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A Tour of the Lighthouses: Mears, Whitehall and Muskegon

Submitted by: Laura Niemiec

The best plans are sometimes spur of the moment, as was a trip to check three more lighthouses off of my list one very foggy day in March. I packed a day bag and grabbed my camera then pointed my Jeep north towards Mears, Michigan with one goal in mind — getting there before sunrise so I could photograph the Little Sable Point Lighthouse at dawn. Needless to say, the heavy fog turned my 2 hour and 45 minute trip into 3.5 hours putting me in the empty parking lot a little south of Silver Lake Sand Dunes and in a parking space about 300 feet from the towering 108 foot brick lighthouse built in 1847. I was in awe as I climbed the surrounding dunes, explored the empty beach and even laid down right in front of the entrance to the lighthouse to get a photo of it with a unique angle. Going in early March, I was unable to tour as they are closed to climb the stairs to the top until May, but I also didn’t have to pay any entrance fees. During the regular season, you’ll need a state park pass or pay a fee to enter the lot along with a small fee ($3 adults, $1 for children 12 and under) to climb the tower.

Little Sable Point Lighthouse

From Mears, I drove a few miles south to White River Light Station in Whitehall. The lighthouse on the shore of the White River has an attached dwelling and is built of brick and limestone with a very unique roof. White River Light Station operates seasonally as a museum these days from May until November where you can tour and climb the stairs to the light for a small fee ($5 adults, $2 children). Parking in the area is limited as it is near the pier and there are quite a few fisherman who line of up hoping for a catch. Take a stroll on the pier while you’re there for a visit. Not only will you get a view of White River and Lake Michigan but as you head out on the pier you get an excellent view of the light station hovering behind the dune grass. This lighthouse is also on Costal Living’s Top 15 Haunted Lighthouse list which notes the ghost likes to help the caretakers keep the place clean.

White River Lighthouse

Leaving Whitehall and heading into Muskegon, the winds picked up and I knew it wouldn’t be long before the rain arrived but I still hoped to make it in time to take a few photos of the bright red Muskegon Pier Light (also known as South Pierhead Light). As I pulled into a parking spot at Pere Marquette Park, it had started to drizzle so I snapped a few photos of the 1903 lighthouse, the third lighthouse built in Muskegon, from the harbor before making the trek back to Indiana. During the summer afternoons, you can take tours of the Muskegon Pier Light ($4 adults, $2 children).

Muskegon Pier Lighthouse

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