The Pointe aux Barques Lighthouse ranks among the oldest lighthouses in Michigan. Active and maintained by the US Coast Guard, located in Lighthouse County Park on Lake Huron near Port Hope. "Pointe aux Barques" means 'Point of Boats’. Local lore tells that the French Voyeurs gave the landmark this description because the rock outcropping matched the look of a line of ships along the tip of the shore as they round Michigan's Thumb.
It was built in 1857 under President Polk's orders to guard ships from some of the most treacherous shoals in the Great Lakes. The lighthouse is 89 feet tall with 103 cast iron steps to the top. It was automated in 1957. The lighthouse has a flashing white light that shines 18 miles out over Lake Huron. It is a warning that the area contains shallow waters that can be a hazard, and it also marks the entrance into Saginaw Bay. The keeper's residence is now a museum. Tours are available Memorial Day until end of September