Nothing says summer like a breathtaking coastal view, and nothing says coastline like a beautiful lighthouse. The United States is home to countless lighthouses, each of which boasts its own charm and unique splendor. Here are 12 of our favorites, in no particular order.
1. Big Sable Point Light (Ludington, Michigan)
The coast of Lake Michigan has its fair share of stunning lighthouses, each of which sits just feet from the gorgeous shores of this freshwater wonderland. Big Sable Point Light has been around since the late 19th century, and generations of beachgoers have appreciated its beauty.
2. Battery Point Lighthouse (Crescent City, California)
Since 1856, this stunning lighthouse has served as a local landmark in this California community. As one of the state’s first coastal lighthouses, its history is fascinating. Visitors to the area can even peruse a small museum dedicated to the one-of-a-kind light.
3. Loggerhead Lighthouse (Key West, Florida)
Also known as the Dry Tortugas Light, this awesome structure sits approximately three miles from Fort Jefferson and is often touted as the furthest light from the mainland in the world. While it was decommissioned in 2015, the light still stands as a marvelous reminder of the area’s marine legacy.
4. Eldred Rock Lighthouse (Lynn Canal, Alaska)
This marvelous construction sits in the shadow of towering mountains and actually serves at one of Alaska’s last remaining lighthouses. With an octagonal shape and a history that stretches back to the early 1900s, there’s really nothing not to love about this awesome light.
5. Pigeon Point Lighthouse (Pescadero, California)
This still-active light near San Francisco is one of California’s tallest, and its beauty is truly incredible. Easily accessible from the main highway, Pigeon Point LIghthouse gives way to gorgeous views of the Pacific Coast and welcomes thousands of visitors each year.
6. Old Point Loma Lighthouse (San Diego, California)
Yes, yet another California lighthouse makes our list -- we simply can’t get enough of the Pacific coast! Old Point Loma Lighthouse now operates largely as a museum, though its history as a functional light began all the way back in 1855. This delightful spot is well worth a visit.
7. Portland Head Lighthouse (Cape Elizabeth, Maine)
Contrary to what its name might suggest, Portland Head Light is actually located in the ruggedly beautiful state of Maine. There’s some serious history to explore here: in fact, the lighthouse itself dates back to 1791. The structure is maintained by the United States Coast Guard to this day.
8. Diamond Head Lighthouse (Honolulu, Hawaii)
It’s nearly impossible to find a spot along the Hawaiian coast that isn’t absolutely breathtaking, and Diamond Head Lighthouse is no exception. Opened in 1917, this brilliant light overlooks stunning views of the Pacific shoreline -- and the light that emanates from this structure reaches 18 miles into the sea.
9. Toledo Harbor Lighthouse (Toledo, Ohio)
When it comes to lighthouses, Ohio might not be the first spot that comes to mind -- but the Toledo Harbor Lighthouse certainly holds its own! Situated on beautiful Lake Erie, this light was first constructed in the early 20th century and remains a local landmark today.
10. Heceta Head (Florence, Oregon)
Make your way to the beautiful Pacific Northwest for a chance to marvel at this structure, which sits above the sea within an equally breathtaking state park. With the capacity to shine its light over 20 nautical miles into the ocean, this lighthouse is as powerful as it is stunning.
11. Sheffield Island Lighthouse (Norwalk, Connecticut)
Stop by for an unforgettable tour of this 19th century lighthouse, which draws in countless visitors each year with its unique beauty and careful attention to accurately representing the period in which it was built. Marvel at waterfront views as you peruse the grounds of this light, first opened in 1868.
12. Mission Point Lighthouse (Traverse City, Michigan)
The shores of Lake Michigan are only enhanced by the presence of Mission Point Light, which adds a historical beauty to the Old Mission Peninsula. Built in 1870, this charming structure is the perfect place to snap a few photos while learning about Michigan’s maritime history.
How many of these lighthouses have you visited? Let us know in the comment section below!