The 27 Most Beautiful East Coast Lighthouses & How to Visit Them!

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From Nova Scotia, all the way to Florida, the eastern seaboard of North America is home to some of the most important port cities on the continent. As such, they needed to make sure the ships crossing the Atlantic would make it to the harbor, so they constructed lighthouses to make the way safer.

 

But they didn’t just build lighthouses, they also took the time to make them beautiful. There are the best lighthouses on the East Coast with details on how to visit each one!

 

 

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Best East Coast Lighthouses

 

 

The Best East Coast Lighthouses

Here are the best lighthouses on the East Coast of the US and Canada.

 

The Best Canadian East Coast Lighthouses

Nova Scotia is synonymous with lighthouses, but it’s not the only place on the east coast of Canada where you can see gorgeous lighthouses! Here are the best East Coast lighthouses in Canada!

 

Cape Spear Lighthouse (Newfoundland)

 

Cape Spear Lighthouse (Newfoundland)

 

There are hundreds of lighthouses on the East coast of Canada but one of my favorites is Cape Spear Lighthouse in St. John’s, Newfoundland. Located on the most easterly point of North America, this lighthouse isn’t just stunning but historically significant. It was the second lighthouse built in the province in 1836 and is now the oldest surviving one.
 
Cape Spear Lighthouse is a national historic site and from May to October they run daily tours and exhibits of the inside of the lighthouse. The entrance fee is $3.90 per adult and there is a large parking lot outside.
 
Cape Spear Lighthouse is located in a beautiful location facing the Atlantic Ocean. Nearby you can hike a section of the East Coast Trail, which is a 336km wilderness trail that goes across Eastern Newfoundland. During the spring you may see icebergs from the trail and in the summer it is common to see humpback whales.
 
Contributed by Lora of Explore with Lora
 

 

Pointe-au-Père Lighthouse (Quebec)

 

Lighthouse at Pointe-au-Pere, near Rimouski, Quebec, Canada.

 

Quebec Maritime has to be one of the most beautiful areas in Canada. Full of sweeping vistas of mountains, fjords, and the spectacular St. Lawrence Seaway. Quebec Maritime is, in fact, four regions: Bas-Saint-Laurent, Gaspésie, Côte-Nord, or the Îles de la Madeleine.
 
It is home to 10 National Parks and over 40 lighthouses, 18 or which offer tourism activities or services to the public. You can visit a submarine beside Pointe-au-Père Lighthouse including the Empress of Ireland museum.
 

Visit a small Marconi museum in Pointe-a-la-Renommee or take a cruise to see the Haut-fond Prince Lighthouse standing stoically in the middle of the St. Lawrence River. If you seek a unique experience you can stay overnight in Maisons du Phare de l’Île Verte B&B. These lighthouses have given new life to museums, inns, and cafes and provide visitors with new opportunities to discover history, architecture and learn about marine life in the St. Lawrence Seaway.  

 

Known as the most traveled lighthouse in the world (because it’s been moved locations a couple of times), Pointe-à-la-Renommée Lighthouse was one of the most pictures lighthouses on the Lighthouse Trail.  You can take a guided tour ($10/person) focusing on architecture and history, including the presence of North America’s first maritime radio station, installed by Marconi in 1904.

 
Contributed by Margarita Ibbott from DownshiftingPRO.

 

 

Cape Forchu Lighthouse (Nova Scotia)

 

Cape Forchu Lightstation

 

Cape Forchu Lighthouse is located on Cape Forchu on the south shores of Nova Scotia 11km from the city of Yarmouth. This is the second most photographed lighthouse in Nova Scotia behind the famous Peggy’s Cove lighthouse.
 
The lighthouse you see today is an “apple core” lighthouse built in 1962 that replaced the original lighthouse from 1839.
 
Located on a small cape and connected by a road and thin strip of land off the coast of mainland Nova Scotia, this lighthouse is surrounded by the dramatic and rocky shoreline of the south shores as well as a small fishing community.
 
On the 19 acres of land open to the public, the lighthouse sits on includes the Leif Erickson Trail that wraps around the rocky and rugged cape, gorgeous seaside views, the lighthouse itself, and the Keeper’s Kitchen restaurant and gift shop.
 
You can access the trails all year long, but the restaurant and gift shop are only open in the summer months.
 
Because of the dramatic coastline and rugged location, this is an incredible spot to catch a sunset or sunrise for those early risers. Cape Forchu is also a designated North America’s Starlight Destination.
 
This lighthouse was also used in the 2019 film The Lighthouse starring Robert Pattinson and Willem Dafoe and included Academy Award nominations.
 
However, you won’t be recognizing the apple core Cape Forchu lighthouse in the film as they built their lighthouse on the cape and removed it after filming completed. Even though the lighthouse is different, you can still recognize the gorgeous views from Cape Forchu in the film.
 
 
Contributed by Megan Indoe from Bobo & Chichi
 
 

 

Peggys Point Lighthouse (Nova Scotia)

 

Peggy's Point Lighthouse in Nova Scotia Canada with blue sky and rocks in foreground

 

Peggys Point Lighthouse is an iconic lighthouse and one of Canada’s most famous tourist spots. It is located in Peggy’s Cove along Canadians east coast in Nova Scotia and is one of the most photographed lighthouses in Canada, and maybe even the world. It is easily reachable by car or bus tour by driving for one hour from the capital city of Nova Scotia, Halifax.

 

What’s great about visiting Peggy’s Point Lighthouse is that it’s not the only thing to see in the area. The lighthouse is surrounded by an idyllic fishing village and the scenery is stunning. There is no cost of entry to explore Peggy’s Cove and the surrounding area so you can explore freely and with no limits.

 

While here you can take photos of the lighthouse, climb and walk on the rocks surrounding it, explore the nearby fishing village, and sit seaside admire the coastal beauty. A quick tip: try to arrive early in the day because it gets quite busy as the day goes on. 

 

Contributed by Samantha Karen from Sam Sees the World

 

 

Covehead Lighthouse (Prince Edward Island)

 

Covehead Lighthouse in Stanhope (Prince Edward Island, Canada)

 

Drive along the northern shore of Prince Edward Island in Canada’s Maritimes and you’ll come across the pretty Covehead lighthouse. With its white-painted clapboard and red paintwork, this must be one of the most photographed in PEI, although there are many more that you can visit on the island’s lighthouse trail.
 
For a quick photo stop there’s a parking spot on the coast road where you can easily pull in, but otherwise, no major parking or shops nearby, since the lighthouse is in the protected Prince Edward Island National Park. 
 
Despite its traditional look, the lighthouse was only built in 1967 but acts as a guiding light for Covehead Bay on the north shore. On the side, you’ll find a plaque commemorating the 161 men who perished in a savage gale near here in 1851. 
 
The beach with its dunes and boardwalks is beautiful and a place you’ll want to stop for a swim or a walk. You can easily combine a stop at Covehead lighthouse with visiting the nearby Green Gables Heritage Place, then take lunch or afternoon tea at the historic Dalvay by the sea, a summer mansion turned boutique hotel. Discover more things to do in Prince Edward Island
 
Contributed by Heather Cowper from Heather on Her Travels
 
 

The Best New England Lighthouses

New England is famous for charming historic towns, lobster rolls, and beautiful seascapes. Here are the best East Coast lighthouses in New England!

 

Cape Neddick Lighthouse (Maine)

 

Cape Neddick Lighthouse at old village of York in Maine, USA

 

Cape Neddick Light Station is located in Cape Neddick, York, Maine. Its history dates to 1879, when it was dedicated by the U.S. Lighthouse Service. Commonly called “Nubble Light”, the lighthouse sits atop a rocky two and a half-acre island. It is separated from the mainland by a 100 feet wide channel.

 

It is one of the most popular lighthouses in New England to photograph. Crowds of visitors gather before sunset, as many photographers set up their tripods to capture images across the channel in Sohier Park. 

 

Cape Neddick Lighthouse is owned by the town of York, Maine. The tower and grounds are closed to visitors, but the view across the channel is spectacular. To reach the lighthouse from Alt US-1 (Long Beach Ave.) in York Beach, head east on Nubble Road to Sohier Park.

 

Maine is famous for its delicious lobster shacks and houses. Swing into Fox’s Lobster House and enjoy a delicious meal with a view of Cape Neddick Lighthouse. Or visit a great restaurant in York like Lobster Cove, Union Grill, or 1637 at York Harbor Inn.

 

I have fantastic memories taking photos at Cape Neddick Lighthouse that span decades – from visiting as a child with my parents to returning as an adult. Just 70 miles north of Boston, you can easily visit on a day trip from there.

 

Contributed by Alex Kallimanis of Wanderlust Marriage

 

 

Portland Head Light (Maine)

 

Portland Head Light at sunrise in Maine, New England.

 

Located in Cape Elizabeth, Maine, Portland Head Light is the main attraction in the beautiful Fort Williams Park. The unique quartzite rock formations out front make the views of this beautiful lighthouse that much more stunning. 

 

The lighthouse was originally one of two and was built in 1791, making it the oldest lighthouse in Maine. You might think that it looks familiar, and that’s because it was featured in an Edward Hopper painting that is now on display at the Boston Museum of Fine Arts. The lighthouse is now listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

 

While here you can explore the park, visit the lightkeeper’s house that now serves as the museum, and even spend some time at the beach!

 

Editor’s Choice

 

 

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse (Maine)

 

Sunset by West Quoddy Head lighthouse, with its red and white stripes, referred to as the “candy cane” lighthouse, in down east Maine, in New England. It is located in the easternmost point in USA.

 

Lighthouses can be a popular attraction for many and, arguably, no place does lighthouse better in the US than the east coast. You’d be hard-pressed to visit anywhere on the east coast without having a lighthouse nearby, but if you want to experience a unique one, then West Quoddy Head Lighthouse is the perfect fit. 

 

Located in the eastern tip of Maine, West Quoddy Lighthouse has a few special pieces of notoriety to claim. For geography nerds, this is the easternmost point in the contiguous United States. For another added piece of uniqueness, this is the only candy-striped lighthouse in the country.

 

From the lighthouse, you can look across the Quoddy Channel and see Grand Manan Island, New Brunswick, Canada, and if you’re lucky you may even be able to spot whales or other marine life. The lighthouse is located in Quoddy Head State Park in Lubec, Maine. While it’s a little out of the way, it is the perfect addition to a Maine and New Brunswick road trip or for any lover of lighthouses.

 

There is a $3 per person fee for the state park. In addition to the lighthouse, you can enjoy a picnic, five miles of trails, and wildlife viewing.

 

Contributed by Ashley Hubbard of Wild Hearted

 

 

Aquinnah Lighthouse (Massachusetts)

 

Aquinnah, Massachusetts, USA -5th of July 2016. Gay Head Light Historic lighthouse in Aquinnah on Martha's Vineyard sits on a hilltop. First in the U.S. to receive a first order Fresnel lens in 1856.

 

Built in 1844, the red brick Aquinnah lighthouse is a replacement for a wooden lighthouse that had previously stood there. This previous wooden lighthouse, built-in 1796, is the first lighthouse built on Martha’s Vineyard. The lighthouse was crucial for navigation because Martha’s Vineyard was important in the whaling industry.
 
The most remarkable fact about the Aquinnah lighthouse is its recent move in 2105.  The whole 400-ton structure was physically moved without mishap 129 further back from the edge of the red cliffs of Aquinnah which are rapidly eroding. Experts figure the lighthouse move has saved the structure from tumbling down for another century. 
 
You can climb to the top of the Aquinnah Lighthouse when it is open. The stairs are steep and the viewing platform is narrow. Kids tend to love climbing this lighthouse.  If you don’t want to view the multi-colored Aquinnah cliffs from the top, check out the nearby shops and cafes. From behind the shops and cafes, you can also view the lighthouse and the cliffs form a distance. 
 
The Aquinnah Lighthouse is managed by the town in which it stands. The lighthouse is open daily from June to October to the viewing platform. It’s also open on Thursday and Friday nights for sunset viewings. There’s a small fee for entering the lighthouse but it is free for children under the age of 12. The Aquinnah Lighthouse is located on Aquinnah Circle. There is limited parking nearby. 
 

Shobha George from Martha’s Vineyard Tourist 

 

 

Southeast Lighthouse (Rhode Island)

 

Southeast Lighthouse, Block Island, Rhode Island.

 

There are so many reasons to visit Southeast Light in Block Island, Rhode Island. Block Island’s Southeast Light is perched on the Mohegan Bluffs, one of the prettiest spots on the island. After you visit, be sure to take the stairs down to the beach.
 
For around $10 in the summer you can take an interior tour of the lighthouse, as well as visit its museum about lighthouses and local shipwrecks. After taking the spiral staircase to the top you will be rewarded with a gorgeous Fresnel lens, as well as panoramic views of the island. Visiting this lighthouse is just part of the fun you will have on Rhode Island’s Block Island.    
 

Contributed by Jamie Italiane from Adventures in New England

 

 

Mystic Seaport Light (Connecticut)

 

Lighthouse at the Mystic Seaport in Connecticut.

 

The town of Mystic Seaport, Connecticut is one of the most charming historic towns in America, One of the features of the town that adds to the charm and gives you a glimpse into its history is the beautiful Mystic Seaport lighthouse on the edge of the water.

 

While it looks like it has stood there for over a hundred years, that’s only because it’s a replica of an earlier 1901 Brant Point Light on Nantucket. However, the Mystic Seaport Light was built in the 1960s!

 

Editor’s Choice

 

 

The Best Mid-Atlantic Lighthouses

While Canada, New England, and the South (especially North Carolina) are famous for their lighthouses, some of the best American lighthouses are actually in the Mid-Atlantic! 

 

 

Montauk Lighthouse (New York)

 

United States - New York - The Montauk Point Lighthouse located adjacent to Montauk Point State Park, at the easternmost point of Long Island, in the hamlet of Montauk in the Town of East Hampton in Suffolk County, New York.

 

The beautiful Montauk Lighthouse in this historic New York town is a must-see when enjoying a weekend (or a summer) in the Hamptons. 

 

The lighthouse itself is a National Historic Landmark and is the oldest lighthouse in New York State. The Lighthouse was authorized in 1792 by Congress and President George Washington, and it was built in 1796.

 

The lighthouse is still functioning today. Visitors can learn about the lighthouse and US maritime history at the museum. 

 

To visit, tickets for adults are $12 per person, and discounted tickets are available for children and senior citizens, and parking is an additional $8 unless you arrive after 4 pm.

 

Editor’s Choice

 

 

Fire Island Lighthouse (New York)

 

Fire Island Lighthouse at Robert Moses on Long Island, New York

 

On the western end of Fire Island, off the coast on Long Island, NY, sits the Fire Island Lighthouse. The tallest on Long Island, the picturesque black and white structure overlooks Robert Moses State Park and The Great South Bay.

 

Visitors can climb the 182 steps to the top, learn all about Long Island’s rich maritime history at the small museum, and, on clear days, take in views of the New York City skyline. The lighthouse is open year-round and admission costs $8. Children, seniors, and military pay half price. Less than a mile away sits Lighthouse Beach, part of Robert Moses State Park.

 

To drive to The Fire Island Lighthouse, take Robert Moses Causeway south to the end and park in state park field five. Walk the short boardwalk to the lighthouse. Alternatively, beachgoers can take a ferry from Bay Shore, NY to Kismet, Fire Island. Simply walk from Kismet to the lighthouse. If vacationing at a Fire Island community, like Ocean Beach, rent bikes or take a water taxi to Kismet.

 

The Fire Island Lighthouse is located on Burma Rd, Gilgo Beach, NY 11702.

 

Contributed by Tori from Tori-Leigh.com.

 

 

Cape May Lighthouse (New Jersey)

 

New Jersey's Cape May Lighthouse captured at sunset from an aerial drone

 

When on the East Coast, and specifically in New Jersey, don’t miss a visit to the quaint beach town of Cape May and the Cape May Lighthouse. Located at the southernmost point of New Jersey, this is easily accessible via car from the north.

 

For those who are visiting from the south, there is a ferry in Lewes, Delaware that takes you across the Delaware Bay. The Cape May-Lewes Ferry takes about an hour and the fee varies depending on whether you are bringing your car or not. For an individual fare, peak summer fees are $18 round trip.

 

Once you arrive in Cape May, head south to the Cape May Point State Park. The lighthouse is still operational today and for a $15 fee, you can climb to the top. Make sure to read the historical plaques as you climb to learn more about the lighthouse’s history. The best part is the 360-degree platform at the top to take in the views from every side.

 

Once you’ve visited the lighthouse, stroll through the Cape May Wetlands State Natural Area, or hang out at the beach, both of which are right across the parking lot. If you’re looking for a beach town with a great lighthouse, look no further than Cape May, New Jersey.

 

Contributed by Jordan Bradford from The Solo Life.

 

 

Delaware Breakwater East End Lighthouse (Delaware)

 

Delaware's Breakwater East End Lighthouse is no longer operational but remains an impressive landmark in Lewes, Delaware and even more so at sunset.

 

Located in the Delaware Bay, the Delaware Breakwater East End Lighthouse dates back to the 1880s. It served a vital role in the safety of the bay, but it was replaced in importance by other lighthouses in the area. It was deactivated in 1996. 

 

In 2004, the local Delaware River and Bay Lighthouse Foundation began a partnership to work on the lighthouse’s preservation as well as running tours of the lighthouse in the summer. 

 

Editor’s Choice

 

 

Assateague Lighthouse (Virginia)

 

Landscape view of the lighthouse on Assateague Island Virginia

 

On Virginia’s Eastern Shore is the gorgeous Assateague National Park, where you can find one the East Coast’s finest lighthouses.  The Assateague Lighthouse is a 142ft structure that was built in 1867 and stands tall and proud in the middle of the park. 

 

The lighthouse is quintessential in its aesthetics with thick red and white hoops adorning the structure as it rises out the marshy wetlands that surround it. During the summer, the lighthouse is open to the public on weekends and the admission is free, but donations are welcome to help pay for the upkeep of the building.

 

At the top of the 175 stair climb, one will find stunning panoramic views over the island and out to sea. In the park surrounding the lighthouse, you can find the famous Chincoteague wild horses that inhabit the island. 

 

In addition to the relaxing and calming nature, there are also beautiful beaches along the Atlantic Coast where you enjoy the warm, Virginia sunshine. You will need to pay to enter Assateague Park with a vehicle and that will set you back $20 for a 7-day pass.

 

 If you enter the park on foot or bicycle, it is free for the day. For those looking to learn a little more about the history of the area, there is a wonderful little museum just before the entrance of the park. 

 
Contributed by Megan Starr from Absolute Armenia
 
 

The Best Southern East Coast Lighthouses

When I think of traveling in the South, I think of visiting beautiful historic American cities like Savannah, important Civil Rights monuments like those in Birmingham, and gorgeous southern beach towns like the ones in the Outer Banks.

 

Of course, these beaches mean that there are some truly stunning historic lighthouses in the part of the country as well! These are the best Southern lighthouses on the East Coast.

 

Bodie Island Lighthouse (North Carolina)

 

USA - North Carolina - Bodie Island Lighthouse and boardwalk autumn landscape on the Cape Hatteras National Seashore in North Carolina

 

The Bodie Island Lighthouse located in South Nags Head North Carolina is one of the many lighthouses scattered along the Outer Banks. The Bodie Island Lighthouse was constructed in 1872 and is still operational! Two lighthouses proceeded the current lighthouse; however, they were destroyed due to poor construction and the Civil War.
 
The lighthouse is now managed by the National Park Service as part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore. Today, adults can climb the lighthouse for $10 while seniors and children under 12 can climb for $5. The nearby keeper’s quarters are also at the site and feature a gift shop and museum.
 
From the top of Bodie Island Lighthouse, you’ll get an amazing panoramic view of the surrounding marshland and landscape. Compared to other lighthouses on the Outer Banks, Bodie Island is more secluded and less visited, making it a hidden historic gem along the coast! 
 
Contributed by Kathrine and Pam from Everywhere Forward
 
 

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse (North Carolina)

 

USA - Buxton - Cape Hatteras Lighthouse at Cape Hatteras National Seashore, NC

 

Located on the Hatteras Island on Outer Banks, by the National Seashore is a beautiful black and white spiral striped lighthouse. 
 
This is special and famous as it is the world’s tallest brick lighthouse standing tall at 208 ft. Built by 1870, this lighthouse has guided many sailors and has been witness to many events. In 1999, the lighthouse was even moved to a new location due to erosion.
 
As you enter the campus, the sight of the spectacular black and white beauty mounted on a red octagon-shaped structure made from bricks is beautiful. It is indeed one of the best things to do in Outer Banks.
 
The lighthouse has 248 spiral steps, similar to climbing up a 12 story building. But the lighthouse is open to climb seasonally from the third Friday of April until Columbus Day. The tickets for climbing to the top are USD 8 for adults and USD 4 for children and senior citizens. 
 
It tends to get hot while climbing, so it is advisable to carry water and be mindful of the many steps. There is a limit to the number of visitors that can climb at one time.
 
There are special Full moon night tours of the lighthouse that need to be booked in advance and the views from the top are mesmerizing.
 
The campus also houses a Museum of Sea that exhibits the history of the lighthouse and Outer Banks. 
 
Contributed by Neha Kulshrestha from Travelmelodies

 

 

Cape Lookout Lighthouse (North Carolina)

 

Cape Lookout at Sunset

 

Located on a barrier island near the Crystal Coast of North Carolina, the Cape Lookout National Seashore  is an absolute delight to visit–and the pinnacle of a day trip to Cape Lookout is the lighthouse that overlooks the sea.

 

With a classic black-and-white pattern, the Cape Lookout lighthouse is both idyllic to admire and incredibly fun to climb!

 

In addition to climbing the lighthouse for phenomenal views (207 steps each way) of the islands, sea, boats, and beaches that surround the lighthouse, you can also enjoy the seashore surrounding it by hiking, swimming, camping, or simply strolling along the beach looking for shells.

 

To visit Cape Lookout, you’ll need to book a ferry or tour leaving from either Beaufort, North Carolina, or Harkers Island, North Carolina. The ferry ride is shorter from Harkers Island, but unless you happen to be staying on the island, it’s a bit of a drive to get there in the first place.

 

The Cape Lookout lighthouse costs USD 10.00 to climb (not including the cost of getting there), and you can climb it (weather permitting) from May – September. The lighthouse can be climbed Wednesday – Sunday during its season.

 

Contributed by Kate from Our Escape Clause

 

 

Currituck Beach Lighthouse (North Carolina)

 

USA - North Carolina - The Currituck Beach Lighthouse is in Corolla on the Outer Banks and is a popular attraction in the area.

 

The Outer Banks (OBX) of North Carolina are wild and rustic. Jutting out from the eastern seaboard into the Atlantic Gulf Stream, the narrow strip of islands are easy targets for hurricanes and Nor’easters. These unique conditions have shaped the maritime history of this part of North Carolina, creating the need for the string of lighthouses that dot the coastline.
 
The northernmost lighthouse on the OBX is Currituck Beach Lighthouse, the only OBX lighthouse in its original location. At 162′ feet tall, the lighthouse has been completely restored and its First Order Fresnel lens (the largest size available for American lighthouses), can be seen for 18 nautical miles offshore.
 
Early engineers intentionally left the natural red brick unpainted to be more visible to passing ships, and today its distinctive exterior sets it apart from others on the OBX, giving you an appreciation for the incredible number of bricks used in its construction.
 
The Currituck Beach Lighthouse grounds are open for exploration all year long. It is one of the Outer Banks lighthouses that visitors can climb to the top (during summer months). Cost to climb: $10. Kids 7 & under climb free with adult supervision.
 
Besides the lighthouse, the beaches in the Outer Banks are natural and beautiful and don’t miss seeing the wild Colonial Spanish Mustang horses roaming free on the northernmost beaches of Currituck.
 
Contributed by Lori from Travlinmad
 
 

Oak Island Lighthouse (North Carolina)

 

A walking ramp that leads the view to a majestic lighthouse in Oak Island Beach in North Carolina. This image was taken during a sunny afternoon in spring season.

 

Nestled on North Carolina’s southern shores stands the Oak Island Lighthouse. This working lighthouse is easily distinguishable among others by its distinctive paint pattern – a light gray solid bottom and black solid top. The flash pattern of four one-second flashes every 10 seconds lets sailors identify where they are along the shore.

 

Visitors wanting to climb up the lighthouse’s 131 steps need to plan. Unlike the other 6 NC lighthouses, Oak Island tours are led by volunteers. Requests to climb the lighthouse need to be emailed two to four weeks in advance to ensure that volunteers are available. While there is no fee to climb, a donation is appreciated. 

 

The lighthouse’s interior is rather unique. Unlike other lighthouses that have spiral staircases, Oak Island Lighthouse features metal ship ladders. The ship ladders mean that visitors generally need to have both hands free to climb up and down safely. 

 

Oak Island Lighthouse’s location on some of the most beautiful beaches in North Carolina makes it a worthwhile stop. Many visitors to Oak Island take the ferry from Ft. Fisher while visiting nearby Carolina Beach and the Wilmington area. 

 

Contributed by Annick from The Common Traveler

 

 

Harbour Town Lighthouse (South Carolina)

 

Hilton Head, South Carolina, lighthouse at twilight.

 

The Harbour Town Lighthouse on Hilton Head Island is an iconic American lighthouse. It’s red-and-white stripes and stocky build are an imposing sight over the water.

 

This is not the oldest or the first lighthouse on Hilton Head. There was a Union lighthouse built here during the Civil War. The Harbour Town lighthouse wouldn’t be erected for another century. 

 

The lighthouse is a museum, but it was always intended to serve as such. You can visit to learn about the history of Hilton Head as well as taking in the fantastic panorama views from the top.

 

Editor’s Choice

 

 

Cape Florida Lighthouse and Lantern (Florida)

 

Cape Florida Lighthouse and Lantern in Bill Baggs State Park in Key Biscayne Florida

 

Bill Baggs Lighthouse is located on the pristine island paradise of Key Biscayne in Miami, which is one of the best areas in Miami to visit. The lighthouse is situated within the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park at the southernmost tip of the island, and it dates back to 1825.

 

It is the oldest structure in the Miami area! It’s survived two centuries of erosion, an attack by Native Americans and countless hurricanes, yet still stands to be one of the most important cultural sites in Miami.

 

After a dizzying 106 steps in its narrow staircase, visitors are greeted with dazzling views across the Key Biscayne. To the north is the world-famous stretch of Miami Beach and to the east and south is the azure Atlantic Ocean. If you’re lucky you might be able to spot manatees, dolphins, and stingrays! 

 

Back at ground-level, make sure to hire some bikes from one of the rental centers to explore the scenic paths around the park. There’s also kayaking, swimming, wildlife spotting, and fishing, so you can make a full day at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park.  

 

Entry to its tower is free with park entry. Visitors can go into the lighthouse every day of the week, except Tuesday and Wednesday. To get to Key Biscayne from Downtown Miami, either take an Uber or the #102 bus over the Rickenbacker Causeway. If you self-drive, there is adequate parking which is $8 per vehicle.

 

Contributed by Claire from Stoked to Travel

 

 

St. Augustine Lighthouse (Florida)

 

St. Augustine Lighthouse, Florida, USA

 

One of the most popular things to do in St Augustine is seeing and climbing the historic lighthouse (opened in October 1874). The St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum property features four separate attractions.

 

Certainly, climb the 219 steps to the top of the lighthouse for amazing views. For special fun, reserve tickets for a ghost tour or sunset/moonrise climb (includes champagne with a view!).

 

Second, the 1876 Keepers’ House has four unique features for a pre-1900 Florida home—Victorian style, brick, duplex, and a basement. Make sure to see The Wrecked! exhibit which commemorates the area’s role in the Revolutionary War with shipwreck finds, including the world’s second-oldest known cannon (1782).

 

The third is LAMP, the USA’s oldest underwater archaeology school featuring wonderful and historic discovery exhibits.

 

Fourth is Heritage Boatworks which displays and creates authentic traditional wood boats. Current general admission rates are $13 for adults and $11 for children and seniors. Look on their website for a 15% discount code or a 10% printable coupon. Onsite are also hiking trails, a great gift shop, and a snack bar (The Tin Pickle) with local craft beer.

 

Contributed by Charles McCool from McCool Travel

 

 

St. George Island Lighthouse (Florida)

 

Lighthouse at Cape St. George, Florida

 

The St. George Island Lighthouse is a lighthouse in the Florida panhandle with a history as tumultuous as the storms that it faced over the years.  For just $5 you can climb to the top to admire the view of St. George Island after learning all about the history of the lighthouse in the new version of the old keeper’s house.  
 
The story of the lighthouse begins in 1833 on the western tip of the island, then after it was destroyed by a storm it was rebuilt on the southern tip of the island.  Not surprisingly, it was also destroyed by a storm and was finally rebuilt in the center of the island in 1852. 
 
This foundation was built deep in the sand to hold it steady.  During the Civil War, the light was turned off so they didn’t help any Yankee ships, but in 1865 it was relit.  However, in 1949, the Coast Guard put in an automatic light so the keepers weren’t needed anymore, though the keeper’s house and the oil house remained.
 
Fast forward 50 years and Hurricane Opal came along sweeping the lighthouse off its foundation giving it a lean that became the well-known image of the island.  By 2002 it was righted and given a new concrete base, but it still wouldn’t last. 
 
In 2005 the lighthouse collapsed into the Gulf of Mexico on October 21.  Pieces were then salvaged and put into the new lighthouse that stands today and a replica of the keeper’s house was built next to it and turned into a museum.
 
 
Contributed by Megan from Red Around the World
 
 

More USA & Canada Trip Inspiration

 

USA - Texas - Port Aransas - Stephanie Selife

 

Are you still trying to figure out where to go in the US or Canada? Check out my guides on the best scenic drives in America, the best American small towns, and the best historic American cities.

 

If you’re interested in traveling Canada, check out this trip planning guide and beautiful quotes about Canada.

 

 

Don’t Forget Travel Insurance!

 

Before you leave for your lighthouse road trip make sure you have a valid Travel Insurance Policy because accidents happen on the road. I pay for World Nomads, and I happily recommend them. It’s especially important to get travel insurance if you’ll be away for more than a few days. I

 

I have been a paying customer of World Nomads for travel insurance for two years, and I happily recommend them.  If you get sick, injured, or have your stuff stolen, you’ll be happy to have the ability to pay for your medical bills or replace what’s stolen or broken.

 

 

Pin this Guide to the Most Beautiful Lighthouses on the East Coast for Your Travels!

 

Best East Coast Lighthouses

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