You need to see these 10 lighthouses worth traveling for

  • Point Vicente Lighthouse - Palos Verdes, Calif.

    The state of California has its fair share of lovely lighthouses, including the clifftop Point Vicente Lighthouse in Palos Verdes, located 45 minutes south of Los Angeles. The cylindrical-style lighthouse is still used by mariners today, but is currently closed to tours.  The grounds and museum, however, are still open on the second Saturday of the month.

    Photo courtesy of Ming-yen Hsu

  • Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse - Mount Desert Island, Maine

    Visitors to Acadia National Park should set aside a few hours to visit Bass Harbor Head Lighthouse, one of many beautiful lighthouses located all along the coast of Maine. Located on Mount Desert Island, the lighthouse dates back to 1858 when its construction began. While the structure itself is a private residence, the grounds remain open to the public.

    Photo courtesy of iStock / Philippe Gratton

  • Diamond Head Lighthouse - Honolulu

    Waikiki's Diamond Head volcanic crater is one of the most recognizable landmarks in Honolulu, and for this reason it was chosen as the site of the Diamond Head Lighthouse to aid sailors as they approached the harbor. The light it projects can be seen up to 18 miles out to sea. While the lighthouse itself is closed to the public, you can see it from Diamond Head Road.

    Photo courtesy of hitachiota

  • Heceta Head Lighthouse - Florence, Ore.

    If you want the best view of Heceta Head Lighthouse, the most famous on the Oregon Coast, visit Sea Lion Caves. This large sea cave – the largest in the United States – is not only home to a colony of sea lions, but also has viewing platforms both inside and outside the cave where you can spot the lighthouse up the coast.  Tour the lighthouse or even sleep in it at the Heceta Head Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast.

    Photo courtesy of Jeff Kramer

  • Eldred Rock Lighthouse - Lynn Canal, Alaska

    The octagonal Eldred Rock Lighthouse was completed in 1906 to help ships traveling along Alaska's Lynn Canal. While this particular lighthouse would be considered one of the most beautiful no matter where in the world it was located, it's position on a small island with Alaska's snow-capped peaks in the background make it particularly scenic.

    Photo courtesy of Mandy Lindeberg - NOAA Photo Library

  • Cape Hatteras Lighthouse - Outer Banks, N.C.

    The Cape Hatteras Lighthouse has become somewhat of a symbol of the Outer Banks. Located within the Cape Hatteras National Seashore, this lighthouse was constructed to help ships avoid Diamond Shoals, a 12-mile long sandbar just off the coast. From April to Columbus Day, you can climb to the top of the lighthouse for unobstructed views of the Carolina coast.

    Photo courtesy of iStock/Jorge Moro

  • Split Rock Lighthouse - Two Harbors, Minn.

    The presence of Split Rock Lighthouse should tell you just how large Lake Superior is. This octagonal lighthouse, dating back to 1910, has become one of Minnesota's most recognizable landmarks. While you can visit the lighthouse and grounds almost year-round, if you plan your visit on November 10th (every year), you can see the beacon light up in honor of the men who lost their lives when the Edmund Fitzgerald sunk in 1975.

    Photo courtesy of kkmarais

  • Patos Island Lighthouse - San Juan Islands, Wash.

    Most visitors come to the San Juan Islands to enjoy the natural scenery and abundant wildlife, but these Washington islands have a man-made attraction worth seeing as well: the Patos Island Lighthouse. If you want to learn more about it and what life was like as a lighthouse keeper, pick up a copy of the book The Light on the Island, which recounts the childhood memories of a lighthouse keeper's daughter in the early 20th century.

    Photo courtesy of Bureau of Land Management

  • Nauset Lighthouse - Eastham, Mass.

    The red and white Nauset Lighthouse, built in 1877, towers above Nauset Beach in the Cape Cod National Seashore. If you want to tour this historic Massachusetts attraction, join a public tour led by the Nauset Light Preservation Society on Sundays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays throughout the summer.

    Photo courtesy of Lin Mei

  • Pigeon Point Light Station - Pescadero, Calif.

    Pigeon Point Light Station, built in 1872 on the coast between San Francisco and Santa Cruz, is considered to be one of the most beautiful in the state. It's also one of the tallest in North America, with the lens alone measuring 16 feet tall and weighing some 2,000 pounds. You can't enter the lighthouse building, but you can tour the grounds and enjoy the clifftop views.

    Photo courtesy of Dawn Ellner