The free Mukilteo Lighthouse is an easy 20-minute drive north of Seattle.
It's located near the Whidbey Island Ferry Terminal, in Mukilteo, and has a spectacular location overlooking Whidbey Island and Puget Sound.
The 38-foot Mukilteo Lighthouse was first operational in 1906, then finally automated in 1972.
The lighthouse is flanked on either side by two charming Lighthouse Keeper's cottages, and one of these cottages is now a gift shop.
It's also part of the 16-acre Lighthouse Park which has lovely beach frontage, six fire pits available for use, covered picnic tables and a fun playground.
The Mukilteo Lighthouse is free to visit, at 608 Front Street, Mukilteo. Check lighthouse hours.
10 best things to do at Mukilteo Lighthouse
1. See fascinating exhibits in the lower floor museum, which used to be a foghorn room.
It's hard to imagine that the lower floor of the Mukilteo Lighthouse was once a noisy foghorn room that blasted out a sound every 16 seconds.
Today the foghorn room is a small museum with some great exhibits. Some of the highlights include the treaty where Native American Tribes deeded coastal lands to the U.S. Government. There's also an original lens on display from the stunning Desdemona Sands Lighthouse, once located in the middle of the treacherous Columbia River.
2. Learn about life for a lighthouse keeper at Mukilteo Lighthouse.
It was hard work keeping the Mukilteo Lighthouse running!
The Lighthouse Keeper and his Assistant worked in 6 hour shifts, with arduous tasks like refilling the oil lamp every 3 hours, and winding up the pulley system that rotated the lens every 4 hours. They were often working in hazardous, smokey conditions with an open lamp flame.
3. Climb the 36 stairs to the stunning lantern room.
Take the 36 stairs all the way to the top of the Mukilteo Lighthouse, for incredible views over Puget Sound towards Whidbey Island.
The Mukilteo Lighthouse still shines 24 hours a day and has a distinctive light flash pattern with 2 seconds on, 3 seconds off, visible up to 10-miles away. Its fresnel lens was built in Paris, designed by physicist Augustine Fresnel, and the original light flash pattern was once every 5 seconds.
4. Find the foghorn outside the Mukilteo Lighthouse.
In 1977 the foghorn was moved to a concrete wall outside the Mukilteo Lighthouse with soundproofing. You can still see it at the waterfront today, and it sounds every 30 seconds in foggy conditions.
5. Read the plaque that commemorates Captain Vancouver's 1972 expedition.
Captain Vancouver of the British Royal Navy dropped anchor here in 1792, on his famous 1791 to 1795 expedition to chart the Pacific Northwest. The plaque outside the Mukilteo Lighthouse reads:
"Landing site of Capt. George Vancouver. On May 30, 1792, Captain Vancouver and his party anchored off this point and came ashore the following morning. Commissioned by the British to survey the NW Coast of America, they named this area Rose Point for the many wild roses that grew here."
6. Combine a visit to Mukilteo Lighthouse, with a 20-minute ferry ride to Whidbey Island.
The Whidbey Island Ferry departs right next to the Mukilteo Lighthouse.
Drive or walk onboard the ferry, to explore a number of great attractions on beautiful Whidbey Island, including Fort Casey, Fort Ebey, Deception Pass, the Meerkerk Gardens, and the charming towns of Langley and Coupeville.
7. Visit the Gift Shop housed in the Lighthouse Keepers Cottage.
This is the back of the Gift Shop (below), where you can clearly see the old bedrooms upstairs.
Here's another perspective of the Gift Shop (below) overlooking the Assistant Lighthouse Keeper's Quarters.
8. Hang out at the beach and firepits at Lighthouse Park.
The 16-acre Mukilteo Lighthouse Park has extensive beach frontage. It's a popular gathering place, especially on summer evenings when visitors congregate around the six fire pits available for use on the beach, and watch the incredible sunsets.
There's also a fabulous waterfront playground for kids, sheltered picnic tables, a boat launch, and restroom.
9. Dine at beautiful restaurants with stunning water views.
Mukilteo has a wonderful selection of restaurants and cafes with superb water views.
Treat yourself to a waterfront meal at Ivar's Mukilteo Landing restaurant, just a 5 minute walk along Front Street from the Mukilteo Lighthouse. For a more casual meal, pick up a snack or icecream at Ivar's Kiosk, and watch the sunset at Lighthouse Park.
It's just a short drive up the hill to some other great choices, like Sage and Cinder (vegan restaurant), and Cabernets and IPA (wine bar). Both have breathtaking water views and patio dining in a chic setting.
If you fancy a coffee, enjoy the charming patio and cottage garden overlooking Puget Sound, at Red Cup Cafe.
10. Book a tour of the nearby Boeing Factory.
The excellent Boeing Factory Tour is also a 5 minute drive away, where you can see Boeing planes being assembled on a factory line.
Know before you go
- Address: 608 Front Street, Mukilteo.
- Lighthouse admission: FREE.
- Lighthouse hours: Check hours (usually weekends, April through September).
- Parking: Metered parking at Lighthouse Park.