10 BEST lighthouses in the USA


We’ve compiled a list of the 10 most breathtaking lighthouses along the West Coast of the USA.  Start planning your visit now!

1.Yaquina Head Lighthouse, Oregon  

Oregon’s tallest lighthouse stands 93-feet high, with an incredible location on a picturesque headland. 

There’s so much to do here, including lighthouse tours, a world-class visitor center, and a beach with black basalt rocks that rumble in the surf.

It's a long climb to the top of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, up 114 stairs.

Explore the rich marine life in the tide-pools beneath the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, full of sea urchins and star fish.

Don’t miss the excellent Visitor Center near the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

Learn more about Yaquina Head Lighthouse.

2. Heceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon

Heceta Head Lighthouse has the most enchanting setting of any lighthouse on the West Coast of America.  It’s also the most photographed.

Stay overnight at the Heceta Head Lighthouse B&B, housed in the Lighthouse Keepers Quarters near the Heceta Head Lighthouse. Book a cosy room overlooking the cove, and awake to a sumptuous 9-course breakfast, while soaking in the incredible atmosphere. 

Advanced bookings are definitely required at the Heceta Head Lighthouse B&B, for a choice of six rooms. Keep an eye out for "Rue the ghost", the wife of a lighthouse keeper whose child perished off the cliffs of Heceta Head.

Savor the incredible views from the sitting room at Heceta Head Lighthouse B&B. 

Heceta Head Lighthouse and the B&B overlook a secluded cove hemmed in by cliffs, with a meandering creek that flows beneath the spectacular Cape Creek Bridge before emptying into the ocean.

The backdrop to the enchanting Heceta Head Cove is the historic Arch Cape Bridge, built in 1932, along the newly constructed coastal Highway 101.  The Heceta Head Lighthouse was once extremely difficult to access, until the highway came through in the 1930s.  It was a lonely and isolated existence for lighthouse keepers and their families.

Learn more about Heceta Head Lighthouse.

3. North Head Lighthouse, Washington State

The North Head Lighthouse overlooks the most dangerous stretch of ocean in the world, home to 2,000 shipwrecks.  It's situated near the mouth of the treacherous Columbia River, with turbulent currents and shifting sandbars that have claimed countless lives.  This has earned it the notorious nickname "Graveyard of the Pacific".

The North Head Lighthouse is in Cape Disappointment State Park, with soaring views across Benson Beach to the Oregon Coast Ranges.  Can you see the North and South jetties holding back the raging ocean waters at the entrance to the Columbia River?

Book an overnight stay in the Lighthouse Keepers Quarters, just a five minute walk from the North Head Lighthouse.

Learn more about North Head Lighthouse.

4. Old Point Loma Lighthouse, San Diego

Want the best views of San Diego?  Then drive out to the Point Loma Lighthouse, with a spectacular location overlooking the entrance to San Diego Bay. This is a fabulous location for watching military boats, submarines and helicopters. While there, you can do a self guided tour of the interior of the lighthouse.

The Old Point Loma Lighthouse is steps from the overlook at the Cabrillo National Monument.  There's also an excellent Visitor Center next door, and plenty of other things to do like, like spectacular coastal trails, a whale overlook, and steps down to a beach with popular tidepools.

The New Point Loma Lighthouse is visible a short distance from the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.  You might recognize this as the setting for Viper's house in the 1986 hit movie, Top Gun.  Unfortunately it's not open for public tours.  

Learn more about the Old Point Loma Lighthouse.

5. Cape Blanco, Oregon

Cape Blanco is the oldest continously operating lighthouse in Oregon, built in 1870.  Cape Blanco Lighthouse represents everything synonymous with lighthouses, with a wild, windswept location on a headland, surrounded by sheer cliffs.  It's not uncommon for 100 mile an hour winds to roar up and down this coastline. 

Cape Blanco Lighthouse is also the perfect place for an engagement!

Take the 63 steps to the top of the Cape Blanco Lighthouse, followed by a short ladder to enter the lantern room.

As you walk along the headland to reach Cape Blanco Lighthouse, you will be greeted with dramatic vistas of sweeping, undeveloped coastline on either side.

Learn more about Cape Blanco Lighthouse.

6. Cape Meares, Oregon

The super cute Cape Meares Lighthouse is the shortest lighthouse in Oregon, standing at a diminutive 38 feet high. It's free to climb to the top, and there's also a gift shop below.  The panoramic views of the Oregon coastline are simply spectacular.

Cape Meares Lighthouse is part of the popular 20-mile "Three Capes Scenic Drive", comprising Cape Kiwanda, Cape Lookout and Cape Meares. 

Learn more about Cape Meares Lighthouse.

7. Point Arena Lighthouse, California

This striking sentinel of the Point Arena Lighthouse stands 115 feet tall on a dramatic headland.  It's nearly four hours north of San Francisco in Mendocino County.  Climb 145 steps to the stop of the stunning Point Arena Lighthouse!

8. Admiralty Head Lighthouse, Washington State

Admiralty Head Lighthouse was constructed in the 1890s, and is 2 hours north of Seattle on breathtaking Whidbey Island.  It's part of Fort Casey State Park, with a network of concrete batteries constructed to defend the entrance to Puget Sound, and protect downstream cities like Seattle and Bremerton.  Climb to the top of Admiralty Head Lighthouse, or check out the fascinating exhibits in the lower floor museum.

Part of the fun of visiting Fort Casey is exploring the concrete batteries, with stairs, tunnels and secret rooms.  The Admiralty Head Lighthouse is visible in the background, overlooking the parade ground and fortress.

Learn more about Fort Casey.

9. Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, Washington State

The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is the oldest in the northwest United States, constructed in 1856 to warn mariners of the treacherous waters at the entrance to the Columbia River on the Oregon and Washington State border.  The Coast Guard now runs this lighthouse, responding to up to 400 distress calls from mariners each year.

The lighthouse is popular with professional photographers, who gather on the south jetty at Cape Disappointment's Waikiki Beach to capture this popular vantage point of the lighthouse. It's especially popular during a winter's storm, when whitecapped waves provide the perfect foreground to the distant Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.

Learn more about Cape Disappointment Lighthouse.

10. Point Reyes Lighthouse, California

The Point Reyes Lighthouse is in a remote location on the windswept Point Reyes Headlands, a 2 hour drive northwest of San Francisco. 

There are 317 steps all the way down to the lighthouse, perched on the edge of a cliff.  Visitors can explore the Lighthouse Visitor Center, before taking the brisk walk all the way down to the Point Reyes Lighthouse. 

Enjoy spectacular northwards views of the Point Reyes Beach, known for its treacherous rip tides and currents.

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