Lighthouses may not be a very noticeable aspect of modern transportation, but they were once essential for safety and navigation. Although they still serve as navigation lights in some contexts today, lighthouses now catch our attention for another reason: their classic beauty. If you’re a lighthouse lover, be sure to visit the most beautiful lighthouses in the USA during some point in your future travels! Here are ten of the loveliest lighthouses for your bucket list.
In its heyday, this was one of the most important lighthouses on the North American Atlantic Coast. In the churning water below the lighthouse, the Gulf Stream hits the Virginia Drift, creating a dangerous current. The guardian of the Graveyard of the Atlantic was the Cape Hatteras Lighthouse. This lighthouse is a gorgeous work of architecture with a bright red brick base and bold stripes up its tower.
This picturesque lighthouse is the centerpiece of Fort Williams Park in Maine. The lighthouse is built on the edge of a low cliff that overlooks the beautiful Atlantic Ocean. It was originally constructed in the 18th Century to keep ships from running aground. The thundering waves are an awe-inspiring sight, and the whitewashed lighthouse adds charm to the gorgeous landscape.
Address: 12 Captain Strout Cir, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107
This lighthouse looks like something from a fairy tale or Disney movie! It is located on a small island with the dramatic backdrop of Alaska’s rugged mountains. This light was set on Eldred Rock after a disastrous ship crash. Like many early northern lighthouses, it is short and wide. An elegant, round house is built around of the octagonal tower.
Address: Eldred Rock Lighthouse Preservation, Haines, Alaska 99827
This lovely lighthouse is built on Minnesota’s Lake Superior coast. The stately octagonal structure is a breathtaking sight in daylight as well as twilight! It stands on a steep cliff overlooking the lake, and its sunset silhouette is a sight worth stopping for. When you visit, you can take a tour and see the museum.
Address: 3713 Split Rock Lighthouse Rd, Two Harbors, MN 55616
Thomas Point Shoal Light Station is located in the middle of Chesapeake Bay. That’s right—it’s in the sea rather than on shore. The lighthouse is built on a rocky outcropping that sticks out of the water in the bay. It’s the only original screw-pile lighthouse left in the bay, and it’s so unusual that it will be sure to catch your eye if you get lucky enough to visit the region.
Visit Ludington State Park for the chance to see this Lake Michigan lighthouse. The sight of the tower rising from the windswept sands will transport back to a simpler time! If you visit this boldly striped lighthouse and its attached home, you can take a tour or just make it the subject of your Instagram photos.
Built in 1871, Pigeon Point Lighthouse was once an indispensable part of West-Coast navigation. Today, it is worth visiting for several reasons. First, it is the West Coast’s tallest lighthouse. Secondly, it’s actually still in active use for the U.S. Coast Guard! Finally, this lighthouse is simply beautiful. It seems out of place in California, since its architecture reflects the stately minimalism of old New England rather than the Southwestern look of typical California buildings.
Address: 210 Pigeon Point Rd, Hwy 1, Pescadero, CA 94060
Ohio’s Toledo Harbor Lighthouse silently protects vessels along the coast of Lake Erie. It was built in 1837 as a replacement for an old lighthouse at the mouth of the Maumee River. Today, it still helps ships stay safe and on course during their travels!
This lighthouse is often said to look like a gingerbread house, and you may be inclined to agree! The unique construction of this lighthouse doesn’t look much like the typical slender lighthouse of the seacoasts. Instead, it looks like a strange fairytale building, thanks to its square build and thick rooftops.
Address: Toledo Harbor Lighthouse, Jerusalem Township, OH
This stunning lighthouse is combined with a beautiful house to form a lovely brick building. It has some of the most complex and appealing architecture of any 18th-century lighthouse. The lighthouse is located off the coast of Rhode Island on tiny Block Island. You have to take a boat to get here, but a tour of the old house and a long look at the dramatic cliffs near the lighthouse are well worth a trip.
At the edge of the green-carpeted Oregon Coast, you’ll find a small lighthouse tucked away between the sea and the trees. Hecta Head Lighthouse is perfectly picturesque! This lighthouse has the strongest light on the West Coast—something it needed to keep ships away from the raging waters and rugged cliffs that plummet into the ocean just a few hundred yards away. You can actually stay at this lighthouse during your visit. Today, it is a bed and breakfast!