Huron County Lighthouses

Charity Island Light Port Austin Reef Light
Take a short cruise from Caseville to Big Charity Island, just one hour to get to this vacation paradise. The island was named by the lake mariners for its location, placed “through the charity of God” midway between the city of Au Gres and the Thumb, at the entrance to Saginaw Bay.

The walking trails are marked (and rare flora and fauna identified) and the picnic area has tables, grills and a pavillion. Spend the day and make believe it’s your own private island or that you’re the keeper of the lighthouse. The light was constructed in 1857, and then replaced by the Gravelly Shoal Light and abandoned in 1939.
The lighthouse was constructed in 1878, abandoned in 1953, and left to rapidly deteriorate. It is now under lease to the Port Austin Reef Lighthouse Association until the year 2020. After a truly heroic effort by the group to oust the resident flock of at least 500 pigeons the building was re-roofed, bird proofed and reclaimed for mankind. Interior renovation began in 1990. This ongoing labor of love, determination and perseverance is conducted on the reef light, two miles off-shore.
Pointe aux Barques Light Harbor Beach Breakwater Light
President Polk ordered this lighthouse built in 1857 to guard ships from some of the most treacherous shoals in the Great Lakes. Many sailing ships were destroyed here “cutting the corner” into Saginaw Bay.

These shipwrecks provide adventure for divers in the Great Lakes State Bottomland Preserve just off the shore. The lighthouse was automated in 1957 and is still in service, but the keeper’s residence is now a museum, and the grounds are a lovely, 120- acre county park with modern camping.

Museum hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. 7 days a week, Memorial Weekend to October 1st. Donations welcome.
This light, constructed in 1885, is still active. It is automated now, which is not nearly as romantic as crews rowing out from the Harbor Beach Life Boat Station. Duty here wasn’t as exciting or fraught with danger as it was on the shoal-guarding lights to the north. More mundane duties, such as
bringing sick crewmen to shore from passing ships, were the norm here. The old surfmen used to say “You have to go out, but you don’t have to come back.” - it makes you realize that, in some line of work, “boring” is good!

Because this is still a working light, tours are not available. But you can view the light from Waterworks Park and the Harbor Beach Municipal Marina.