The 1836 structure was demolished in the late 1850s and the existing lighthouse was first lit in 1858. The lamp produced a steady white light visible for 14 nautical miles. The lighthouse was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1979. The Pottawatomie Lighthouse was restored to the 1910 period through the efforts of the Friends of Rock Island, DNR staff and grants through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources. Since 2004 the Friends of Rock Island has staffed the lighthouse for tours from Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day weekend. The free guided tours are provided by live-in volunteer docents. The lighthouse is open for tours from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. Donations are accepted and a small gift shop sells items so renovation and upkeep can continue.
10am-4pm daily Memorial Day Weekend through Columbus Day.
Two ferry rides are needed to reach Rock Island State Park. Take Wisconsin Highway 42 to its end at Northport, the tip of the Door County Peninsula. Take the Washington Island Ferryto Washington Island. The ferry carries people, vehicles, bicycles and freight. From the Washington Island ferry landing, travel across the island to the northeast side to the Rock Island ferry landing. Leave your vehicle or bike there and take the passengers-only Rock Island Ferry to Rock Island.
Visitors may take their boats to Rock Island, but caution is urged as Lake Michigan can be hazardous due to reefs and storms. There is a nightly fee for all boats mooring overnight at Rock Island.