Michigan Lighthouse Guide and Map: Grand Traverse County Lighthouses

Michigan Lighthouse Guide and Map: Grand Traverse County Lighthouses

Grand Traverse County Lighthouses Old Mission Point

Grand Traverse County is home to nearly 100,000 residents and includes Traverse City, the most populated city in the northern Lower Peninsula. More than 460 acres of the the county’s total area (600 acres) is land, and part of that is the beautiful Old Mission Peninsula that is well-known for its wineries and scenic shoreline. It is on this peninsula that you will find the one and only lighthouse in the county, the Mission Point Lighthouse. Today as we take a look at one of the easier lighthouse county guides to put together, we will show you how to visit this historic lighthouse, which is open to the public in the summer months.

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Mission Point Lighthouse – Also referred to as the Old Mission Lighthouse and the Old Mission Point Lighthouse, this lighthouse dates back to 1870 and is currently open to the public for tours in the summer months (or for overnight stays as a volunteer keeper). It is located in a beautiful park at the northern tip of the Old Mission Peninsula, where there are trails, a historic log cabin, a beach, and a marker noting highlighting the 45th parallel (a few hundred feet offshore).

Old Mission Point Lighthouse Backyard View

The website for the lighthouse provides a brief history: “During the 1860’s a large ship hit a shallow reef and sank just in front of where Mission Point Lighthouse now sits. It was at this point that Congress set $6,000 aside for the construction of the lighthouse. However, it wasn’t completed until 1870 due to the Civil War. Mission Point Lighthouse was first lit on September 10, 1870. From 1870 through 1933, Mission Point’s light kept the waters at the end of Old Mission Peninsula safe for mariners. It was in 1933 that the lighthouse was decommissioned and later replaced with an automatic buoy light just offshore.”

Mission Point Lighthouse Tower View

Mission Point Lighthouse’s tower is 36 feet tall, and sits on the top of a two-story dwelling. The views from the tower are impressive and show why the light was needed to warn fo the shallow waters nearby. For a small fee, visitors are able enter the lighthouse where the first floor has a small museum and a gift shop. A set of stairs leads down to the beach, and as you look back up at the lighthouse it has the feel of an old one-room schoolhouse as it sits watching over the bay.

Mission Point Lighthouse 45th Parallel

You will find Old Mission State Park at the north end of M-37. Peninsula Township manages this property for the state and refers to it as Lighthouse Park. The parks trails are great for hiking, biking, and seeing plants and wildlife. The shallow waters near the lighthouse are popular for kayaking and stand-up paddleboarding.