Spend an afternoon learning about the Great Lakes, and the ships that sail them, at a Northern Michigan maritime museum. Filled with exhibits ranging from Native American traders to 21st century captains, these museums bring to life vivid memories of the Great Lakes. See the Edmund Fitzgerald’s 200-pound bronze bell at the Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum or take a tour of the United States Coast Guard Icebreaker Mackinaw.
To get your trip started, here’s a guide to help you find a Northern Michigan maritime museum near you. Each one offers something different, so you’ll have to visit them all!
Sleeping Bear Dunes Rd., Glen Haven
Exhibits cover the U.S. Life-Saving Service, the U.S. Coast Guard, and Great Lakes shipping history. Check out the Steamer Wheelhouse room on the second floor with a panoramic view of the Manitou Passage shipping channel. Open Memorial Day weekend through Labor Day.
Les Cheneaux Historical and Maritime Museums
Hwy. M-134 & Lake Street, Cedarville
The O.M. Reif Boathouse, built in the 1920s, houses vintage boats, marine artifacts, antique outboard motors, historic photos of area boating, and a boat building workshop. Open May through September. Find the open date on the website.
367 N. 3rd St., Rogers City
Exhibits explore four centuries of Great Lakes history and tradition, while the Great Lakes maritime hall of fame honors the people who served the shipping industry. Open year round.
500 W. Fletcher St., Alpena
The museum feature 9,000 square feet of immersive exhibits. The full-size replica of a Great Lakes schooner lets you feel a Great Lakes storm and walk the decks. Open year round.
131 S. Huron Ave., Mackinaw City
Tour the United States Coast Guard Cutter MACKINAW WAGB-83. The construction for the icebreaker was authorized on December 17, 1941, 10 days after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Open May through October. View the schedule.
38105 Michigan Ave., Beaver Island
The museum tells the stories of St. James Harbor, which was once bustling with fishing fleets and commercial traffic. Open seasonally.
18335 N. Whitefish Point Rd., Paradise
Learn about the Edmund Fitzgerald, Steamer Vienna, the Comet, and other Great Lakes shipwrecks. Open May 1 to October 31.
300 Lake Shore Blvd., Marquette
The preeminent collection of lighthouse lenses in the Great Lakes includes 2nd, 3rd, and 4th order classical Fresnel lenses in the same exhibit hall. Open seasonally.
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