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
Douglas-Saugatuck Lighthouse, Douglas, Michigan
Courtesy Ann Rudat/Country
“I took this picture on our annual summer RV trip to visit family in the quaint lakeside town of Douglas, Michigan. Perhaps this is the lighthouse that touched me the most because it shares the name Douglas with my husband.” —Ann Rudat
Duluth Harbor North Pier Light, Duluth, Minnesota
Courtesy Deanne Ruppel/Country
“I took this picture on a getaway to Duluth, Minnesota. I woke up before anyone else to go to the lakeshore to watch the sunrise. It’s such a blessing to be able to experience such beauty.” —Deanne Ruppel. If you want to book a vacation close to a lighthouse, try one of these charming beach towns for under $150 a night.
Ned’s Point Lighthouse, Mattapoisett, Massachusetts
Courtesy Rosalie Nadeau/Country
“My twin grandchildren were visiting us, and we decided to take them to Ned’s Point in Mattapoisett, Massachusetts, on a lovely summer day. Their grandfather served in the U.S. Navy so I thought it was fitting to dress them like little sailors in honor of his years of service.” —Rosalie Nadeau
The Harbor Lighthouse, Rockwall, Texas
Courtesy Susan Moore/Country
“The sunsets are gorgeous on Lake Ray Hubbard here in Rockwall, Texas. I cross the long bridge coming home every evening and kept my camera in my car to catch the perfect sunset by the lighthouse at the Harbor. Every night I would wait to have this red color and finally captured it.” —Susan Moore
Nubble Lighthouse in York, Maine
Courtesy Lori Smith/Country
“While I was scanning through my pictures, I came across this one with an unexpected guest in front of the beautiful Cape Neddick Lighthouse in York, Maine. This lighthouse was first constructed in the year 1879. The foundation is concrete with cast iron plate with brick lining.” —Lori Smith
West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, Lubec, Maine
Courtesy Fay Serbian/Country
“The beam of moonlight that cast across the water of the Quoddy Channel enhanced our view of the picturesque red and white striped lighthouse. Daylight was disappearing and some hints of distant fog began to settle in as the moon climbed higher in the sky.” —Fay Serbian. This is the ultimate coastal road trip you need to take.
St. Helena Island Lighthouse, St. Helena Island, Michigan
Courtesy Heather Lake/Country
“As we walked along a scenic pathway, the lighthouse gradually came into view in its full splendor: a weathered red brick building with green shutters and a white tower, the American flag flying proudly from its cupola.” —Heather Lake
Rock Harbor Lighthouse, Isle Royale National Park in Michigan
Rock Harbor Lighthouse is a sign of civilization on Isle Royale, our country’s least visited national park, where the moose population thrives and the forest beckons adventurers.
Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse, Hannibal, Missouri
K. Bradley Washburn/Shutterstock
“In Cardiff Hill Park, the Mark Twain Memorial Lighthouse, built in 1935 to honor Twain’s 100th birthday, rewards those who climb its 244 steps with a stunning panoramic view of Hannibal and the Mississippi River. On your way down, make sure to stop by the foot of Cardiff Hill to see a statue of Huck Finn and Tom Sawyer.” —Felicia Schneiderman
Split Rock Lighthouse, Silver Bay, Minnesota
This iconic lighthouse shines out over Lake Superior from atop a towering rocky cliff in Two Harbors, Minnesota. For more iconic state sites, check out the best-kept secret in every state.
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