What you need to know if you are considering an overnight stay at White Shoal Light:
1. White Shoal Light is an inherently dangerous place! There are hazards everywhere...from the time you leave the dock to the time you are safely back home. We attempt to mitigate these hazards as much as humanly possible, but you will still be required to sign a lengthy waiver form and answer questions regarding your health and physical condition before access to the lighthouse will be granted.
2. You are signing up to stay at a 110+ year old historic structure that is currently in the process of being restored. You will be provided clean private rooms and modern bathrooms during your stay. There are, however many areas of the lighthouse that are still in their 1976 abandoned state...complete with flaking paint, spiders, and everything else you would expect to find in an old house. If you are envisioning modern tiled bathrooms and ornate guest quarters, this experience is not for you. All areas of the lighthouse are open for you to explore with the exception of our basement (dungeon) deck. We also reserve the right to close off any portion of the lighthouse for safety reasons during your stay.
3. White Shoal Light consists of 11 separate decks with a total of over 5,000 square feet. This is an enormous structure. You will find plenty of areas to squirrel away and be alone if that is your thing.
4. We often experience high winds on the light station. During times of high winds, access to outdoor areas of the lighthouse may be limited until conditions improve.
5. There is a 90-minute boat ride that departs Mackinaw City aboard our restored 30-foot Coast Guard utility boat. The boat has a small forward cabin for gear, but the passenger area is wide open to the elements. Depending on wind and wave conditions, you should plan on getting wet (as well as your gear) to and from the lighthouse.
6. If you are susceptible to sea sickness, please plan accordingly. On average, we experience 2-foot waves during the journey, but can find ourselves in 4-6 foots seas on a moment's notice.
7. You absolutely need some flexibility built into your travel schedule. We are ruled by wind direction and velocity in the Straits of Mackinac. We are only able to give 24-hour advance notice as to whether a planned trip will be cancelled or postponed. The best bet is to have a day or two extra built on to the end of your scheduled visit. Once you are at the lighthouse, you are there until we can get you safely back to shore. That means you may have to stay extra nights (at no additional fee).
8. You will need to be physically and mentally able to climb a 22-foot vertical ladder out of the boat up the side of the crib to access the lighthouse. If you have a fear of heights, this experience is not for you. Should you find yourself unable to climb the ladder once at the lighthouse, you will be transported back to shore and forfeit your trip fee as well as incur an additional fee to transport you back to Mackinaw City.
9. You will need to be physically able to traverse 1000's of steps over the coarse of your stay at the lighthouse. The lantern room is 143 steps from the boat house. Plan on lots of exercise. You will also need to be able to carry your luggage up to the guest rooms on decks 3, 5, & 6. We will offload your gear via hoist off the boat and up onto the crib deck. You are responsible for your own gear from that point on.
10. You will need to consider access to emergency services during your stay. We have two AEDs at the light station along with plenty of first aid gear. There is an incident action plan in place with Emmet County should a medical emergency response be needed at the light station.
11. We have moderate cell service at the light station. Sometimes it is great and other times during the day it is nonexistent.
12. There will be electricity available at the lighthouse during your stay for charging phones, cameras, etc. There are also table lamps and outlets located in each guest room that will provide light and power for fans, etc.
13. There is a fully-equipped kitchen at the light station for your use...including a gas range, oven, refrigeration, commercial sink, and gas grill. Lighthouse keepers will perform the dishwashing and kitchen clean-up after guest meals are finished.
14. There are two bathrooms at White Shoal...a full bath on deck 2 and a half bath on deck 4. You will need to traverse the stairs from your guest room to bathroom decks during the middle of the night.
15. The light station is a high humidity environment. There is no heat or air conditioning. Windows are operable on all decks and a nice breeze is normally present for comfort. We do have emergency heaters for extra cold conditions.
16. You will be required to provide your own food and beverage during your stay at the lighthouse. That includes preparing your own food. We will take care of trash and recyclables.
17. Water out of our sink taps and shower comes directly out of Lake Michigan and is unsafe for drinking. You will need to bring bottled water to drink during your stay.
18. We will have 2-3 staff on station during your stay that will handle many of the behind-the-scenes operations to assure you have an enjoyable experience.
19. There has been paranormal activity reported by guests and staff at the light station.