Old Mission Point Lighthouse – A Historic Beacon on the 45th Parallel
M-37 heads north from Traverse City for a little more than 17 miles, passing by orchards, wineries and scenic barns before it reaches its end. The Mission Point Lighthouse can be found at the end of this beautiful peninsula, a few hundred yards from the 45th parallel that marks the halfway point between the Equator and the North Pole. This historic lighthouse’s history dates back to 1870, and thanks to the efforts of local volunteers it is now open as a museum.
This lighthouse is incredibly popular due to its beautiful location, its unique appearance, and the history of the area being well-preserved in this small park. The beach here is a popular location for wading and kayaking, as the bay provides shelter from the wind and makes for calmer conditions.
The lighthouse is white, with the tower attached to the top of a dwelling that bears some resemblance to an old schoolhouse. The tower is 36 feet tall, and offers great views of the beach and the bay. It was an active aid to navigation until the 1930s, when it was replaced by a light farther out in the water. One of the best views of the lighthouse comes from the beach, where you are able to look back and see the lighthouse perched atop a dune with a wooden staircase leading down to the rocky beach.
An added bonus for those interested in history is the Hesler Log Cabin, a restored cabin that shows how pioneer families in the area lived in the 1840s. This is also a great spot to catch a memorable sunset.