Called Grande Point au Sable by French explorers and traders, Big Sable Point was an important landmark for mariners traveling a treacherous stretch of Lake Michigan shoreline between Big Sable Point and present day Ludington. In 1855 twelve ships wrecked in that area. Commerce linked to the lumber industry required that Big Sable Point be suitably lighted so in 1867 the Big Sable Point lighthouse was built. As lumbering waned, steamers carrying coal, agriculture products, and tourists continued to rely on the lighthouse for navigation.
The Big Sable Point Lighthouse tower is 112 feet high and is one of the few lighthouses in Michigan with a tower reaching over 100 feet. In 1902 the deteriorating brick tower was encased in steel. The keeper's dwelling, which once housed a single family, has been enlarged over the years to the present three family residence. Indoor plumbing and heating and a diesel electric generator were added in 1949. In 1953 power lines were extended to the Point. In 1968 the station was fully automated and a lighthouse keeper was no longer needed. Big Sable Point Light Station is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
To reach the Big Sable Point Lighthouse, take Highway M-116 north from Ludington to Lakeshore Drive, and then proceed 6.5 miles and enter Ludington State Park. The 1.5 mile well-maintained walking trail through sand dunes is picturesque and well worth the trek. Go at sunset and take your camera!