Point Betsie Lighthouse, Frankfort

#1 of 29 in Things to do in Benzie County
Lighthouse · Tourist Spot
Point Betsie Light is located on the northeast shore of Lake Michigan — at the southern entrance to the Manitou Passage — north of Frankfort in Benzie County in Northern Michigan. Construction began in 1854, but it was not completed until 1858, and began service in the shipping season of 1859. The lighthouse cost $5,000 to build. In 1875, a life saving station was built for $3,000.
The light was originally equipped with a Fourth Order Fresnel lens with bullseye, which was upgraded to a Third order (with bullseye) in 1880. The latter was visible for 27.5mi, because of the high placement of the tower (focal plane of ) and the efficacy of the lens design. The Fresnel Lens was removed in 1996, and was stored for years at Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore. It has since been returned to the original site and sits, non-operational, inside the lighthouse where visitors can see its glass combination of engineering and artistry at close proximity.
The cylindrical tower is tall, but sits on a dune. It is attached to the Lighthouse keepers house, which was upgraded to an attractive gambrel roof design.
This was one of the earliest Life Saving Stations, and was run under the auspices of the U.S. Life-Saving Service. In 1910 the United States Lighthouse Board was reconstituted as the U.S. Lighthouse Service. In 1939 these agencies were merged under the control of the U.S. Coast Guard.
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Point Betsie Lighthouse reviews

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TripAdvisor traveler rating 4.5
314 reviews
  • First off their parking situation is a joke. There's basically NO parking lot. You park along the side of the road. The lighthouse is very nice it just kinda demands attention sitting on top of a...  more »
  • Museum was closed the day I visited; would like to return when it is open, because it seemed fascinating. Had a nice walk on the beach, beautiful dunes.  more »
  • Awesome Michigan History. If you are in to Lighthouses this has to be on your list to see it. They even let you go into the Top of the Lighthouse. The view is spectacular. You can see all the way to Sleeping Bear Dunes. In two words " Simply Beautiful".
  • Loved taking our kids to the top of a lighthouse for their first time. Nice beach for them to play on, too. Also loved the treasure hunt for the kids through the lighthouse and the gift shop!

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