Lighthouses

Lighthouse Cruises

>> Download a PDF of our 2014 Lighthouse Cruise schedule.
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Since colonial days, the Straits of Mackinac has bristled with shipping activity. Laced with treacherous shoals and reefs, scores of lighthouses have been erected over the years to protect life, limb and property.

Every Shepler’s Lighthouse Cruise is a true learning experience. Guests are treated to awe-inspiring views and learn of shipwrecks, navigation methods, and fascinating historical accounts of these guardians of the Great Lakes.

Shepler’s donates 10% of all proceeds to the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association to assist in their preservation efforts.

Please note that cruise direction may change without notice due to weather conditions. For a full refund cancellations must be made 5 days prior to the cruise. Cancellations made within the five day period before the cruise date are non-refundable.

Travel Tip: We board each cruise by boarding number and boarding numbers are determined by the order in which the tickets are purchased. In other words…those who buy first, board first so the earlybirds get their choice of seats.

Our Lighthouse Cruises fill up fast! Make your reservations online.

Interactive Map

Eastbound Cruise

You’ll start by passing under the Mackinac Bridge for a sight rarely seen. Then you’ll head across the Straits between Round Island Light and Round Island Passage Light. Turning east, you’ll pass by the privately owned Bois Blanc Light. Poe Reef and Fourteen Foot Shoal Lights mark your turn into the South Channel.

A quick trip up the Cheboygan River takes you past the Cheboygan Crib Light before you head back. En route, you’ll enjoy the clear blue waters of the Straits, a bird’s eye view of the Coast Guard cutter “Mackinaw”, and plenty of maritime history.

Adults: $52.50, Children (ages 5-12): $27.50.

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Westbound Cruise

Departing from Shepler’s Mackinaw City dock, you’ll bear west and pass directly under the mighty Mackinac Bridge, setting the stage for this 3-hour round trip tour.

Visible to the south along the 20 mile run to White Shoal Light is Wilderness State Park. To the south lies Gray’s Reef Light, originally built in 1891.

Your ship will then double back toward the medieval-looking Waugoshance Light. The 12 mile eastward run to St. Helena Island provides ample opportunity for plenty of lighthouse lore. The final pass on the Westward Cruise swings by the St. Helena Island Light, then back to Mackinaw City.

Adults: $52.50, Children (ages 5-12): $27.50.

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Extended Westbound Lighthouse Cruises

July 1, August 20, & September 10, 2014

Take an extended Westbound Lighthouse Cruise and get an up-close glimpse of Skillagalee Lighthouse added to our standard westbound tour. You will be able to take some wonderful photos from a great vantage point on board this cruise. The cruise is 3.5 hours long.

Adults: $61.00, Children (ages 5-12) $35.00.

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Extended Eastbound Lighthouse Cruises

June 30 & August 19, 2014

In addition to the lighthouses you see on our standard Lake Huron cruise, on a Shepler’s Extended Eastbound Lighthouse Cruise you’ll be treated to a chance to see the elusive Spectacle Reef Lighthouse. This lighthouse may only be viewed up-close from a boat and the cruise allows you unbelievable photo opportunities of this remarkable lighthouse. The cruise is four hours long.

Adults: $68.00, Children (ages 5-12) $39.25.

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The Les Cheneaux Lighthouse Experience

June 17, August 25 & September 9, 2014

This cruise is bigger and better than ever! Join us on a 5 hour extended cruise into the beautiful Les Cheneaux Islands in northern Lake Huron. On the way to the stunning Les Cheneaux Islands, you will pass by British Landing on Mackinac Island where Fort Mackinac was captured by the British in one of the first major events in the War of 1812. You will also enjoy exceptional views of six lighthouses including Martin Reef, Spectacle Reef, and the Detour Reef Light, in addition to the Bois Blanc Lighthouse, the Round Island Light and the Round Island Passage Light. The cost includes a boxed lunch.

Adults: $77.50, Children (ages 5-12): $42.50. Cost includes a boxed lunch.

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St. Ignace Pick-U.P. Service

Staying in St. Ignace? We’ll pick you U.P.! Now offering a shuttle service from our St. Ignace dock to Mackinaw City for guests taking our Lighthouse Cruise. Bridges, boats and beacons…You’ll travel over the Mackinac Bridge in a Shepler’s shuttle to catch a Lighthouse Cruise in Mackinaw City. Then after enjoying a thrilling afternoon out on the water visiting some of the wonderful Straits area lighthouses on one of Shepler’s Lighthouse Cruises, we will give you a ferry ticket to use to return to St. Ignace after the cruise. (Perhaps you’ll even want to stop and pick up some famous Island fudge on your way back to the Upper Peninsula!)

Here’s What You Need To Know:

  1. The shuttle van will depart from our St. Ignace dock one hour before the designated cruise departure time. If guests arrive after the shuttle has departed for Mackinaw City, they are responsible for their own transportation to and from Mackinaw City.
  2. We will provide our Lighthouse Cruise guests using the St. Ignace shuttle service with their complimentary ferry tickets after the cruise returns to our dock in Mackinaw City. Guests may then use the ticket to take any departure to Mackinac Island that afternoon/evening. They will use the other portion of the round trip ticket to travel on the departure of their choice from Mackinac Island to St. Ignace.

Please Note: There are a few dates when you will not have the option to use the St. Ignace Pick-U.P. Service.  The Shuttle Black-out dates are for the following cruises: June 26 &  August 7, 2014.

Other highlights of our cruises:

Cruise under the bridge. Each cruise passes directly under the mighty Mackinac Bridge. You’ll learn of the climactic struggle to build it as you’re treated to this rare sight.

Professional on-board narration! Each lighthouse cruise is narrated by members of the Great Lakes Lighthouse Keepers Association. A portion of all proceeds is donated toward lighthouse preservation and restoration efforts.

Additional Information about Shepler’s Lighthouse Cruises:

  1. Guests may cancel their tickets up to 48 hours prior to the cruise date for a full refund. Cancellations within the 48 hours before the cruise are non-refundable.
  2. If Shepler’s cancels the Lighthouse Cruise, for any reason, the guests will receive a full refund.
  3. We do not refund tickets due to poor weather.  We will go out if it’s raining or foggy, so please come prepared with the appropriate clothing. Don’t worry, the enclosed cabin is a comfortable place to be on less-than-ideal weather days as we head out to the lighthouses.
  4. It is often a bit cooler out on the water so having a sweatshirt or jacket with you “just in case”, even on warm days, is recommended.
  5. If a guest has a gift certificate for the Lighthouse Cruise they must bring that with them to the Mackinaw City office to exchange for their boarding vouchers. Reservations with a gift certificate must be made through the Mackinaw City Office. Call 1-800-828-6157.
  6. Seats are not assigned and you may choose any seat you’d like once you are on board.
  7. While we love pets and welcome them on our ferry boats to the Island, they are not allowed on our Lighthouse Cruises so please make alternative arrangements for your four-legged friends before the cruise.