The World's Most Iconic Lighthouses
Collected by Caroline Eubanks , AFAR Local Expert
Lighthouses serve to protect seafarers and as a thing of beauty. The flashing beacon makes us feel safe, whether in New England fishing villages, along California's Pacific Coast Highway, dotted throughout Florida and everywhere in between. Climbing the hundreds of stairs to the top provides a better view than the people down below may ever know.
La Gloria, Isla Mujeres, Q.R., Mexico
If you're not a fan of huge resorts and big hotels, Isla Mujeres is the perfect getaway from Cancun. Just catch the ferry to the island located 13km to the northeast of Cancun. The ferry ride in itself is enjoyable, as you float over shallow reefs...
Point Sur, California 93940, USA
On a craggy rock in north Big Sur, the Point Sur lighthouse has beamed through furious fog, rain, and wind since 1889. Volunteers lead moonlit tours from late April through October that allow visitors access to the lighthouse tower, old housing...
Nauthólsvegur, 101 Reykjavík, Iceland
12 Captain Strout Cir, Cape Elizabeth, ME 04107, USA
Chances are that when you think of a lighthouse, the image that pops into your head is the iconic Portland Head Light. The tapered white tower on the end of a rocky cape buffeted by crashing waves? Yup, that’s the one. The adjacent...
Vancouver, BC V6G 1Z4, Canada
Vancouver’s most famous urban space, the thousand-acre Stanley Park, epitomizes everything that locals here love about the outdoors, and visitors have many ways to explore the expansive grounds. Hiking trails weave around totem poles and hemlock...
Leeuwin-Naturaliste National Park, 1267 Cape Naturaliste Rd, Naturaliste WA 6281, Australia
A lighthouses has a huge responsibility to ships passing through its territory, a tall order if you will pardon the pun! So when I arrived at Cape Naturaliste Lighthouse in Dunsborough, to find the shortest lighthouse I've ever seen -- I didn't...
89038 Palizzi, Province of Reggio Calabria, Italy
Sardinia’s third-oldest lighthouse, which dates to 1866, is now a six-suite hotel, Faro Capo Spartivento. Accessible only via the hotel’s jeep, Faro Capo inspires visitors with Murano glass chandeliers, an offbeat library, and a Mediterranean...
1 Pt. Reyes - Petaluma Rd, Inverness, CA 94937, USA
The craggy-rock view from the top of the staircase out to the Point Reyes National Seashore looks just fine from the top. But you didn't drive all this way to stand at the top while everyone else descends to see the historic Point Reyes...
Llanos Costa, Cabo Rojo, Puerto Rico
Lighthouses are common in any coastal town or island. Many are still in working condition, others are simply sites for the eyes. Cabo Rojo is a must-visit cliff on the southwest corner of Puerto Rico. From here, your view of the Caribbean is...
Av. Maipú 505, V9410 Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina
Ushuaia, Argentina, feels like the end of the world -- because it basically is. At the southernmost tip of Argentine Tierra del Fuego, it's as far south as you can go without heading to Antarctica. In fact, this is one of the departure points for...
1 Pt. Reyes - Petaluma Rd, Inverness, CA 94937, USA
Point Reyes is a special location with hiking trails, historic farms, and the small towns of Inverness and Point Reyes Station with lovely local food finds and little shops. To get to the lighthouse just follow the road signs from Inverness, and...
81 Lighthouse Avenue (use 100 Red Cox Road for gps, St. Augustine, FL 32080, USA
My pride got the best of me and I had decided to walk all the way up this lighthouse. Boy, was it quite the experience! I walked up these stairs fearlessly (And these stairs aren't easy to climb, so watch your step) But then suddenly once I got to...
Yachats Ocean Rd, Yachats, OR 97498, USA
All I could say when I saw this stunning lighthouse perched on the rocky cliff near Yachats, Oregon was "Wow". I am certainly a sucker for lighthouses, especially ones that have the dramatic landscape surrounding it. The Heceta Head is about 15...
603 Fort Rodd Hill Rd, Victoria, BC V9C 2W8, Canada
For great views of boats and seaplanes and water and mountains this is the spot. The kids will like the chance to pilot a virtual boat, and the grownups can check out the vintage lighthouse-keeper supplies: French toothpaste and pickup sticks....
700 Concord St, Havre De Grace, MD 21078, USA
Havre de Grace is a small, charming town in Maryland located where the head of the Chesapeake Bay meets the Susquehanna River. Its biggest attraction, the picturesque Concord Point Lighthouse, marks the spot. You can also take a pleasant leisurely...
1 Battle Ave, Castine, ME 04421, USA
Castine, Maine is a quaint fishing village settled in 1613. I'd never heard of it before I spun the proverbial globe and asked a friend where I should take my next vacation. Her mother-in-law summers in Maine (as do many New Yorkers who use...
Main St, Roosevelt Island, NY 10044, USA
For panoramic views of the entire city—for the price of a subway ride—take the Roosevelt Island Tram. As the suspended car runs parallel to the bridge, spanning the gap between Manhattan and Roosevelt Island, you'll have unparalleled vistas of the...
Fort Story, Virginia Beach, VA, USA
Climb to the top of the old Cape Henry Lighthouse, the first lighthouse built by the US government, for a rejuvenating walk and great view of the Chesapeake Bay. (The new black and white lighthouse is currently in operation, while the old...
2 Light House Rd, Highlands, NJ 07732, USA
Located 200 feet above sea level on the Jersey Shore you can spot a couple of light house towers said to be twins, but built in different styles. Regardless, the towers that overlook the Shrewsbury River also offer other great views of the ocean,...
500 Captain Armour's Way, Jupiter, FL 33469, USA
The lighthouse in Jupiter, Florida was built to mark the reef off the Jupiter Inlet. It would aide navigation in the area. This lighthouse was completed in 1860 and is the oldest structure in Palm Beach County. Visitors can climb the winding 105...
South Haven Lighthouse, South Haven, MI 49090, USA
To say that winter in Michigan is long is an understatement. 6 months of snow and cold could drive the most die-hard winter fan a little over the edge. So, it's nice to find those things that keep winter truly awe-inspiring. When it's cold enough,...
Búðir is a small hamlet in Búðahraun lava fields in Staðarsveit, which is in the western region of Iceland, on the westernmost tip of the Snaefellsnes peninsula where Hraunhafnará falls to the sea, the original old name of Búðir having been...
1200 Crandon Blvd, Key Biscayne, FL 33149, USA
No Name Harbor provided calm, and secret, waters to pirates darting around the Florida Keys. Now it provides safe harbor to pricey yachts and lowly jet skis darting around Miami. Boater’s Grill provides Cuban fare with a luxury view no matter how...
- 1 Air Travel Another U.S. Airport Now Allows Non-Ticketed Visitors Through Security
- 2 Restaurants + Cafés This Bistro Was Just Voted the Best New Restaurant in the United States
- 3 Travel News Tour Guides Will Soon Be Restricted at Two Popular NYC Sites
- 4 Travel Tips Temples, Tipping, and Train Rides: A Guide to Japan for First-Timers
- 5 Where to Go in Spring 10 Best Places to Travel in May