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...
The charming red and white Garðskagaviti lighthouse near Keflavik is Ideland's tallest. Built in 1944, the lighthouse was a gift from American servicemen grateful for being rescued from a sinking U.S. Coast Guard vessel. You can climb all the way...
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...
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 RC, 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 Point 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, 9410 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 Point 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...
1199D Barrenjoey Road, Palm Beach NSW 2108, Australia
If you need a break from lounging on the lovely northern beaches, cruising up to Barrenjoey in Palm Beach will bring you to this absolute gem. The hiking trails are plentiful and the view from the top is incredible. With sweeping views in all...
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....
Kilauea Rd, Kilauea, HI 96754, USA
On the north shore of Kauai sits the Kilauea Lighthouse which served as a navigation aide to ships on their way to and from the Orient. It's surrounded by the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge where one can spot all sorts of nesting seabirds....
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...
S Head Heritage Trail, Watsons Bay NSW 2030, Australia
The Hornby Lighthouse at South Head on the peninsula near Mrs. Macquarie's Point is a great place to witness the magnificence of the Sydney Harbor and southern point of entrance into Jackson Bay and ultimately the harbor from the Tasman Sea. I had...
Anadolufeneri Mahallesi, Türbe Sk. No:11, 34829 Beykoz/İstanbul, Turkey
Anadolu Feneri is the lighthouse on the Asian side of Istanbul where the Black Sea flows into the Bosphorus. The town is ideal during summers for a swim with the locals, tea in the main tea garden at the center of town, or fresh fish at one of the...
Chilmark, MA 02535, USA
Despite staying on the island in October, the quaint Edgartown was still buzzing with people due to the holiday weekend. A spontaneous drive to the western side of the island proved fruitful and showed us that there is more than just picturesque...
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...
554 Voice of America Rd W, Sequim, WA 98382, USA
The lush Olympic Penisula has the rainforest, vampire movie settings, Second Beach for camping and the Dungeness Spit. At 5.5 miles in length, the Dungeness Spit is the world's longest naturally occurring sandspit and makes a fabulous hike. Home...
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...
24 Federal St, Aireys Inlet VIC 3231, Australia
There are dozens of small towns situated on the Great Ocean Road - some with just one main road, a general store and a petrol station. Most people dismiss them and drive straight through, but in each of these towns there is at least one hidden...
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