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Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse Accessibility

The historic and natural environments of the Straits of Mackinac sometimes present impediments to accessibility. Blowing sand, natural trails and steep grades can make traveling difficult. Many 18th and 19th century buildings have entrance steps, narrow doorways and other physical barriers. The sites are mainly outside, feature loud noises, various smells, and people in period costumes. 

Continuous effort is made to make all aspects of Mackinac State Historic Parks accessible. Where possible, physical changes have removed barriers. Alternate programs or services provide additional access opportunities and future projects will continue to improve access.

Museum and Park Services

  • Accessible parking spaces are located at the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse parking lot. 
  • Guides to Access are available at admission sites. 
  • Captioning is provided for movies at all sites. 
  • Service animals are permitted at all sites and in all buildings with the exception of the Tower.
The numbers correspond to the numbers on the site map. Click here for a PDF of the Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse site map. Click here for a PDF of the Mackinaw City Guide to Access. 


Outdoor surfaces are paved sidewalks and grass.

Difficult Access

Access may be difficult for some visitors with mobility impairments in these areas:

  • The Marshall Gallery* (3) on the second floor of the Keepers’ Quarters (2) is only accessible via stairway. 
  • A confined curved staircase leads to the Tower* (4) in the lighthouse, and an 11-rung ladder leads to the top.
* Alternate program available
Alternate Programs and Entrances

  • An in-depth tour of the Tower (4) is located in the Barn (5). A shorter video can be found in the Keepers’ Quarters Gallery (2). 
  • A video of the Marshall Gallery (3) is located in the Keepers’ Quarters Gallery (2). 
  • A ramp leads to the south door of the Barn (5). Please ask for assistance.

Sensory Considerations

There is a schedule of programs available by clicking here, at the admissions location, and provided when purchasing a ticket. Below are some things to consider during your visit:
  • General
    • While all exhibits are indoors, visiting the lighthouse requires movement through outdoor spaces. The weather can change quickly in northern Michigan, ranging from hot to cold, calm to very windy, and dry to humid and rainy. The Straits of Mackinac Shipwreck Museum (6)  is air conditioned.   
    • While usually not too bad, a variety of insects may be present while visiting the lighthouse. In spring and early summer, non-biting/non-stinging flies will be found along the lakeshore in large numbers.
    • Snacks and drinks can be enjoyed throughout the site.
    • Some spaces, including the lighthouse tower (4), may become crowded during tours.
    • A limited number of guests are permitted to climb the tower (4) during pre-scheduled, guided tours. Guests must meet certain requirements to participate in tower tours- inquire at the admission area for details. Tower tours involve climbing a spiral staircase and ladder, and passing through a narrow opening. The lantern room at the top of the tower may be very warm. Alternative programs are provided for guests not participating in tower tours.
  • Sights
    • Museum staff wearing historical clothing are stationed throughout the site.
    • Some exhibit spaces are purposefully kept dark. Others are brightly lit.
    • Exhibits inside the Keepers’ Quarters (2)  include two illuminated lighthouse lenses, which cast focused beams of bright light.
  • Sounds
    • Museum staff will loudly announce the beginning of all programs.
    • Demonstrations of the fog whistle involve three short whistle blasts. Museum staff will warn visitors about the noise before sounding the whistle.
    • Traffic noises from the Mackinac Bridge can be heard throughout the site.
  • Smells
    • Some buildings may smell musty.

Program Bulletins

Click any link below for a PDF program bulletin:

Social Story Guide

Click here for a PDF social story for a visit to Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse.

All Accessibility at Mackinac State Historic Parks

Click here for access concerns at all Mackinac State Historic Parks sites.