Manistee's North Breakwater Lighthouse

Photo by Todd & Brad Reed Photography

One of the most symbolic icons of Manistee, the Victorian Port City, is the North Pierhead Lighthouse, located between the 1st Street and 5th Avenue beaches.

Discover the Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse

Standing watch over Lake Michigan waters, the North Pierhead Lighthouse welcomes boaters into its harbor, and is a reminder of Manistee’s great maritime history.

First built in 1869, it burned in the Great Fire and a new one was constructed in 1872. The North Pierhead Lighthouse is built from cast iron and stands 39 feet tall. 

Many changes have taken place over the years–including a wooden catwalk that was eventually replaced by an iron one around 1900. Many Michigan lighthouses demolished their catwalks when the lights became electrified, so Manistee’s catwalk is a rare sight. In the late 1920s, after extensive pier renovations, the old fog signal building was replaced by the present structure.

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What is it about a lighthouse that draws people to enjoy the view?

Is it the way the lighthouse stands strong and proud against the Lake Michigan waves, and storms of every season? Is it the opportunity for a spectacular photo? Whether you are a Manistee local or a visitor to West Michigan, be sure to visit the North Pierhead Lighthouse in Manistee often. 

West Michigan Lighthouse Locations…

Directions to Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse

From Highway 31 in Manistee, take Memorial Drive, the first street north of the Manistee River, west towards Lake Michigan. Memorial Drive will become 5th Avenue. Take 5th Avenue to John Red Szymarek Park at the corner of 5th and Monroe. Turn right and follow Monroe to a traffic circle whose center piece is a lighthouse. Go 3/4 of the way around the circle and turn right on Lakeshore Drive. You can either park in the 5th Avenue beach parking lot or continue on a bit and possibly park near the Coast Guard Station, from there you can walk the breakwater to reach the Manistee Lighthouse.

Discover More West Michigan Lighthouses...

A visit to Ottawa County's Grand Haven will find bustling activity along the waterfront. Here you'll find Michigan's longest river emptying into Lake Michigan after smoothly gliding along the breakwater pier. The Grand River offers opportunities for fishing fleets, Coast Guard vessels, and pleasure boaters to ply their transports out onto the big lake. Whether visiting the beach to relax or play volleyball, one can't help but notice the mesmerizing sight of the breakwater.

Built in 1875, the White River Light Station is one of four lights operated by Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association. Located in Whitehall, Michigan (about 40 minutes south of Ludington), the Light Station is situated between Lake Michigan and White Lake.

he black-and-white striped, 112 foot lighthouse at the Ludington State Park stands proudly on the shores of Lake Michigan and remains a testament to lighthouse keepers of the past. Big Sable Point Lighthouse was honored as 2013 Featured Lighthouse of the Year for the Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival.

You've seen it in numerous photographs, and it is now ranked #1 lighthouse to visit in Michigan...plus The Weather Channel voted it one of the top 10 lighthouses to see in the United States! The North Breakwater Light is Ludington's focal point, and a great place to watch the sunset or wave at the S.S. Badger carferry as it cruises out onto Lake Michigan. The breakwall leading out to the light is a popular venue for fishermen and those who enjoy walking the mile-long round trip.