21 B&Bs near Michigan Lighthouses- Updated April 2024

What do we mean by ‘near’? 10 miles or 10 minutes away or less!

We compiled this particular list of 21 B&Bs near Michigan lighthouses to highlight — with three exceptions — those you can easily drive, bike, or stroll to from your B&B to watch a sunrise, sunset, boats, lake storm a-brewing, or simply admire these beloved icons of our past.

And starting with the above photo of Holland’s Big Red Lighthouse by Nicholas Klein, we’re also highlighting the work of several professional or talented hobbyist photographers who have a soft spot for Michigan lighthouses.

Book a quality-assured Michigan B&B anywhere near the shores of lakes Michigan, Huron or Superior, and you’ll be in a good position to check multiple lighthouses off your list if you make a day or half-day out of it.

A view of the steep circular stairway inside White River Station Light for a blog post about B&BS near Michigan lighthouses
Staircase inside White River Station Light in Whitehall. (Photo by Troy Zawacke.)

Dedicated lighthouse collectors are advised to plan their trips using the Michigan Lighthouse Guide, available online or as a folded map. Michigan has more than 120 lighthouses, more than any other state. You’ll need more than one trip to photograph them all. Some of our favorites are also highlighted in this article.

Planning to climb a lighthouse? Many require closed-toe shoes — no flip-flops — because the stairs are narrow and steep. Check hours and closure dates in advance online or by calling. Many lighthouse museums and gift shops are staffed by knowledgeable, unpaid volunteers. Pay entrance fees cheerfully; they help fund ongoing restoration and visitor amenities.

Numerous other quality-assured bed and breakfasts found here are close to great lighthouses, but for this article, the lighthouses needed to be within 10 miles or 10 minutes of the B&Bs.


Tawas Point Lighthouse, East Tawas

Glorious sunset at Tawas Point Lighthouse
Mike Mishler was on his way home to Holly, MI, from his job as an EMS technician in Iosco County when he sensed that Mother Nature could be assembling the perfect ingredients for a glorious July 2021 sunset. He diverted to Tawas Point State Park and waited patiently for this moment. (Photo: Lincat Photography)

Stay: Always a Holiday! Bed and Breakfast, East Tawas. Three guest rooms. Walk to downtown.

Always a Holiday! is located in downtown East Tawas, Michigan, and is only a short stroll from East Tawas State Dock and Tawas Bay, which opens onto Lake Huron. Three comfortable guest rooms. Walk to downtown. They are located on the fourth block of Newman Street, which is known for small shops, eateries, and entertainment. Events and festivals are also popular on Newman Street during the summer. You can also venture less than five miles away from Newman Street and be at Tawas Point State Park and Lighthouse.

Proximity to the lighthouse: 4.6 miles. A 10-minute drive; 23 minutes by bike



Au Sable Pierhead Light, Oscoda

Au Sable Pierhead Light in its downtown Oscoda location
The Au Sable Pierhead Light is in its downtown Oscoda location near US-23. (November 2018 photo by Patricia Alvord for the Oscoda Press.)

Stay:  two lovely choices in the area

  • Huron House, one of Michigan’s best-known romantic destinations, is located on Lake Huron Beach. 14 king-bed rooms with beautiful sunrise views of Lake Huron. Breakfast is delivered to your room each day.
  • Also nearby is the lakeside lodging at the Sweetwater Sea B&B. Here you will find four comfortable guest rooms, one that is ADA, and an electric car charger. Guests are treated to homemade bread each day and lovely views with a private beach and deck.
  • Proximity to light: Huron House- 3.6 miles. Five-minute drive; and 17 minutes to bike along North US-23. Sweetwater Sea- 11.8 miles via a picturesque drive on US-23

About the lighthouse: Unlike most Michigan lighthouses, the Au Sable Pierhead Light has been moved, more than once, from its original location at the mouth of the 138-mile Au Sable River. Unlike most Michigan lighthouses, this one never had on-site housing for its keepers. It also started life in 1873 as an open-framework, square-based wooden structure and later was replaced by a similar metal one. Civic-minded citizens rescued it from an uncertain fate, had it refurbished and repainted, and it was installed in its downtown Oscoda location in 2018. See it lighted at night. Before or after, take a stroll on the nearby 450-foot observation and fishing pier jutting out over Lake Huron.


Old and New Presque Isle Lighthouses, Presque Isle

Bride and groom walking with New Presque Isle Lighthouse in the background
The New Presque Isle Lighthouse is part of the bride’s family history. The great-great-great grandmother of Kate Szydlowski, walking withher  husband Adam, was born at the Old Presque Isle Light, to keeper Patrick Garrity and his wife. Later, Mr. Garrity became the first keeper of the New Presque Isle Light, which is where the Szydlowskis renewed their vows in May 2021. (Pure North Photography)

Stay: Presque Isle Lodge Bed and Breakfast Inn, Presque Isle. Eight rooms. Seasonal. Located between Lake Huron and Grand Lake, a 5,660-acre lake with 16 islands. Can accommodate up to 200 people for events, such as the reception for the bridal-attired couple in the photo. Review excerpt: “Spent a fabulous night in the Honeymoon suite, canoed Grand Lake the next day and had great conversations with Robin. The lodge is really, really cool and the lake is gorgeous. Huron waters are amazing too—color and landscape plus lighthouses are wonderful!”

Proximity to Old Presque Isle Lighthouse: 3.3 miles. Five minutes to drive; 16 minutes to bike.

New Presque Isle Lighthouse: 4.3 miles. Seven minutes to drive; 20 minutes to bike.

About the lighthouses: The 30-foot-high Old Presque Isle lighthouse served for 30 years starting in 1840 and marks the entrance to one of the best natural harbors of refuge on the Michigan shore of Lake Huron.

By 1868, the keeper’s house was deteriorating, leading to discussions that ended with a decision to build a taller lighthouse — the New Presque Isle Lighthouse — on the north side of the peninsula. It remains an active aid to navigation. Its original 3rd order Fresnel (fray-NELL) lens is on display. What’s special about a lens? In a time before electrification, the size and design of these glass marvel greatly magnified the light from the oil-fired lamp atop the tower, thus helping to make the lakes safer for mariners.

You can climb both lighthouses. The views from the top of especially the newer lighthouses come highly recommended in Google reviews, as do the interpretive history displays and gift shop.


Big Bay Point Lighthouse, Big Bay

Big Bay Point Lighthouse exterior, of our B&Bs near Michigan lighthouses, this is the very closest because the lighthouse is a B&B.
Troy Zawacke, who took this photo in June 2021, and his wife Pamela of Kalamazoo were among the first guests after lighthouse preservationist Nick Korstad bought Big Bay Point Lighthouse in 2018. They go back every year and marvel at the improvements Nick has made. Korstad says the Zawackes have become “like family.”

Stay: Right there! Big Bay Point Lighthouse  is a quality-assured B&B. Only guests can go inside or climb the tower, but other visitors can view the lighthouse and Lake Superior from the expansive lawn — outside of a fenced area reserved for guests — or explore trails on the 40-acre wooded property between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m. Birders especially enjoy the property. Review excerpt: “Nick has given attention to every inch of detail of this splendid place to make our stay cozy and unforgettable! He’s been a pleasure to talk to and has a great amount of knowledge about lighthouses.”

About the lighthouse: Outfitted with a 1940s-era rotating beacon whose light is visible for 20 nautical miles, Big Bay Point Lighthouse remains an active, U.S. Coast Guard-monitored aid to mariners. The lighthouse’s original 3rd order Fresnel lens, built-in 1895, has been returned to the inn after a stint in a museum. It’s the star of a second-floor room displaying marine navigation artifacts. Exploring the room is a perk for B&B guests.


Copper Harbor and Eagle Harbor lighthouses

Copper Harbor lighthouse as seen from a park across the harbor
Since the road to Copper Harbor Lighthouse is private, most photographers will capture a view of it like this from across the harbor. (Photo by Troy Zawacke)

Stay: Dapple-Gray Bed and Breakfast, Eagle Harbor Township. Four rooms. Sits on a hill overlooking Lake Superior. Review snippet: “A very unique B&B with positive vibes and happy customers. Spacious, clean rooms on great property for viewing northern lights or watching gnarly storms blow through. 2 miles outside Copper Harbor. Loved the innkeepers and the breakfast! The perfect place to read a book — or write one!”

Close, but…: Copper Harbor Lighthouse is 5.2 miles away and would be a 13-minute drive — IF you could drive all the way there. Alas, although the lighthouse itself is owned by the State of Michigan and considered to be part of Fort Wilkins State Park, the road leading from the main part of the park to the lighthouse is private.

Almost as close: Eagle Harbor Lighthouse: 12 miles, 21 minutes

About the lighthouses: Copper Harbor Light occupies the most northerly point of land in Michigan. Google reviewers who go there in kayaks or private boats say the grounds are interesting to explore and photograph.

The best alternative vantage points for photographers are Hunter’s Point Park or a parking area off US-41 next to where Fanny Hooe Creek flows into the bay.

The lighthouse uses the “schoolhouse” design popular in the 1860s. Since its decommissioning, mariners are guided by an automated light atop the metal tower seen in the photo.

Eagle Harbor Light, another decommissioned lighthouse with an automated navigational beacon maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard, is noteworthy for the amount of fascinating, well-told history you’re exposed to in just one visit. The Keweenaw Historical Society operates four museums here. Besides the lighthouse, which sits on a rocky outcropping at the entrance to Eagle Harbor — making you wonder how they ever managed to build it — you can visit a Maritime Museum, a Keweenaw History Museum, and a Commercial Fishing Museum.


Mission Point Lighthouse, Traverse City

A man silhouetted inside the lantern room atop Mission Point Lighthouse.
The lantern room atop Mission Point Lighthouse offers outstanding views of the beach and lake. (Photo: Jay Edward Photography for Mission Point Lighthouse)

Stay:  Grey Hare Inn is an elegant country vineyard estate located on Old Mission Peninsula in the heart of scenic Northern Michigan wine country. Surrounded by a breathtaking vineyard, cherry orchard and distant views of Grand Traverse Bay, Grey Hare Inn offers an almost guaranteed peaceful getaway.

Proximity to light: 11.1 miles, a 14-minute drive

About the light: Mission Point Lighthouse is popular for its relatively uncrowded, sandy beach, its easy walk from the parking area, the Lake Michigan views from the tower, and the pleasant drive through vineyards and orchards to get there. One reviewer wrote: “Fresh air, crystal clear water, and the beautiful scenery. What else do you need?!”


Robert H. Manning Memorial Lighthouse, Empire

Robert H Manning Memorial light for article on B&Bs near Michigan lighthouses
Robert H. Manning, who died in 1989, must have been one heckuva man for his friends to have pooled resources and had this beacon built in his memory.

Stay: Cottonwood Inn Bed and Breakfast, Empire. Six guest rooms. Empire is the headquarters of Sleeping Bear National Lakeshore, and scenic M-22 goes right through town. Review excerpt: “The owner is so accommodating! The rooms are spacious and thoroughly cleaned. The breakfasts are wonderful! If you let them know about dietary restrictions they go above and beyond to make sure you have a wide variety to choose from. Highly recommend to anyone wanting something different from the average hotel experience.”

Proximity to light: 1.3 miles via M-72 West, a five-minute drive

About the light: Lifelong Empire resident and avid Lake Michigan fisherman Robert H. Manning was said to have often remarked that Empire had no lighthouse to guide the small craft to the boat launch. After he died in 1989, friends had a memorial lighthouse built to honor him. One reviewer said it’s “adorable.” Another said “meh.” But most reviewers agree that the surrounding village park offers a great beach and beautiful sunset views. Lake storms with high waves bring Petoskey stone hunters afterward to scan the beach.


Port Sanilac Lighthouse, Port Sanilac

Port Sanilac Lighthouse
Port Sanillac Lighthouse

Stay:  Raymond House Inn B&B– Historic charm meets comfort and warm hospitality at the Raymond House in the Lake Huron village of Port Sanilac. With seven rooms, including a family suite, Raymond House is less than two hours northeast of Detroit’s city center and 43 minutes north of Port Huron. As harbor towns go, this is a quieter and more laid-back cousin to Lexington, 11 miles to our south. This is one reason so many people love Port Sanilac.

Proximity to light: one block away

About the light:  the Port Sanilac Lighthouse was constructed in 1886 and is now owned by a lighthouse preservationist, who opens it to tours periodically.


Manistee North Pierhead Light, Manistee

Manistee North Pierhead Light for article about B&Bs near Michigan lighthouses
The concrete Manistee North Pier glistens after a rain. Todd and Brad Reed are a father-son team of professional photographers based in Ludington. Thanks, ToddandBradReed.com for the use of the image.

Stay: The Canfield House Bed and Breakfast, also known as the inn on two lakes, overlooks beautiful Portage Lake, which connects to Lake Michigan in Onekama, 45 miles southwest of Traverse City. Built in 1900 as the summer home of lumber baron Charles Canfield, Canfield House Bed and Breakfast’s six guest rooms have been completely renovated while retaining the original charm.

Proximity to the pier: Fifteen miles, a twenty-four-minute drive.

About the light: The Manistee North Pierhead Light, sitting at the end of a quarter-mile-long concrete pier at the mouth of the Manistee River, has been owned and managed by the City of Manistee and the Manistee County Historical Museum since 2011. The exterior has since been extensively renovated, and fundraising to refurbish the interior is ongoing. Reviews mention strolling on the pier, enjoying the nearby beach, and photographing the sunsets.


Big Sable Point Lighthouse, Ludington, AND…

Big Sable Light after sunset
Big Sable Light after sunset. SEEN Magazine listed photographer Jennie Miozzi among 50 Michigan nature and landscape photographers to follow on Instagram. Here you go: jennies_captures88

…Ludington North Breakwater Light

Ludington North Breakwater Light in Ludington at sunset
Your eyes are not playing tricks on you. Ludington’s North Breakwater Light does lean a bit, about 4 degrees. After the crib on which the tower sits shifted a bit during a 1994 renovation, the Army Corps of Engineers determined it was safe to leave it that way. Notice that the base is shaped like the prow of a ship, designed to help break up the waves. (Photo by Mike Mishler of Lincat Photography)

Stay: Talk about B&Bs near Michigan lighthouses! You get your choice of two lighthouses and four great B&Bs in Ludington. In alphabetical order:

  • Candlelite Inn B&B: 7 guest rooms. Innkeeper Melanie serves a candlelit breakfast every morning. Sample review: “The hospitality that Melanie and her sons, Chris and Kyle, display is remarkable. The flexibility in serving and the number of options available for breakfast is absolutely amazing! Also, the quality of the presentation and the ingredients of the food and sweets are positively astounding. We have visited numerous bed and breakfasts over a period of twenty years. The Candlelight Inn Bed and Breakfast has reset the bar for excellence and is now our absolute favorite B&B in terms of location and staff service.”
  • Lamplighter B&B of Ludington: 5 guest rooms. Voted #1 Red Hot Best in its region by Traverse magazine in 2021. Review snapshot: “The Lamplighter is THE place to stay in Ludington, Michigan. The house is perfectly located and beautifully appointed, and you’ll not find better hosts than Dan and Jen. The rooms are clean, cozy, and comforting, and Jen’s breakfasts are truly top-notch. I’ve stayed at The Lamplighter a handful of times over the last few years, and each time I leave I’m soon longing for my next stay.”
  • Ludington House B&B: 8 guest rooms. A one-time lumber baron mansion and now a sister property to the Cartier Mansion.  The home has loads of character, and has a great balance of modern necessities  and historic charm.”
  • Cartier Mansion:  10 guest rooms (4 pet-friendly & 1 accessible) Standing proudly in all its grandeur, the iconic Cartier Mansion epitomizes stunning neo-classic architecture and an era of elegance and grace. The sprawling historic mansion and the renovated carriage house combine historical elements with the most modern comforts, making it a premiere destination in Northern Michigan.

Proximity to lighthouses: To get to Big Sable Point Lighthouse from any of the four B&Bs, it’s about six miles, a 16-minute drive, to the parking area. To get to the North Breakwater Light is about a mile to the parking area, four minutes.

About the lights: The North Breakwater Light marks the exit into Lake Michigan of Pere Marquette Lake and the 46-mile-long Pere Marquette River. French Roman Catholic missionary Jacques Marquette died in 1675 near the mouth of the river and is buried there. Look for a monument to him and his explorations. The pierhead and light, replaced over the years, were essential to Ludington’s lumbering and sawmill industries in the latter half of the 1800s. The SS Badger car ferry to Manitowoc, WI, comes and goes past the North Breakwater Lights. People also walk out on the less-crowded South Breakwater Pier, where there is a lighted aid to navigation but no lighthouse.

It’s estimated that nearly 10,000 ships have sunk in Lake Michigan and nearly 300,000 people have lost their lives. Conditions on the Great Lakes can turn treacherous within minutes, and lighthouses were built to help keep mariners on course in a time before accurate weather forecasting. As Big Sable Point was an important landmark for ship captains along the eastern shore of Lake Michigan, a lighthouse was built, opening in November 1867. Its fixed white light could be seen for 19 miles. Until a road was built in the mid-1920s, the keepers would occasionally walk the nine miles to Ludington for supplies.

Today, from the parking area, take a scenic two-mile walk along a trail to view Big Sable Point Lighthouse, which, at more than 100 feet tall, is the undisputed star of Ludington State Park. Big Sable Point Occasional bus tours are available through S.P.L.K.A, Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association, a nonprofit whose website offers educational info about four lighthouses the association maintains between Whitehall and Ludington.


White River Light Station Museum, Whitehall

White River Light Station Museum viewed from across the channel connecting White Lake and Lake Michigan
White River Light Station Museum marks the channel between White Lake and Lake Michigan. Photographer Troy Zawacke and his wife Pamela sometimes plan their Michigan travels around seeing lighthouses. Troy says they prefer staying in B&Bs. “You’re giving back to a small business. Most are family businesses. It’s more personal.”

Stay: Two blocks from downtown Whitehall, book one of four guest rooms at Lewis House B&B. This renovated Victorian sits on a bluff overlooking White Lake. Review snippet: “It takes a certain personality to run a bed and breakfast, and these folks have it all. Customer satisfaction is top of mind, and they attend to every need and every detail. They were gracious and accommodating of dietary restrictions. And, to top it off, we had a great personal experience sharing favorite beverages, and we received a personal saxophone concert by Greg.”

Proximity to light station: 6.5 miles or a 14-minute drive for either B&B

About the light: Lumbering interests promoted the digging of a channel between White Lake and Lake Michigan, completed in 1870. The light station opened five years later. Its first keeper came from England and served for 47 years, along with his wife and 13 children. Climb to the top of the lighthouse, visit the museum, explore the grounds, or time your visit to coincide with a concert.


Grand Haven Inner and Outer Pier Lights, Grand Haven

Grand Haven Inner and Outer Pier Lights with the white lights of the catwalk reflecting in the waves and pre-dawn storm clouds in background
Brian King is not only the owner-innkeeper of Looking Glass Beachfront Inn in Grand Haven, he is also the photographer who went to the beach on a blustery October 2020 morning to capture this image of the inner and outer pier lights and the lighted catwalk.

Stay: Take your pick of two B&Bs in the charming beach town of Grand Haven.

  • Looking Glass Beachfront Inn: 5 guest rooms. The large deck overlooks State Park Beach, Lake Michigan, and the pier lights. Review sample: ” I was looking for a relaxing place with an excellent view that was walkable to town. This bed and breakfast checked all the boxes. The view is spectacular! The inn is set up so that you can sit inside or outside and enjoy the view while drinking wine or coffee. The rooms were very comfortable and a good size. I had everything I needed.”
  • Washington Street Inn: 5 guest rooms. Craftsman-style. Walk to downtown shops and eateries. Scratch-made breakfasts include farm-fresh eggs, home-prepared pastries, and homegrown herbs. Review snippet: “Absolutely fabulous B&B. The owner, Tony, was such a great host. Their home is beautiful and exceptionally clean. The breakfast was excellent and cooked by Tony himself. Highly recommend staying here. We really enjoyed ourselves. First class.”

Proximity to the pier: From Looking Glass Beachfront Inn, which has stairs down the bluff, it’s.8 miles to the Lake Michigan end of the pier and 18 minutes to walk. From Washington Street Inn, drive 1.7 miles (6 minutes) to the parking area for Grand Haven State Park, then walk out on the pier.

About the lights: The first lighthouse marking the place where the Grand River meets Lake Michigan was built in 1930. The two current beacons date to the early 1900s and serve one of Michigan’s busiest channels for fishing and recreational boats. The original purpose for the catwalk (also seen attached to the lights at Manistee and South Haven) was to allow the keeper to access and tend the lighthouse even when the pier was awash with waves. As lighthouses were automated, other catwalks were removed, but Grand Haven’s is a point of community pride and was refurbished most recently between 2016 and 2019.


South Haven Light, South Haven

South Haven Michigan Lighthouse - Credit Shutterstock
South Haven Lighthouse

Stay: You have two lovely choices for your stay in South Haven

  • The Vintage Inn at Veritas Estates is a five-bedroom bed and breakfast with boutique accommodations and farm-to-table dining in a renovated 1904 farmhouse. The 5-acre estate surrounding the Inn is home to Veritas Estate Winery and vineyard, extensive gardens, a chicken coop, and forest trails. Experience the inn’s upscale farm-fresh breakfasts and luxury amenities for well-deserved relaxation.
  • Victoria Resort Bed and Breakfast- 10 guest rooms plus additional family cottages and five hundred feet from Lake Michigan and South Haven’s popular Oak Street Beach, make this resort a popular place to stay. With a variety of accommodations on their spacious three acres, guests enjoy a pool, tennis court, firepit, summer games, and use of the resort’s bikes.

Proximity to the pier: From the Victoria Resorts, it’s a 6-minute drive and a little over a mile away. From Vintage Inn drive 3.9 miles (11 minutes)

About the lights: The South Haven South Pierhead Light is located at the entrance to the Black River on Lake Michigan. The station was lit in 1872 and is still operational. The tower is a shortened version of the Muskegon South Pierhead Light and replaced an 1872 wooden tower.

Holland Harbor Light, Holland

Aerial of Holland Harbor Light on a windy day.
Holland Harbor Light, a.k.a. Big Red. Photographer Nicholas Klein, who has a commercial drone pilots license, says, “I absolutely love taking aerial photos of both nature and architecture, so I would say I am drawn to lighthouses as they visually showcase the divide of both of these realms: the collision of waves meeting the architecture of a lighthouse.” (Photo: NJ Productions)

Stay: Two B&B choices in Holland.

  • Dutch Colonial Inn: 4 guest rooms. Dutch hospitality in a quiet residential neighborhood. Recent review: “This is a beautiful, comfortable, welcoming B&B. The food is fantastic, the ambiance peaceful, and the owners are second to none! If you’re coming to Holland, I highly recommend this as the best place to stay!”
  • Inn at Old Orchard Road: 3 guest rooms. A one-time Dutch farmhouse in a neighborhood one block from Lake Macatawa. Large backyard with gazebo. Reviewer wrote: “Betsy is a wonderful hostess! So warm and kind. The breakfast was scrumptious! Will definitely be planning next year’s trip soon.”

Proximity to the lighthouse: From the Inn on Old Orchard Road, 2.4 miles, seven minutes to drive. From Dutch Colonial Inn, 5.9 miles; 13-minute drive.

About the light: Strikingly unusual in appearance, but you might not be able to get close because adjacent land is privately owned. You could try what reviewer Chris Kopecky posted on Google in late 2020: “This lighthouse is very convenient to photograph or watch the sunset above it from the north riverbank of the Macatawa inlet. However, to visit the lighthouse is a little trickier. Coming up S. Shore Drive from the bottom of Lake Macatawa, there is a gatehouse for the private association, not cottage owners. If the gatehouse is open, ask them if you can park in their lot (on the right, just behind the gate). It’s a small lot, so depending on if there are spaces available, they will usually let you park here to walk the 10 minutes or so to the lighthouse along the river path. If it’s out of season or after hours, you need to look for parking further east near the yacht club, and your walk will be closer to 15 minutes.”



Read this if haunted Michigan lighthouses near B&Bs are of interest.


A big, big thank you to the professional and amateur photographers who gave us permission to use their outstanding photos of Michigan lighthouses. (Just because something can be found in search doesn’t mean it’s available to use.) Notice how the pros compose their photos. They choose the best angle of view, even if it means lying on the ground. And they shoot when the light is right.


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