Lighthouses are wonderful landmarks. These structures may seem simple enough, but when you dive into their history, you discover fascinating stories that give you a peek into the lives of the people of the past.
On top of that, lighthouses are beautiful. When set against the backdrop of an enormous lake or a crashing sea, they make for amazing photo subjects and provide wonderful places of reflection.
Knowing these things, it’s no wonder so many wanderers find themselves drawn to lighthouses. If you’re one of these hundreds of travelers who love to visit lighthouses, this is the article for you.
Below we’ve listed 12 of the very best lighthouses in the US. Plan a visit to one or two, or make a point of seeing them all. We’re confident you’ll have a great time and learn a thing or two while you’re at it.
East Coast Lighthouses
Let’s begin on the east coast. You won’t be surprised to learn that some of the most beautiful historic lighthouses in the world can be found along the eastern side of our country, and we highly recommend visiting as many as you can, especially those listed below.
Bodie Island Lighthouse, North Carolina
The lighthouse that stands on Bodie Island today exhibited its first light on October 1st of 1872. That said, this wasn’t the first lighthouse built on the island; two others were constructed here before this one, early in the same century.
This lighthouse is located in Dare County, NC. Rent an RV here!
Portland Head Lighthouse, Maine
Located on the shores of Fort Williams Park, the Portland Head Lighthouse has been a well known Maine Landmark since 1790. Built to warn of impending attacks by the British, the lighthouse was first lit in 1791. Lighthouse keepers called the place home until 1989.
This lighthouse is located in Cape Elizabeth, ME. Rent an RV here!
West Quoddy Head Lighthouse, Maine
Quite possibly the most photographed lighthouse in the US, West Quoddy Head Lighthouse is located on the easternmost point of the country. While the current tower was built in 1858, lighthouses have stood in this spot since 1808 in order to guide ships through the Quoddy Narrows.
This lighthouse is located in Lubec, ME. Rent an RV here!
Montauk Lighthouse, New York
The oldest lighthouse in the state of New York, Montauk Lighthouse was started in 1792 and completed in 1796. It sits on the rugged Montauk Point, which is located on the tip of eastern Long Island.
This lighthouse is located in Montauk, NY. Rent an RV here!
West Coast Lighthouses
The west coast might not strike you as the place to find lighthouses, but there are actually plenty to be found there. Not only that, but the dramatic cliffs of the coastline along the western side of the country provide a gorgeous addition to the landscape surrounding these lovely lighthouses.
Pigeon Point Lighthouse, California
At 115 feet tall, Pigeon Point Lighthouse is one of the tallest on the west coast and one of the tallest in the United States. The lighthouse sits perched on the edge of a cliff. It was constructed back in 1872 and was first lit in November of the same year.
This lighthouse is located in San Mateo County, CA. Rent an RV here!
Battery Point Lighthouse, California
Another wonderful California Lighthouse is Battery Point Lighthouse. Also known as Crescent City Lighthouse, this landmark was first lit using oil lamps in December of 1856. Though it no longer uses oil lamps, the lighthouse is still in operation today.
This lighthouse is located in Crescent City, CA. Rent an RV here!
Heceta Head Lighthouse, Oregon
Our favorite lighthouse in the state of Oregon, Heceta Head Lighthouse was built in 1894. It still works today, and is said to be the brightest light on the state’s coast. Sitting 205 feet above the ocean, it certainly is easy to see!
This lighthouse is located in Lane County, OR. Rent an RV here!
North Head Lighthouse, Washington
Spending some time in Washington State? We highly recommend a visit to North Head Lighthouse. Located near Cape Disappointment, this lighthouse was first put into service in 1898 and still serves as an aid in navigation to this day.
This lighthouse is located in Pacific County, WA. Rent an RV here!
Great Lakes Lighthouses
Finally, there are the lighthouses of the Great Lakes. Many people are unaware that there are lighthouses along the shores of the Great Lakes. There are, though—and for good reason. Learn about the incredible history of these lakes at any of the lighthouses listed below.
Lorain Lighthouse, Ohio
The first light at Lorain Lighthouse was a lantern hung near the water’s edge in 1837. The lighthouse was reconstructed at least twice before 1908. These days, the Lorain Lighthouse no longer functions, but it still stands and serves as a reminder of the port’s history.
This lighthouse is located in Lorain County, OH. Rent an RV here!
Big Sable Point Lighthouse, Michigan
Big Sable Point Lighthouse stands over 100 feet tall on the shores of Lake Michigan. It was constructed in 1867 and used to guide local ships and boats. In the early 1900s, the lighthouse was painted black and white, a color scheme it retains to this day.
This lighthouse is located in Mason County, MI. Rent an RV here!
Split Rock Lighthouse, Minnesota
Split Rock Lighthouse was constructed in the early 1900s after a violent storm caused a number of tragic shipwrecks in 1905. It’s one of the most famous landmarks in the state of Minnesota, and is quite lovely, perched on a cliff and sporting its original 1920s facade.
This lighthouse is located in Lake County, MN. Rent an RV here!
Wind Point Lighthouse, Wisconsin
Lastly, there is Wind Point Lighthouse. This Wisconsin landmark is located at the end of Racine Harbor and has offered navigational assistance to ships since 1880. It stands 108 feet tall, and is one of the tallest Great Lakes lighthouses.
This lighthouse is located in Wind Point, WI. Rent an RV here!