White Shoal Light, Lake Michigan
The White Shoal Light is one of Michigan’s most recognizable lighthouses, thanks to its red and white “candy cane stripe” tower and its prominence in many of the state’s tourism campaigns over the years. Until recently this was the featured lighthouse on the state’s Save our Lights license plates, which donate proceeds from each plate sale to the preservation of Michigan’s historic lighthouses.
This 124 foot tall lighthouse is one of the tallest in the state, and it marks a dangerous shoal in Lake Michigan. A lightship marked this spot before the lighthouse was constructed. This is one of several lights located roughly 20 miles west of Mackinaw City and the Mackinac Bridge; other beacons include the Grays Reef Light, Waugoshance Light and Skilagalee Lighthouse. The White Shoal Light went into service in the 1910s, was automated in the 1970s, and continues to serve as an active aid to navigation. The conical brick tower is coated in gunnite, and painted red and white. The lantern room is aluminum, which is different than other Great Lakes lighthouses that typically have cast-iron lantern rooms.
The best way to see this unique Michigan lighthouse is by taking a westbound lighthouse cruise with Shepler’s Ferry out of Mackinaw City. This exciting excursion runs past the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse then under the Mackinac Bridge before visiting the St. Helena Island Lighthouse, Waugoshance Light, Grays Reef Light and White Shoal Light (an extended version also visits the Skilagalee Lighthouse). Find out more at https://www.sheplersferry.com/cruise/westbound-lighthouse-cruises/. Shepler’s also offers an eastbound lighthouse cruise that visits the Round Island Lighthouse, Round Island Passage Light, Bois Blanc Island Lighthouse, Poe Reef Light, Fourteen Foot Shoal Light, Cheboygan Crib Light, Cheboygan River Range Light and (on extended trips) the Spectacle Reef Light. Representatives of the GLLKA accompany each cruise to provide lighthouse history, fun and unique stories, and updates on ongoing preservation efforts.