Michigan Lighthouse Guide and Map: Charlevoix County Lighthouses

Michigan Lighthouse Guide and Map: Charlevoix County Lighthouses

Charlevoix South Pier Light 2023

It has been some time since we published a Michigan lighthouse county guide! We’ve covered more than 10 Michigan counties with these posts so far but still have many more to go. Today we turn our attention to Charlevoix County in the northern Lower Peninsula, where you can visit four lighthouses. One of these lighthouses is easy to visit on land in a beautiful park on the Lake Michigan shoreline, while two require a boat trip to Michigan’s “Emerald Isle” – Beaver Island, and a final one requires a trip with Shepler’s. There are already many great reasons to visit Charlevoix County (Fisherman’s Island State Park, Young State Park, Ernest Hemingway historic sites, Charlevoix’s downtown restaurants and shopping) and now we kick off a new year with a look at three lighthouses in the county that are worth visiting.

Charlevoix South Pier Light Sailboat

Charlevoix South Pier Light – First off is the Charlevoix South Pier Light, which can be visited at Michigan Beach Park just a few blocks west of downtown. 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 then in 2009 it was repainted red. 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. Michigan Beach Park is located at the west end of Park Ave.

For the next two lighthouses, a boat trip (or flight) to Beaver Island is required. Beaver Island Boat Company runs daily trips from Charlevoix and also offers island tours that.


Beaver Island Harbor (Whiskey Point) Light – As the boat approaches the island, the first light you will see is the 1870 harbor light, which replaced a shorter tower that was constructed here in the 1850s. The forty foot tower is constructed of Cream City brick and painted white, and was one of a handful of Michigan lights that was tended to by a female lightkeeper. Elizabeth Whitney (Van Riper) Williams helped her husband tend to this light and then took over after his death before transferring to a mainland light. She wrote a book about her time on the island, A Child of the Sea and My Life Among MormonsYou will get good views of this light as the boat pulls in and it is a short walk from the dock to get a closer view.

beaver island lighthouse

Beaver Island Head Lighthouse – From the Beaver Island Historical Society: “President Millard Fillmore laid aside a tract of land on Beaver Island comprising of 158.2 acres on November 21, 1850. Located at the southern end of Beaver Island, Beaver Head marked the west side of the approach most used by vessels passing from Lake Michigan into the Straits of Mackinac. The Beaver Head Lighthouse has undergone restoration over the years, and the current structure is still under renovation. The Lighthouse tower is open to the public, and many have climbed its winding stairway to view the northern waters of Lake Michigan, where this Lighthouse served such a critical role in the safety of shipping for over a century.” Since this lighthouse is at the other end of the island you will need your own vehicle or bicycle, or you can inquire about a tour that heads that way. The tower stands 46 feet tall and is attached to a brick two-story keeper’s dwelling.

Squaw Island Lighthouse Lake Michigan

Squaw Island Lighthouse – A small island north of Beaver Island is home to little more than trees and this now privately owned lighthouse. The best way to see it is from a Shepler’s Westbound Extended Lighthouse Cruise.