Michigan Lighthouse Guide and Map: Ottawa County Lighthouses
Ottawa County is Michigan’s seventh largest county by population and 52nd by land area. Known for its beautiful sandy beaches along Lake Michigan, it is home to three lighthouses. For this installment of our lighthouse guides we will show you how easy it is to visit these three iconic beacons along Michigan’s west coast. Visits to two state parks provides access and great views of these bright red lighthouses that are located just a half hour away from each other. Our Michigan Lighthouse Guide and Map: Ottawa County will guide you to the Holland Harbor Lighthouse and the Grand Haven South Pier Lights!
1. Holland Harbor Lighthouse – “Big Red” is one of the state’s most famous and most photographed lighthouses. It can easily be seen from Holland State Park (MI Recreation Pass require) at the beach. This 1907 lighthouse stands 42 feet tall on the south end of the channel that connects Lake Michigan and Lake Macatawa. According to the Michigan historical marker here, “it has a gabled roof that reflects the Dutch influence in the area.”
2 and 3. Grand Haven Inner and Outer Pier Lights – From Holland State Park we head north to the other Ottawa County lighthouses. A half hour scenic drive along Lakeshore Ave. leads to Lighthouse Connector Park in Grand Haven. There are many options for visiting the pier and these lights (Grand Haven State Park, north channel parking area in Ferrysburg, park anywhere along the south side of the river and walk) but Lighthouse Connector Park offers the most direct access. Beautiful in any season, these lights and the pier underwent significant restoration from 2016 to 2019. Recent efforts have included painting and structural repairs as work continues to open the lighthouses for tours.
The Grand Haven South Pierhead Inner Light is a 51 foot tall red cylindrical tower. The catwalk connecting the two lights is one of only four that remains in Michigan.
The Grand Haven South Pierhead Entrance Light is 36 feet tall and has a light atop a multi-story building. It is also painted red and has a concrete structure resembling the prow of a ship to help protect it from ice and other weather on Lake Michigan.