Top 20 Oregon Trips

Umpqua Lighthouse

The Umpqua Lighthouse and museum is on the Southern Oregon Coast.

The Umpqua Lighthouse is 3 hours south of Portland, located 30-minutes from Florence on the Central Oregon Coast.

This 65-foot lighthouse was first lit in 1894, and sits on top of a spectacular 100 foot bluff at Winchester Bay.

Lighthouse tours and the museum are usually available year-round (check hours & admission). Visitors can tour the inside of the Umpqua Lighthouse for an up-close look at the stunning red and white lens, and the museum is just a short distance away, housed in the former US Coast Guard building. 

If you're visiting the lighthouse, stay at the nearby tourist town of Florence, or book a campsite at the Umpqua Lighthouse State Park.

10 best things to do at Umpqua Lighthouse

1. Admire spectacular views from the overlook across from the lighthouse.

Spend some time at the overlook directly across the road from the Umpqua Lighthouse. The Umpqua Lighthouse is on a spectacular coastal ridge, commanding amazing views of the entrance to Winchester Bay to the north, and open coastal dunes to the west.  

2. Look up at the magnificent 65-foot Umpqua Lighthouse.

The Umpqua Lighthouse stands 65-feet tall, and was constructed in 1894.  The first lighthouse was established in 1857 at the entrance of the mouth of Winchester Bay, but was vulnerable to flooding and eventually collapsed, later replaced with the current lighthouse.

3. Step inside the vintage workroom behind the lighthouse.

The Lighthouse Keepers warmed themselves beside this fire in the Umpqua Lighthouse workroom.

They kept detailed, handwritten notes in a journal about weather conditions, cleaning and upkeep.

The Lighthouse Keepers wore these coats when spending hours meticulously cleaning the lens, removing their wedding rings so they didn't scratch the surface.

4. Climb 67 steps up the spiral staircase of Umpqua Lighthouse.

Book a guided tour of the Umpqua Lighthouse that takes you all the way to the top!

5. Explore some fascinating artifacts in a glass case on the landing platform.

A tour guide will pause on the platform to give indepth history about the Umpqua Lighthouse.

These are the old bulbs when the Umpqua Lighthouse was finally electrified in 1934, and you can also see some vintage Coast Guard caps.

Back in the day, Lighthouse Keepers had to wind up the clockwork mechanism used to rotate the fresnel lens every 70 minutes!  It was eventually automated with a motor.

6. Take the final steps to the magnificent lantern room.

Step inside the dazzling lantern room!  The Umpqua Lighthouse is active 24 hours a day, emitting two white flashes followed by a red flash. 

The lens was constructed from 616 magnificent red and white prisms, made by Barbier & Cie in 1890 in France, and is one of the few lighthouses that still operate with first order Fresnel lens.

7. Walk a short distance to the Umpqua River Lighthouse Museum.

Follow the signs to the Umpqua River Lighthouse Museum, directly north of the lighthouse.

The museum is housed in an old U.S. Coast Guard Station barracks, built in 1939.

The U.S. Coast Guard took over the Umpqua Lighthouse in 1939 from the Lifesaving Service.  Douglas County now manages both the museum and Umpqua Lighthouse.

Check out this vintage Coast Guard scuba gear in bright red!

See fascinating items used by Lighthouse Keepers to keep the Umpqua Lighthouse running, like the brass lamp oil filling can, the oil measuring can, and the wick trimmer.

The Umpqua Lighthouse had a powerful beam, and could be seen 20 miles away at sea.

These are some vintage Coast Guard uniforms and flotation devices.

Learn about the Coast Guard flag with the blue eagle and 13 stars.

8. See an authentic lifeboat from the 1930s, designed to hold 3 crew members and 20 survivors. 

This was the main model of life boat used by the Coast Guard around the country, with the last unit removed in 1987.  You can see it directly outside the Umpqua River Lighthouse Museum.

The Coast Guard put themselves at great risk in these boats, navigating treacherous waters in an open cockpit.

Here's an example of the 36-foot lifeboat in action by the Coast Guard.

9. Follow the short trail down to the sandy beach at tranquil Lake Marie.

Lake Marie is 0.1 miles directly south of the Umpqua Lighthouse. Enjoy a picnic on the grassed area near Lake Marie, follow the 1-mile path around the lake, or swim in the lake (no lifeguards).

If you want to stay overnight on the shores of Lake Marie at the Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, visit Oregon State Parks to reserve a campsite, RV hook-up, log cabin or yurt. There are seven deluxe yurts, with TV's, a microwave, fridge and shower. 

10. Visit the wild ocean beach at Umpqua Lighthouse State Park, popular for crabbing, fishing and surfing.

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