Visit the Grand Haven Lighthouse and Pier
A visit to Ottawa County's Grand Haven will find bustling activity along the waterfront. Here you'll find Michigan's longest river emptying into Lake Michigan after smoothly gliding along the breakwater pier. The Grand River offers opportunities for fishing fleets, Coast Guard vessels, and pleasure boaters to ply their transports out onto the big lake. Whether visiting the beach to relax or play volleyball, one can't help but notice the mesmerizing sight of the breakwater.
A series of lights draped like holiday lights run along the pier, only broken in the middle by the sight of a lighthouse. This inner lighthouse, built in 1905, is typical in style to many of the lighthouses we're familiar with. The round tower looks elegant in its vivid red with lights stringing out on either side. As we follow the lights towards the lake we come to the breakwater's second lighthouse. This outer light, built in 1875, has its own charm and resembles a small barn in appearance. At one time the outer light was equipped with a fog horn which could warn ships in harm's way when the light could not be seen. The west side of the light sports a structure similar to the bow of a ship. This protects the light from the heavy swells so common on Lake Michigan.
The U.S. Coast Guard determined in 2009 that it would no longer maintain the lights, and they are now owned by the City of Grand Haven. However, they are maintained by the Grand Haven Lighthouse Conservancy, a group dedicated to "keeping the lights on".
If you are visiting the Grand Haven area, make sure and take time to visit these grand old structures. Take a walk along the pier, enjoy the cool lake breeze, and get a feel for the history of these charming lights. Make sure and schedule some extra time for relaxing on one of Michigan's finest beaches!
Article written by Craig Sterken Photography.
Discover More Lake Michigan Lighthouses...
- West Michigan Lighthouses
- Northwest Michigan Lighthouses
- Northern Michigan Lighthouses
- Wisconsin Lighthouses
Ludington's North Breakwater Light -- Walk the half-mile long pier to West Michigan's most popular lighthouse.
North Pierhead Lighthouse in Manistee -- At the Manistee beach.
Little Sable Point Lighthouse -- Located at the Silver Lake Sand Dunes.
Big Sable Point Lighthouse -- Located in the Ludington State Park.
Pentwater Pier Head Lights -- At the channel to Pentwater Lake.
Grand Haven Lighthouse -- The Grand Haven lighthouse is at the mouth of the Grand River.
White River Light Station in Whitehall -- Operated by the Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers.
Grand Traverse Light Station -- Located on the tip of the Leelanau Peninsula in Northern Michigan, The Grand Traverse Light was established in 1852.
Point Betsie Light Station -- Nestled in a dune just south of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, the tower stands 39 feet tall, but with the height of the dune it towers 52 feet above Lake Michigan.
Harbor Point Lighthouse -- Located in Harbor Springs in Northern Michigan.
McGulpin Point Lighthouse -- This lighthouse is located in the Straits of Mackinac at Mackinaw City.
Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse -- Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse is in Mackinaw City.
Manitowoc North Breakwater - Walk out to the end of the pier to this Manitowoc lighthouse, and wave to the carferry S.S. Badger as the ship passes by.
Algoma North Pierhead - This lighthouse can be seen all along the Crescent Beach Boardwalk and is accessible via the pier if you want to venture closer.
Kewaunee Pierhead Lighthouse - Located in Kewaunee, Wisconsin...halfway between Sturgeon Bay and Manitowoc along Lake Michigan.