5 Great Lakes Lighthouses That Are Better in the Winter

February 21, 2019

Midwest winters can be trying times for some, but for others, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore coastlines with a bit less elbowing through crowds. You truly have some spots all to yourself and the views can be spectacular. There is truly so much to see and explore if you’re willing to bundle up and adventure onward.

The intense range of temperatures, precipitation, and wind across the Great Lakes region makes for some pretty epic phenomenons, from ice caves to shelf ice to ice covered lighthouses.  For lighthouses to become frozen natural art installations, the air temperature needs to be well below 32 degrees but the surrounding water needs to remain unfrozen. The massive icicles are created by layers of water brought in by wind and freezing on the lighthouse. As the wind beats against the building, it brings a new blanket of liquid with it and you can tell which way the wind was blowing by which way the icicles are pointing!

There are hundreds of private and public lighthouses across the Great lakes, and some argue that winter is truly the best time to see them, not only for the ice formations on and around them, but for the adventure of now knowing what you’re going to find near or in neighboring areas - snow piles? Open water? Totally unsurpassable ice sheets?  Below are some of our favorites. Have you visited any of these? Tell us your experience in the comments below, and of course, share any photos via the submit form.


mission point lighthouse

Mission Point - @karfar


Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse

Manistee North Pierhead Lighthouse - @snaphappymichigan


Grand Haven Lighthouse

Grand Haven Lighthouse - @vdubbin


Crisp Point Lighthouse

Crisp Point Lighthouse - @gypsy.teacher


Sodus Outer Lighthouse

Sodus Outer Lighthouse - @donovan_myers_photography

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