On our second day in Mackinaw City, we went on a lighthouse boat cruise through Shepler's. I've always known them to provide ferry service to Mackinaw Island, but I was so excited to discover they offered lighthouses cruises! They have 4 or 5 different options. We went on the West tour because I was dying to see a specific lighthouse, but I can't wait to do the others as well. It was the perfect summer day, and we set off from the marina out into the lake!
You pass right by Old Mackinac Point Lighthouse, and underneath the Mackinac Bridge. Did you guys know the bridge serves as a divider line between Lake Michigan and Lake Huron? It's actually one massive body of water. It's also pretty awesome to see the bridge from underneath. We traveled for about 45 minutes or so before seeing any lighthouses. Just open water for miles!
Our lighthouse tour guide was Terry Pepper, which I was honestly super excited about. Okay... this is my ultimate nerd coming out, but I'm constantly referencing his website to navigate and find all of the lighthouses I visit. Plus, he has written a book on Michigan lighthouses and he's executive director for the Great Lakes Lighthouse Association. It was great to hear him talk, and share his vast amount of knowledge on all of the lights we saw!
We were just cruising along, and Terry said we were approaching White Shoal Lighthouse. I honestly welled up with tears the second I saw it. I have another full post dedicated to this lighthouse, and I might get sappy, so we'll just save it for that post. But this one just meant so much to me. I couldn't stop staring at it as the boat drove away. After White Shoal, we headed over to Gray's Reef. On the entire tour, we saw two lighthouses on land (one on a deserted island) and three that are in the lake as stand-alone lighthouses. I never really knew these existed until I started researching lighthouses more... and I was just in awe at all of these.
After Gray's Reef lighthouse, we stopped to Waugoshance Lighthouse. This lighthouse is truly unique. It's considered of the most endangered lighthouses in the world. The U.S. Navy used to use this lighthouse for bombing practice actually, and it's a serious wonder that anything at all still exists today. It's on the "Doomsday List" by Lighthouse Digest along with 6 others in Michigan. We also were able to ride past St. Helena Lighthouse on St. Helena Island. The lighthouse is the sole remaining structure on the island. I'd love to go back someday, and explore the island and light up close!
The tour was definitely one of my favorite parts of visiting Mackinaw City, and I'd totally recommend if you're a lighthouse nut like I am. I'm so glad Eric was there to experience it with me too. He makes traveling so much more fun. After the lighthouse cruise, we went back to the hotel and got ready for a night on the town. I have three more posts coming up on lighthouses this week. Then I promise, only four more before winter... and you guys will have a break! Until next spring, of course. ;)