The 13 Most Wonderful Lighthouses Across The USA

Portland Head Lighthouse | © Anthony Quintano/Flickr
Portland Head Lighthouse | © Anthony Quintano/Flickr
Photo of Alexia Wulff
9 February 2017

Lighthouses have served as a navigational aid for seamen for hundreds of years. It was born from a tradition of setting fires on hilltops to guide ships; this led to fire-lit platforms, and eventually the lighthouse. Before the development of clearly defined ports, these lighted towers were used to mark entrances for ships. By the turn of the century, its function switched to serve as warning signals against shipping hazards, like reefs or rocks. Here are America‘s most wonderful of the bunch.

Lorain Lighthouse, Ohio

Known as the ‘Jewel of the Port,’ this lighthouse, with the first ‘light’ being a lantern hung near the water’s edge, was constructed in 1837 and rebuilt at least twice until the outer harbor West Breakwater was officially completed in 1908. The lighthouse is no longer functioning, but it remains an icon of the port’s history in Lake Erie shipping.

Lorain Lighthouse | © Rona Proudfoot/Flickr

Big Sable Point Lighthouse, Michigan

Big Sable Point Lighthouse was constructed in 1867 as a beacon of light to local seamen, rising high on the shores of Lake Michigan; however, it didn’t receive its black and white makeover until the early 1900s, after being damaged by the harsh oceanside climate. It is one of the tallest lighthouses in the state, reaching over 100 feet high.

Big Sable Point Lighthouse, 5611 N Lighthouse, Ludington, MI, USA

Big Sable Lighthouse, MI | Public Domain/Pixabay

Big Sable Point Lighthouse, MI | Public Domain/Pixabay

Pigeon Point Lighthouse, California

Perched on a cliff in central California, Pigeon Point Lighthouse was constructed in 1871 to guide ships along the Pacific; it was first lit on November 15, 1872. It is the tallest lighthouse on the West Coast, and one of the tallest in America at 115 feet tall.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse | © GPS/Flickr

Portland Head Lighthouse, Maine

Portland Head Lighthouse is situated along the shores of Fort Williams Park on Cape Elizabeth, a popular Maine landmark since 1790. The lighthouse was built to warn of impending British attacks – its 72-foot-high lantern deck first lit on January 10, 1791. In 1865, the tower was raised another 20 feet. The lighthouse was home to the head and assistant lighthouse keepers and their families until 1989.

Portland Head Lighthouse, 1000 Shore Rd, Cape Elizabeth, ME, USA

Split Rock Lighthouse, Minnesota

A violent 1905 November storm and several resulting shipwrecks prompted the construction of Split Rock Lighthouse. It was completed in 1910, providing navigational aid to sailors traveling near the rocky Two Harbors coast. It is one of the state’s most famous landmarks, restored to its original 1920s façade that can be seen today nestled on oceanside cliffs.

Split Rock Lighthouse, 3713 Split Rock Lighthouse Road, Two Harbors, MN, USA

Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

The shores of Cape Hatteras are considered one of the most hazardous regions of the Atlantic Coast, dubbed the ‘Graveyard of the Atlantic’ for its hundreds (possibly thousands) of shipwrecks that have occurred in the area. The first lighthouse, lit October 1803, was demolished in 1871; the current lighthouse was lit on December 1, 1870. The famous black and white striped design was added in 1873.

Cape Hatteras, 46368 Lighthouse Rd, Buxton, NC, USA

Cookies Policy

We and our partners use cookies to better understand your needs, improve performance and provide you with personalised content and advertisements. To allow us to provide a better and more tailored experience please click "OK"