The day after visiting Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, we headed south to Big Sable Point Lighthouse in Ludington, Michigan. It was supposed to rain in the afternoon, so Tom, Sandy, and I headed out first thing in the morning to take the hike the Big Sable Point Lighthouse.
The only way to get to Big Sable Point Lighthouse is to walk the two mile trail to the lighthouse and back. In the summer there are shuttle buses you can take to get to the Lighthouse, but we were there after the buses were discontinued for the year. The Big Sable Point Lighthouse is open six days a week from Memorial Day through the end of October. The cost to go inside the lighthouse and take the tour is $5. The lighthouse is closed on Mondays, but the grounds are still open. We were there, of course, on a Monday but we were looking forward to seeing the lighthouse and didn’t need to go inside.
Big Sable Point Lighthouse was constructed in 1867 and was manned by a keeper until 1949. In 1949 it was the last lighthouse to be electrified which eliminated the need for a keeper. It was still staffed by the Coast Guard until 1972. In 1987 the Big Sable Point Lighthouse Keepers Association was formed to preserve the historic landmark. They have worked on restoration, preservation, and staffing the lighthouse to greet visitors ever since. The Big Sable Point Lighthouse is listed on both the state and national registers of historic places.
The day we visited turned out to be a perfect day to walk to the lighthouse. It was sunny with big clouds and a brisk breeze that kept it from getting too warm. I was anticipating walking on the sandy beach for the two mile hike, but there was a packed service road all the way to the lighthouse. This made it much easier to walk, and we enjoyed the shade through the transitional forest ecosystem.
The Big Sable Point Lighthouse is an impressive structure on the point. The black and white stripes are distinctive and the keeper’s house looked spacious and comfortable. We saw the foghorn structure and spent some time watching the Lake Michigan waves pound the shore.
We decided to walk back along the beach to enjoy more time along the lake. The only problem with this was not knowing where to cross back to get to the parking lot where we left the car. After walking about 1.5 miles, we headed over the sand dunes so we could get back to the service road and the car. We found it without any trouble, although it seemed like the dune area was wider than it should have been.
After our hike we had lunch in a nice picnic area next to the parking lot. The Big Sable Point Lighthouse is located in Ludington Beach State Park which means you need the Michigan State Park Passport Sticker. Or else pay a daily fee. The parks were really strict about enforcing the sticker and we were glad we got one before our trip began. It paid for itself over and over in price as well as convenience.
The Big Sable Point Lighthouse was worth the walk. It is a beautiful lighthouse on a scenic point in Lake Michigan.