Lighthouse Festivals, Challenges & Events


Door County Lighthouse Festival
Spring: June 12-14, 2020. Fall: October 3-4, 2020. 
The Festival weekends include land-based, boat, and adventure tours that together reach all eleven of the treasured lighthouses of Door County. Many of the tour excursions are unique to the Lighthouse Festival weekends, and provide visitors exclusive access to several lighthouses not typically open to the public, including Chambers Island Lighthouse, Plum Island Range Lights, and the Sherwood Point Lighthouse. New this year are air-tours that see all eleven historic Door County lighthouses! There are tours for all levels of activity and accessibility. Some tours involve hiking, while others let you ride in the comfort of the Door County Trolley. Boat tours depart from a variety of locations around the Peninsula, including Sister Bay, Gills Rock and Baileys Harbor. Buy tickets online and see website for additional information. Door County Maritime Museum Address: 120 North Madison Avenue, Sturgeon Bay, WI 54235. Call: 920-743-5958.

Toledo Lighthouse Waterfront Festival
July 11 & 12, 2020. Enjoy continuous entertainment, a nautical arts & crafts village – featuring over 50 of the area’s finest nautical artists and crafters, as well as children’s activities, a lighthouse story tent, delicious food, silent auction, and more all by the beautiful Maumee Bay State Park. Boat rides to the lighthouse are also available, book early!

Lake Ontario Central New York Lighthouse Challenge
August 1 & 2, 2020. The challenge is to visit eight unique New York lighthouses within two days. The official Challenge route runs east to Rock Island Light and then the West to 30 Mile Point outside of Rochester, N.Y.  The trip includes two days of travel, challenge materials for each site, local tourist information with special perks and discounts and a final keepsake for your commitment to exploring America’s beacons of light and supporting the preservation of Lake Ontario Lighthouses. In addition to transportation, the full package also includes admission to all sites, lunch both days, boat tour fees to both the Rock Island Lighthouse in Clayton and the West Pierhead Lighthouse in Oswego. Saturday evening refreshments will be provided at the Maritime Museum. During the trip door prizes will be awarded, attendees can participate in unique activities and each person will receive an autographed “Lighthouses and Life-Saving at Oswego” book. The registration deadline is June 1, 2020, at $375 per person. Registration after June 2nd is $395 per person. The cut-off date is July 8th. Museum address: 1West first street, Oswego, NY 13126. Phone: 315-342-0480.

National Lighthouse Day 
​August 7 
each year is officially designated as National Lighthouse Day. The celebration provides recognition for the important role which lighthouses played in the history of our country, and the values of safety, heroism, and American ingenuity which they represent. It is a day for communities and citizens groups around the country to rededicate themselves to the protection and restoration of these historic structures.

Michigan Lighthouse Festival
August 7-8, 2020. Event begins at the Turtle Creek Hotel with unique entertainment by Joseph Smith as Augustin Fresnel, inventor of the Fresnel lens, and more! The next day, visit the historic Mission Point Lighthouse and experience the Lighthouse Marketplace, an arts and crafts show with a focus on lighthouse expressions and a means to learn about other Michigan lighthouses. This is an opportunity to meet lighthouse inspired authors, artists, photographers, and crafters! See website for additional details.
Michigan Lighthouse Guide - Michigan has an array of festivals that celebrate its deep maritime heritage. Michigan’s port cities roll out the red carpet and provide you with a fun filled collection of memorable experiences with a nautical flare

Port Clinton Lighthouse Festival and Amateur Radio Activation
August 15, 2020. The Port Clinton Lighthouse Festival is an annual event which coincides with International Lighthouse and Lightship weekend every year near August 7th. The one-day festival features lighthouse tours, nautically themed art and educational programs, arts & crafts vendors, food, music and stunning views of the Lake Erie Islands. The lighthouse will be activated with an amateur radio station during the festival.  If you want to tune in or contact them via amateur radio frequencies, you will need to find a ham radio operator that can operate on the 40 or 20 meter amateur radio frequency bands. See websites for additional details.



Dunkirk Lighthouse Festival
August 15-16, 2020. The Festival includes live bands, French and Indian War reenactments, and Civil War reenactments. Food & refreshments are also provided. There will also be craft vendors & ham radio operators talking by radio to other lighthouses. Only $8 admission! For more information, call the lighthouse at 716-366-5050 or email

Apostle Islands Lighthouse Celebration
September 8-19, 2020. The Celebration provides island cruise opportunities that dock at Raspberry, Michigan, Sand and Outer Island and offers guided tours of these lighthouses. Other cruises include the popular Ultimate Lighthouse Cruise; a non-stop voyage to see five of the eight lighthouses from the comfort of your cruise boat and the Sea Caves & Lighthouses Cruise that passes The Raspberry and Sand Island lights and the impressive mainland sea caves. All cruises board and depart from the Bayfield City Dock in Bayfield, WI. See website for additional information. Call: 715-779-5619.

Maine Open Lighthouse Day
September 12, 2020.
 This popular event, which is sponsored by the United States Coast Guard, the Maine Office of Tourism and the American Lighthouse Foundation, attracts between 15,000 to 18,000 visitors each year and offers the general public the rare opportunity to climb and learn about over two dozen historic Maine lights. See website for additional details on participating lighthouses and when they are open. Call: (207) 594-4174

Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival
September 11-13, 2020. This annual three-day festival takes place at Lighthouse Park in Mukilteo, WA. In addition to tours and visits through our working lighthouse built in 1906, the festival features live music, the Mukilteo Marketplace filled with 50+ artists, the Avenue of Food, a large Children’s Area with non-stop activities, a beer garden and two dinners on the lawn at the lighthouse, complete with a spectacular fireworks show on the 12th. See website for additional details. Email or call 425-353-5516.

Maryland Lighthouse Challenge
2020 Dates TBA.
 Complimentary souvenirs will be given at each Challenge location. You are welcome to visit any number of lighthouses along the Challenge route, but you will have to visit all mandatory stops to be able to proclaim “I’ve seen the lights!” and collect a specially designed souvenir to mark your accomplishment. 

Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey
2020 Dates TBA. 
 The New Jersey Lighthouses and select museums host The Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey weekend.  Visitors can enjoy an opportunity to tour the state and visit each lighthouse over the weekend, and help raise needed funds for the continued preservation of these treasured landmarks.  Visit up to 11 land based lighthouses, one museum and two life saving stations - rain or shine.  Participants pay a $2 registration fee at their first stop and receive a special passport book. The challenge is to visit each site and get the book stamped. 

Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Beacon Lighting
November 10, 2020. This annual event, from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, commemorates the sinking of the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald and the loss of her 29 crew members on November 10, 1975. It is also a time to reflect on the memory of all lives lost in Great Lakes shipwrecks. The lighthouse, fog signal building and visitor center will be open. Costumed guides will greet visitors and provide historic site and shipwreck information. Throughout the afternoon, visitors can view a film about the Edmund Fitzgerald in the visitor center. At 4:30 pm, the lighthouse will close temporarily while the names of the crew members are read to the tolling of a ship's bell and the Naval Hymn is played. Following the ceremony, the beacon will be lit, and the tower will be open again to tour. This is the only opportunity each year when visitors can climb the tower after dark and see the lit beacon.