Round Island Lighthouse

Area Status: Unreachable
Round Island Lighthouse off Straits of Mackinac

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The lighthouse is located on a sand and cobblestone spit extending from Round Island into the narrow channel between Round Island and Mackinac Island.  It was built in 1895 at a cost of $15,000 under the supervision of Frank Rounds from Detroit. Frank originally came to the Straits area to help build the Grand Hotel on Mackinac Island. It was commissioned on May 15, 1896 under the U.S. Lighthouse Board which became the United States Lighthouse Service in 1910. In 1924 the beacon was automated and the United States Coast Guard was given responsibility for all lighthouses in 1939. The lighthouse was deactivated in 1947, and transferred to the United States Forest Service in 1958. The beacon has gone through several changes of lighting technology, from oil to electricity. It originally had a 4th order Fresnel lens with a steady white light followed by a red flash every 20 seconds. Today it is powered by the sun using solar cells and storage batteries. On the first floor, most of the original machinery for operation of the lighthouse and foghorn were removed for scrap to support World War II efforts. The second and third floors provided living quarters for the lighthouse keepers and their families during the shipping season.

The Forest Service has a unique partnership to assist with maintenance and upkeep of the lighthouse and out buildings.  The Round Island Lighthouse Preservation Society is a Michigan non-profit corporation, founded solely to assist with facilitating the preservation of the Round Island Lighthouse and grounds.  In addition, the Lake Huron Area Council Boy Scout Troop 323 of Freeland, Michigan also assists with summer clean-up activities and repairs.  

If you are interested in learning more about the Round Island Lighthouse, please call the Saint Ignace office of the Hiawatha National Forest or visit our partner’s website at:

See for yourself

At a Glance

Closest Towns: St. Ignace
Information Center: The lighthouse is located in the Straits of Mackinac.  Close up views are provided from any of the ferries running between Mackinac City and Mackinac Island.

General Information


The lighthouse is located in Straits of Mackinac. Close up views are proveded from any of the ferries running between Mackinac City or St. Ignace and Mackinac Island.

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Viewing Scenery

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