, the Port of Ludington Maritime Museum, and the Mason County Lumber Heritage Trail.