Get Here

Get Here

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse is located just east of the Mackinac Bridge in Mackinaw City. To help map your route, click here

History

History

With maritime traffic in the Straits of Mackinac steadily increasing, Congress authorized the construction of a light station at Old Mackinac Point in 1889. The new station was to replace an existing light at McGulpin Point, two miles to the west, which was not visible to vessels sailing on Lake Huron. A fog signal went into operation at Old Mackinac Point in 1890, and the lighthouse itself was completed and lit for the first time in 1892. A storage barn and oil house completed the station. Old Mackinac Point’s flashing red light, shining atop a stately stone tower and castle-like keepers’ quarters, was visible for 16 miles, guiding sailors through the sometimes treacherous waters of the Straits of Mackinac. For 65 years the keepers of Old Mackinac Point stood watch every night to monitor the station’s equipment. The Old Mackinac Point light station was decommissioned in 1957, replaced by navigational aids mounted on the newly-constructed Mackinac Bridge.

The Mackinac Island State Park Commission acquired the light station in 1960, and opened it to the public as the center of the Michilimackinac Maritime Park in 1972. After closing in the 1990s, the light station reopened to the public in 2004. Today, the site is being restored to its appearance around 1910, and historic interpreters are on hand to greet visitors and lead them on tours up the tower.

To learn more about the history of Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, visit the history page.

Tower Tour

Climb the tower to take in the spectacular view of the Straits of Mackinac, the Mackinac Bridge, and several nearby islands. Tower tours are guided by an historic interpreter every 15 minutes. You will be assigned a tour time when you purchase your admission ticket. Climb 51 steps to the watch room before continuing up the 13-rung ladder into the lantern room, where the Fresnel lens once rotated. Your climb will be rewarded with a sweeping, panoramic view of the Straits of Mackinac!

For those who wish to remain on ground level and still experience the tour, a video of the tour and spectacular view is available to watch in the base of the tower.

Guidelines

To climb the tower, you must be at least 4 feet tall and wear secured shoes. Flip flops are not permitted. Read the complete “Tower Tour” Guidelines.

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse

Made to be seen. 

This is Mackinac.

A point in the storm and a guiding beacon since 1889, Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse helped passing ships navigate through the treacherous waters of the Straits of Mackinac. Authentically restored quarters and exhibits, including the original lens, a chance to explore the second floor of the house, tours of the lighthouse tower, a movie, Shipwrecks of the Straits, and the Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Museum make this “Castle of the Straits” a true gem of the Great Lakes.

Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse is closed for the 2022 season. We will re-open May 11, 2023. 

Highlights

Exhibits

A map and descriptions of buildings at Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse.

Click to enlarge.

The Keepers’ Quarters contains three rooms restored to their 1910 appearance and a gallery exhibit on the history of the lighthouse featuring hands-on displays and original artifacts. A new exhibit devoted to optics and lenses as well as sound and fog signals is located on the main floor of the house. On the second floor, a gallery space and two bedrooms restored to their appearance in 1910 tell the story of the Keeper George Marshall, his wife Maggie, and their extended family as they lived and worked at the lighthouse.

Movie

A fifteen-minute program, Shipwrecks of the Straits, is presented in the Barn. It repeats continuously.

Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Museum

Located in the reconstructed warehouse, this exhibit features audiovisual displays and a variety of original artifacts to tell the story of the numerous shipwrecks that dot the Straits of Mackinac.

Fog Signal Whistle

A demonstration of the Fog Signal Whistle, led by a costumed interpreter, will take place in front of the Fog Signal Building at 10:00 a.m., 12:00 p.m., 2:00 p.m., and 4:00 p.m.

Tower Tours

Tours of the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse tower take place at scheduled times throughout the day. Space is limited to 10 people per tour, and tower tour times are assigned by the Guest Services Representative in the Fog Signal Building. Tours of the tower are offered at no charge, but are not guaranteed with admission. Certain restrictions apply to tours of the tower. Tower tours are offered at 9:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 11:30 a.m., 1:00 p.m., 1:30 p.m., 2:30 p.m., 3:00 p.m., and 3:30 p.m. Scheduled groups may limit tower tour availability – check with the Guest Services Representative upon arrival.

Watch the video below to see all that Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse has to offer!