If you’re in the Silver Lake area you won’t want to miss a visit to the red brick lighthouse at Little Sable Point, located at the Silver Lake State Park.
The Little Sable Point Lighthouse stands 107 feet tall. It was built in response to perceived dangers of the area’s Lake Michigan waters, due to the sinking of several boats. When the lighthouse opened in 1874 it was natural brick, but several boat captains complained that it was difficult to make out the lighthouse, so in the year 1900 it was painted white and stayed that way until 1975, when it was sandblasted back to its original color. The lighthouse was originally attached to a home where the lighthouse keeper lived, but when the lighthouse was automated in 1955, there was no longer a need for the dwelling and it was razed. The lighthouse is still operational and is used to aid boats navigating nearby.
Unlike many lighthouses along the lakeshore, the Little Sable Point Lighthouse is open to visitors daily from 10:00 to 5:00 from June until September. Lighthouse admission is $2 for adults and $1 for kids. Guests must be at least 3 feet tall to tour the lighthouse. After visiting the lighthouse, spread a blanket on the Lake Michigan beach just behind it and build a sandcastle, go for a swim or just dip your toes in the water.
For family style dining right by the Silver Lake sand dunes, check out the Sands restaurant. The Sands serves breakfast, lunch and dinner to hungry dunes explorers. The decor could use a bit of updating, but you’re there for the good food. Food like Michigan blueberry waffles, chicken fajita salad, corned-beef reuben sandwiches, quesadillas, pasta, steak, pizza, bacon cheeseburgers and lake perch, to name a few. There’s also a kids menu.
Most breakfast choices and sandwiches are less than $8, and most dinner entrees come in under $16.
Located between Lake Michigan and tiny Silver Lake are the Silver Lake Sand Dunes. Some think that Silver Lake is the name of the town, but no, the area towns are Mears and Hart.
The dunes have developed within the last century – before that the area was covered thickly with trees, lake homes and family farms. When the trees were chopped down for lumber, there was nothing to stop the strong winds from carrying beach sand further inland, and little by little the land was buried in sand.
Now it’s a barren landscape, dotted with poplar trees that appear to be about ten feet tall, but actually extend dozens of feet underground. Still, with a good off-road vehicle it makes for a wild ride.
Every weekend one can hear the roar of thrill seekers barreling down the sandy hills in their trucks and off-road vehicles. Those who are reluctant to use their own car can rent a dune buggy at the dunes.
Tamer souls can enjoy the dune thrills on a dune tour. Around 15 people board a big jeep-like vehicle and cruise around some of the smaller dunes. The typical tour stops on a deserted beach where the group can stretch their legs for a few minutes and splash in the water if they like, then continue the bumpy ride. All the while, the guide relates the history of the dunes and draws attention to points of interest.