Ludington -- The Lighthouse Town - 12.02.15
Where can you find two lighthouses consistently regarded among the finest in the world within just a few miles of each other? Nowhere in the world but Ludington, Michigan.
Heading west on M-10 toward Lake Michigan takes one to Ludington's beautiful beachfront. The pier lies just a hundred feet or so from the beach parking lot. It is an easy walk out to Ludington Light, which sits at the end.
Ludington's pier leading to Ludington Light
The light was built in 1871 as more traffic was entering and exiting the Pere Marquette River. It was first lit in 1924 and was automated in 1972. The United States Coast Guard recently transferred ownership to the Big Sable lighthouse Keepers Association, which also maintains Big Sable, Little Sable, and White River Lighthouses. The association does an outstanding job maintaining the lighthouse in pristine condition.
Ludington Light in early morning
Ludington Light's architecture is unique in its triangular base shaped to minimize resistance to oncoming wind and waves. It was perhaps this unique architecture that led The Weather Channel to name Ludington Light as one of the top ten in the world to visit.
The last snow from winter remains at the base of Ludington Light in April
Just as stunning as Ludington Light is Big Sable Lighthouse, located just a few miles north. To get there, drive north along the lake shore into Ludington State Park until the road ends at the campsite. From there, you will need to hike another mile north along the shoreline or along a service road leading to the lighthouse.
Approaching Big Sable Lighthouse from the service road
The lighthouse was built in 1867. It was originally made of brick, but when it began crumbling the lighthouse was encased in steel. Unlike Ludington Light, Big Sable has keepers' quarters attached to the tower. Together, the tower and keepers' quarters make one of the most beautiful lighthouses anywhere.