20 Beautiful Lighthouses to Visit from Coast to Coast
From guiding ships to inspiring photographers, these stunning lighthouses across America are worth setting sail to explore.
Old Baldy Lighthouse on Bald Head Island, North Carolina
Charles Chadwick Talton/Shutterstock
North Carolina’s oldest lighthouse stands on Bald Head Island at the mouth of the Cape Fear River, an area known as the Graveyard of the Atlantic due to the large number of shipwrecks. The lighthouse is accessible via ferry rides to the island.
Dry Tortugas Lighthouse, on Loggerhead Key, Florida
Courtesy Valerie Bennett/Country
“In October 2015, the Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation sponsored a trip to Dry Tortugas National Park. By special arrangement with the Park Service, not only did we get a boat ride to Loggerhead Key but we got to climb the lighthouse. The poor air circulation and disintegrating 1858 brick mortar made for a hot and dusty climb five levels on the way to the top. But it was sure worth it!” —Valerie Bennett. If you’ve ever wondered what it would be like to spend the night in a lighthouse, you don’t have to anymore; here are lighthouses you can rent out on Airbnb.
Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Dare County, North Carolina
Courtesy Elizabeth Boulter/Country
“This trip to the Outer Banks of North Carolina was the first of several spring break trips our two families have taken together. We spent most of our time roaming the beautiful Cape Hatteras National Seashore. We all climbed to the top—it is the tallest brick lighthouse in North America!” —Elizabeth Boulter
Diamond Head Lighthouse, Honolulu, Hawaii
Courtesy Maryann Massar/Country
“The hike up to the top of Diamond Head in Diamond Head State Monument is well worth the physical strength and endurance you have to have to get there. Not only are you greeted at the top with views of Waikiki Beach, but also this magnificent view of the Diamond Head Lighthouse built in 1917.” —Maryann Massar
Port Boca Grande Lighthouse in Boca Grande, Florida
Courtesy Martha Marcotte/Country
“I photographed this Florida lighthouse with a storm approaching, which is a reminder of its purpose—to guide weary travelers home with a shining, dependable light.” —Martha Marcotte. Some of these lighthouses are also the perfect place to catch a sunset. These are the most spectacular sunsets in every state.
Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine
“Portland Head Light in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, is my favorite lighthouse because of the immense sense of peace, strength, security, and hope I feel every time I visit. Its beauty is unmatched.” —Martha Marcotte
Bass Harbor Head Light, Bar Harbor, Maine
Courtesy Leonard Stewart/Country
“For many years I have loved and enjoyed the beauty of New England. In 2012 I took a vacation to Acadia National Park as my retirement present. I snapped this photo in Bar Harbor while enjoying the scenery from a lighthouse boat tour.” —Leonard Stewart
Yaquina Head Lighthouse, Newport, Oregon
Courtesy Janet Abrahamson/Country
“On vacation in Newport, Oregon, my husband and I got up bright and early and drove to Yaquina Head Light. We were the first and only ones there at the time and the scene was truly a beautiful one. I love the colors of the landscape with its golden grasses. Because a storm was coming in, the sky was a gorgeous dark blue.” —Janet Abrahamson. For a good place to swim, visit one of the best beaches of the year.
Assateague Lighthouse, Chincoteaque, Virginia
Courtesy Eva Hickman/Country
“We have been going to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge for the last 25 years and it never ceases to provide beautiful scenery and lots of wildlife to see. There are many trails for hiking and biking and a beautiful lighthouse that is open most weekends for you to tour.” —Eva Hickman
Bodie Island Lighthouse, Nags Head, North Carolina
Courtesy Donna Scoggins/Country
“It was a joy to visit the lighthouse in the Outer Banks, North Carolina. Lighthouses have always served as a beacon of hope for those on the water. I believe, like lighthouses, we should always provide light and hope for those in need!” —Donna Scoggins