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Dream ‘Job’ Alert: Here’s Your Chance to Be a Lighthouse Keeper in the Great Lakes

If you’ve ever wanted to be a lighthouse keeper, here’s your chance. The state of Michigan is currently accepting applications for teams of four to spend two weeks manning the historic Tawas Point Lighthouse on the shores of Lake Huron.

Over the course of two weeks, you and your team will be responsible for greeting visitors, leading tours, and performing basic maintenance tasks. In total, the program estimates you’ll have to spend about 35 hours volunteering over the course of your stay.

You have to apply with three other people, and each one of you will have to submit your own application (and $10 application fee) referencing your other teammates. You’ll have to explain why you’re interested in being a Lighthouse Keeper, what your experience is with public speaking, and what background you may have with lighthouse or maritime history. You’ll also have to provide two personal references.

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Image by Paulius Dragunas

While you won’t get paid for this gig—actually, you have to pay them for this privilege—it could be a dream opportunity to spend ample time disconnecting from the outside world with three people you love. The lighthouse has two bedrooms and a modern bathroom.

The Lighthouse Keeper program runs from mid-May through mid-October, so quite a few teams will have the opportunity to play Keeper throughout the season. Last year, the Keeper program was on hiatus because the 148-year-old lighthouse underwent structural repairs. The application deadline is February 17 at 11:59 PM.

Other Ways to Experience Lighthouses

Looking for something a little more permanent? The Northern Lighthouse Board of the U.K. lists vacancies on its website, including a current opening for a cook/steward on its ships, which travel around Scotland and the Isle of Man in “extreme conditions.” Pay starts around $45,000 per year and requires a 28 days on/28 days off schedule.

True vacation more your style? Of course, you can find quite a few decommissioned lighthouses on booking platforms like Airbnb. The Rose Island Lighthouse, on its own tiny island in Newport, Rhode Island, is also a gorgeous place to stay, and it offers guests the opportunity to rent the whole island. 

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Image by Jackson Eaves

Reservations typically open in December for the following year and can book up quickly, but you’re in luck—there’s still some availability for 2024. The open season is April 1 through October 31, and you can stay in private rooms in the lighthouse or in the lighthouse keeper’s apartment. Or, for a big group, you can rent the whole house and island for private use.

Whether you are looking for a long-term lighthouse stay with your friends or a couple’s getaway to a lighthouse, there are options across the U.S., and we hope you find your perfect lighthouse experience. 

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  1. John Bonnett

    I have always dreamt of becoming a lighthouse keeper. I have been a motorcycle tour guide in the Blackhills of South Dakota, Montana and Washington!! I am very outgoing and I always have a great Attitude! Just call and speak to me! I hope I can prove to you that I am more than ready and willing. This is my Dream Job. Thanks for your consideration.

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