For hundreds of years, lighthouses have provided safety and security for ships and boats out at sea, signaling dangerous coastlines as well as safe entries to harbors.
Even though many recognize the Boston Light on Little Brewster Island as the earliest lighthouse in North America (dating 1716), it appears that the oldest one was in St. Augustine, Florida, (1586). The oldest lighthouse in the US still working is the Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey, built in 1764. However, in recent years, lighthouses have declined due to the expense of maintenance and replacement by modern electronic navigational systems, and they’ve become instead a very popular hobby for tourists and photographers.
August 7 celebrates National Lighthouse Day. On this day we celebrate our unwavering beacon of light by inviting you on a scenic road trip to show you our 10 favorite lighthouses on both coasts, (yes, remember we are a bicoastal magazine?)
We’ll start with the East Coast, (New England precisely, which has some of the oldest and most picturesque lighthouses in the nation). Then we’ll cross the country and move to West Coast, with Oregon leading. Without further ado, here are our 10 most dreamy lighthouses:
- With a tidal shoreline longer than California’s, Maine has everything for everyone. An entire summer on the coast of Maine still isn’t enough to see everything – from pristine beaches; to some of the oldest lighthouses in the US, a huge list of lobster shacks serving the finest lobster rolls, art galleries, and the cutest antique shops. Maine is home to 65 lighthouses, and we’ve included 3 in our list. First one – Portland Head Light, Cape Elisabeth, ME
- Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, bass harbor, Tremont, ME
3. Doubling Point Lighthouse off the Kennebec River in Arrowsic, ME
4. Edgartown Harbor Lighthouse at the entrance into Edgartown Harbor and Katama Bay, Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, USA. This historic lighthouse was built in 1828.
5. Brant Point Lighthouse, Nantucket, MA
Not as many lighthouses on the West Coast as are on the East Coast, because the Pacific Ocean on the rugged northwest coastline is treacherous for both ships and lighthouses alike. Yet, all 11 of Oregon’s lighthouses guarding its 363 miles long coastline are like out of a storybook, attracting lots of curious visitors and photographers all year round. We’ve included 3 in our list.
6. Yaquina Head Lighthouse, OR
7. The next Oregon beauty making our list is Cape Meares Lighthouse.
8. Next: Port Orford Lighthouse, OR.
9. Of course we couldn’t skip our beautiful coast of California, home to some very charming lighthouses. We’ve included 2 in our list. First one: The dreamy Battery Point Lighthouse Beach in Crescent City.
10. Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Pescadero, CA