Alpena’s “Little Red” Beacon
Little Red is the only lighthouse within the City of Alpena. The steel
skeletal-style lighthouse is viewable from Alpena’s boat harbor and
breakwall. Built in 1914, it replaced earlier wooden structures which
guided ships to safe port since the late 1800’s. It was added to the National
Register of Historic Places in 2006.
New Presque Isle Lighthouse
4500 E. Grand Lake Rd., Presque Isle, (989) 595-9917 or (989) 595-2752
The New Presque Isle Lighthouse was built in 1870 and is the tallest
lighthouse tower accessible by the public on the Great Lakes. The
original 3rd Order Fresnel Lens, a gift shop, and museum displays are
located in the connected keeper’s quarters. Visitors may climb the 130
steps to the top of the tower for a breathtaking, panoramic view. Situated
on a 99-acre township park featuring a playground, picnic area,
pavilion, and nature trails, the buildings and grounds are open to the
public from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., mid-May through mid-October. We
are open 7 days a week from June 15 through September 3 and open
Friday - Monday the rest of the season. Admission is free, although
a nominal fee is charged for tower climbs. The 1905 Keeper’s House,
located on the grounds of the New Presque Isle Lighthouse, has been
fully restored and serves as a museum operated by the Presque Isle
Township Museum Society. Supported by members and volunteers, the
house is open to the public Friday - Monday, 11 a.m. - 4 p.m., from May
25 through September 3. Free admission; donations accepted. (989)
Old Presque Isle Lighthouse
5295 E. Grand Lake Rd., Presque Isle, (989) 595-6979 or (989) 595-2752
The Old Presque Isle Lighthouse is one of the oldest surviving
publicly accessible lighthouses on the Great Lakes. Built in 1840, the
harbor light operated until 1871, when the keeper transferred to a new,
taller lighthouse a mile to the north (the New Presque Isle Lighthouse).
Visitors can climb the hand-hewn stone steps of the 30-feet-tall tower
for a beautiful view of Lake Huron and Presque Isle Harbor. They can
also ring the 1896 bell from the Lansing City Hall clock tower and pose
for a photo with head and hands in an old set of stocks. The keeper’s
dwelling is a hands-on museum and gift shop. The buildings and park
grounds are open to the public, from 10 a.m. until 6 p.m., mid-May
through mid-October. We are open 7 days a week from June 15
through September 3 and open Friday - Monday the rest of the season.
Admission is free, although a nominal fee is charged for tower climbs.
40-Mile Point Lighthouse
County Park Road, Rogers City
Previous to 1897, the Lake Huron coast between Thunder Bay and
Mackinaw was dark, thus a need for a light station at Forty Mile Point
ensuring mariners would never be out of viewing range of a lighthouse.
The light is 40 miles sailing distance from Mackinaw Point and Thunder
Bay. Follow “Shipwreck Trail” to see the part of the Joseph S. Fay
remaining on the beach; one of the 27 wooden ships that sank during
a fierce storm in 1905. 150’ of her hull rests on the beach near the Lighthouse.
Other features include steamer Calcite pilot house, a picnic area,
swimming beach and nature trails.
Sturgeon Point Lighthouse
Point Road, Harrisville
Until the early 20th Century, northern Michigan was almost completely
dependent on waterborne commerce for all of its needs. Thousands
of sailing vessels and early steamers plied the Great Lakes at a time
when there were almost no aids of navigation to guide them along
the dangerous coastline with its treacherous rocks, shoals and reefs.
One such reef extends 1-1/2 miles out into Lake Huron at Sturgeon
Point, just north of Harrisville. In 1869, the Lighthouse Service began
construction of the lighthouse at Sturgeon Point to mark this hazard.
Sturgeon Point Lighthouse became operational in the spring of 1870.
The keeper’s house is now a maritime museum which is open to the
public on weekends from Memorial Day to Labor Day Weekend. The
lighthouse tower is open to the public Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays
from 11a.m. to 3:30p.m. for a fee. The grounds are open all year.
Thunder Bay Island Lighthouse
Thunder Bay Island is situated in the center of the Thunder Bay National
Marine Sanctuary in Lake Huron. In 1846, the first store in Alpena
County was built on the island to support a fishing community, which
harvested twelve thousand barrels of fish. At this time, 160 inhabitants
called the island home, and operated a fleet of 31 fishing boats. The first
light tower established on the island was constructed in 1832, making it
the second oldest light tower still standing on Lake Huron. The station
was placed on the National Historic Register in 1984. The lighthouse is
not open to the public but can be viewed via boat from the water.
Middle Island Lighthouse
Middle Island Light Station is located in Lake Huron, halfway between
Thunder Bay Island and Presque Isle. There are seven buildings on the
island, including a light tower, Keepers Quarters, an Oil House, Tool
Garage, a Fog Horn building and two brick privies. The light is 78 feet
above low water and can be seen for 17 miles. The lighthouse can be
viewed via boat from the water.
Customized Tours and Excursions
420 N. Second Ave., Alpena, (989) 340-2288
The Alpena Area Convention & Visitors Bureau can create specialized
adventures for small and large groups. With advance request, a variety
of experiences can be recommended to suit your interests. Step-on
guide services are also available for a fee. Just call for details!
Alpena Shipwreck Tours aboard Glass Bottom Boat
500 W. Fletcher St., Alpena, (888) 469-4696
Come and explore the shipwrecks of the Thunder Bay National Marine
Sanctuary on the 65-foot glass-bottomed boat Lady Michigan! Two
large viewing wells on the main deck give passengers a front row view
of historical shipwrecks on the bottom of Lake Huron. A delight for
all ages, the 2 1/2 -hour cruise can include incredible views of historic
lighthouses and picturesque Thunder Bay Island. Daily tours are from
May-October. Individual tickets can be purchased at the Sanctuary Gift
Store at the Great Lakes Maritime Heritage Center, located at 500 W.
Fletcher St. in Alpena. The Lady Michigan docks just behind the Great
Lakes Maritime Heritage Center on the Thunder Bay River. Group
tours are available and reservations are recommended. Visit www.
AlpenaShipWreckTours.com or call (888) 469-4696 for reservations
and more information.
In the days before ship-to-shore radio and global positioning systems,
lighthouses were the only signposts on the Great Lakes. If you couldn’t
see them or the stars and sun, you were driving blind. You can check
out the tour by downloading Lighthouse Exploration Adventure
Guide from VisitAlpena.com or you may also stop by the Community
Development Building in Alpena and pick up a printed copy of the selfguided
tour. For more information, call (989) 354-4181.
26 Sanctuary of the Great Lakes