Michigan Lighthouse Guide and Map: Huron County Lighthouses

Michigan Lighthouse Guide and Map: Huron County Lighthouses

Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse Top Post

Huron County makes up the tip of Michigan’s “Thumb” and includes more than 90 miles of shoreline on Lake Huron. Surrounded by water on three sides, there are many reasons why a few lighthouse were needed here. Rocky shoreline, shallow reefs, and other hazards have claimed many ships over the years and required the construction of lighthouses at Harbor Beach, Point Aux Barques, and Port Austin. It is possible to see all three Huron County lighthouses from land, and boat tours make it possible to get an up close view of two of them. Today we will show you how to visit the three lighthouses of Huron County and look at a bit of their history. It is only a 28 mile drive to visit all three and less than an hour of drive time. For our visits we usually start in Harbor Beach and head north:

Harbor Beach Lighthouse Kayak

Harbor Beach Lighthouse – We start things off in Harbor Beach, where Judge James H. Lincoln Park has a great beach and boardwalk that you can see the lighthouse from. If you have a kayak or boat you can get closer to this restored lighthouse, or if you time things right you can catch a tour with the Harbor Beach Lighthouse & Breakwall Preservation Society. This sparkplug style light shares some design similarities with ones we’ve seen on the East Coast, and was constructed in 1885 to help guide ships into the harbor of refuge here. The tower is 45 feet tall and white, and since out last visit the fog signal building has been reconstructed and sits next to the lighthouse.

Pointe Aux Barques Lighthouse Sunset Huron County

Point Aux Barques Lighthouse – A 15 mile drive north on M-25 leads to Lighthouse County Park, which is home to a popular campground on the Lake Huron shore as well as the Point Aux Barques Lighthouse and museum complex. This lighthouse is open for tours and tower climbs in the summer months, and an assistant keeper program lets visitors stay in the restored assistant keepers dwelling while helping guide visitors. The present lighthouse dates back to 1857 and was need to warn vessels of the rocky shoreline here. The tower is 89 feet tall and painted white, attached to a keepers dwelling. The Michigan historical marker here states that “the lighthouse was fully automated in 1934. Five years later, the last keeper retired, and the lifesaving station, made up of 15 buildings, was decommissioned.” Visiting now it’s hard to imagine a Life Saving Station complex with 15 buildings but still easy to see why it was necessary.

Port Austin Reef Lighthouse Michigan

Port Austin Reef Light – It is a 12 mile drive on M-25 to Port Austin and the home of the county’s third lighthouse. You can get distant views of the Port Austin Reef Light from the end of the breakwater at the Port Austin State Harbor/Veterans Waterfront Park. For a closer view you can take a trip with Port Austin Kayak or Radical Marine. The Port Austin Reef Light Association also offers trips and tours, although with 2024 construction projects scheduled it will be another year before those are offered again. This offshore light was constructed in the late 1870s to warn of a rocky and shallow reef in the lake. This stunning castle-like structure features a brick keepers dwelling with a 60 foot tall brick tower attached.