Michigan Lighthouse Guide and Map: Benzie County Lighthouses
For our seventh edition of the Michigan Lighthouse Guide and Map series we head back to Michigan’s west coast to check out the Benzie County Lighthouses. There are two lighthouses in Benzie County, and they each have very unique designs. Today we will show you how you can easily visit both of these lighthouses. The Frnakfort North Breakwater Light and the Point Betsie Lighthouse are only separated by five miles, or a drive of 10-15 minutes. If you’re visiting the Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, stopping and visiting these two historical beacons is an easy addition to your trip. Benzie County is home to around 18,000 residents but is a popular year-round destination for thousands of visitors looking to explore its beaches, sand dunes, skiing and snowmobiling trails, hiking trails, and historic attractions. This is our Michigan Lighthouse Guide and Map: Benzie County Lighthouses.
1. Frankfort North Breakwater Light – We start this short trip in Frankfort at the Frankfort Public Beach. This is a great spot to catch a Lake Michigan sunset! From the beach you can walk out to the end of the pier for a close up view of the Frankfort North Breakwater Light. The upper prat of this lighthouse dates back to 1912, when it stood guard at the end of the north pier. It was moved to the north breakwater in 1932. It was placed on top of a 25 foot steel base, giving it a total height of 67 feet. It is a steel square pyramidal tower and is white with a black cast iron lantern room at the top. The walk out to the lighthouse is a little more than a quarter mile long. This is a favorite fishing spot for many locals. Do not attempt to visit this lighthouse when waves are crashing over the breakwater.
2. Point Betsie Lighthouse – From Frankfort, head back into downtown and follow Main Street for a half mile before turning left on 7th St. Follow 7th as it becomes Crystal Rd./M-22 for about four miles, then turn left on Point Betsie Rd. Take Point Betsie Rd. to the end of the road where you will see parking for the lighthouse. The Point Betsie Lighthouse is one of Michigan’s most photographed lighthouses, due to its location and architecture as well as its paint color scheme. This is one of our favorite lighthouses to visit, and we have loved seeing the progress the Friends of Point Betsie Lighthouse have made in restoring this lighthouse and keeping it open to the public.
The Point Betsie Lighthouse sits atop a dune, and its 37 foot cylindrical tower is attached to a two story keeper’s dwelling with a gambrel roof. The tower is white and made of brick, the green trim on the tower and dwelling as well as the red roof, make it very picturesque against the blue waters of Lake Michigan. You can visit this lighthouse anytime, and even tour it during the summer months. Head over to https://pointbetsie.org/ to see current hours and admission rates, as well as details about volunteering or even renting the keeper’s house for a weekly stay. Check out our Photo Gallery: Point Betsie Lighthouse Tour to see more of what the museum here has to offer. We love the beach here for watching sunsets and looking for Petoskey stones.
Just south of Benzie County, you can visit the Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse (the only lighthouse on the Manistee County Lighthouse Tour). To the north, Leelanau County is home to six lighthouses (only two of them are on the mainland) and to the east Grand Traverse County is home to one lighthouse at Old Mission Point.