The Red Lights of Muskegon

Location: Muskegon, Michigan

There’s something special about red lighthouses. Maybe it’s because there aren’t very many of them around. Maybe it’s because of their story. Regardless of the reason, the red Muskegon Lighthouses are some of my favorite lighthouses to visit.

South Breakwater Tower. Photo by Amie Lucas.

The red lights of Muskegon were not the first lighthouse in this location. Very little is known about the original lighthouse. It was a brick tower built around 1858. The first keeper, William Monroe, passed away in 1862. His wife took over as Keeper until she resigned in 1871. She was the only female light keeper in all of Muskegon’s history.

The red towers that we visit today weren’t built until much later.

South Breakwater Tower. Photo by Steve Lucas.

The South Breakwater Lighthouse was built in 1931. It’s located a half mile from shore and stands 63 feet tall. It’s one of my favorite locations to photograph a Lake Michigan Sunset.

South Pierhead Lighthouse. Photo by Amie Lucas .

The South Pierhead Lighthouse was built in 1903 at the end of the south pier. The tower is 48 feet in height, not including the lantern room that was added on top of that. It is accessible through the NOAA Lake Michigan Field Station, which might be confusing upon arriving.

South Pierhead Lighthouse. Photo by Amie Lucas.

In 2010, both lighthouses were awarded to the Michigan Lighthouse Conservancy and are listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The US Coast Guard is still in charge of the lights and the fog signal.

The Muskegon South Pierhead Light is a participant of the United States Lighthouse Society Passport Program. When you visit the lighthouse or climb the tower, you get a stamp!

Getting There

The lighthouses are located near Pere Marquette Park. Once in Muskegon, follow Lakeshore Drive west to the park. Park at Pere Marquette Park and either head out on the pier to visit the Breakwater tower or go towards the north side of the parking area, through the NOAA Lake Michigan Field Station to view the South Pierhead Lighthouse.

For more information, visit the Muskegon Lights.

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