McGulpin Point Lighthouse & Historic Site
500 Headlands Road
Mackinaw City MI 49701
(231) 436-5860

McGulpin Point Lighthouse and historic site is located adjacent to The Headlands recreational park,
both located about two miles west of downtown Mackinaw City


2015 season updates!


The 2015 season at McGulpin Point Lighthouse will get under way on Friday, May 22 -- and we look forward to seeing you at this historic Emmet County landmark site! Hours for 2015 will be 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

There is no admission charge, though donations are accepted. McGulpin Point is open through the end of October. Check back for updated information.

Welcome to the 2015 season!

Another summer season is upon Northern Michigan and it's the time of year that Emmet County reopens the McGulpin Point Lighthouse and Historic Site in Mackinaw City. The lighthouse will open on Friday, May 22, 2015; new extended hours this season are 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily. There is no admission charge for the lighthouse or to climb the tower, though donations are appreciated.

Visitors in summer 2015 can expect some new additions to the property, including a shipwreck informational display outside and coming soon a new trail that leads from the lighthouse to the Straits of Mackinac interpreting the history of the property from the earliest Native Americans 9,000 years ago to the arrival of the McGulpins in the 1700s (estimated completion is July 2015). The gift shop is stocked with new items and also souvenirs and apparel for the Headlands International Dark Sky Park, which is just a short distance from McGulpin Point.

Boy Scouts are also working on reconstructing a replica barn on the property; this follows on their other significant projects at the site including reconstruction of a wellhouse and a gazebo at the shoreline.

An enhanced self-guided cell phone tour, provided by TourSphere, is available throughout the grounds, offering more background on this important historical property in Northern Emmet County. (The cell phone tour is also available throughout the Village of Mackinaw City and Mackinaw’s Heritage Village, at the Headlands, Cecil Bay, Pellston Regional Airport, in Alanson at several stops, Camp Pet-O-Se-Ga and along the Bear River in Petoskey; look for the signs).  Take the tour from your computer or smartphone by going to

Thank you for your support of and interest in McGulpin Point Lighthouse and Historic Site!


New: Photo gallery, click here!


To read about McGulpin Point's history, click here.




Big rock, big significance

View from McGulpin Point shoreline

The Mackinac Bridge is seen on a blue-sky day from the shore of Lake Michigan, near the county’s McGulpin Point Lighthouse west of Mackinaw City. The large rock in the foreground is significant; hundreds of years ago, it was under water in the Straits. Through the centuries, it has been used as a marker to determine the rise and fall of water levels in Lake Michigan.

It was described in a letter sent back to France in 1749 as being at times high and dry and at other times completely submerged. That led the letter-writer to conclude that the Straits of Mackinac rose and fell by as much as 8 feet.

The McGulpin Point rock is approximately 33.8 feet in horizontal circumference and 37 feet in vertical circumference. It is about 9 feet tall. An estimate of its weight puts it around 54 tons.

As a reminder, this shoreline and the hundreds of feet of coastline along the county’s parks at the Headlands and Cecil Bay, as well as the lighthouse property, are open for the public to enjoy, along with hundreds of acres of woods and waters.

Read about the Big Rock Challenge by clicking here!