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Top 8 Lighthouses On The East Coast Of United States (USA)

Top 8 Lighthouses On The East Coast Of United States (USA)

If you visit the East Coast of the USA, then you can see many red and white bricked red houses that look quite lovely.

The black and white red house has unique patterns so that the ships could easily identify those lighthouses along the low line coastlines.


You can either climb to the top, observe those from below, or simply enjoy the views in the backdrop of oceans from a distance.

Some of the oldest and most stunning lighthouses in the country are found on the east coast.

From Maine in the north to Florida in the south, lighthouses can be found throughout the whole east coast.

It would be a good idea to see some of these stunning lighthouses while traveling along the east coast or to a port city.

In this article, you will get to know about the following lighthouses you can visit on the United States east coast,

  1. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse
  2. Cape Henry Lighthouse
  3. St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum
  4. Bodie Island Lighthouse
  5. Portland Head Light
  6. Tybee Island Light Station
  7. Key West Lighthouse
  8. Whaleback Lighthouse

Let’s see each of these lighthouses in detail…

1. Cape Hatteras Lighthouse

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Buxton, NC

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse is one of the most iconic lighthouses with a spiral white and black pattern and stands unique from the rest of the lighthouses on the east coast.

The lighthouse is 208 ft tall and is one of the tallest brick lighthouses. It was moved inland in 1999 to rescue it from erosion.


If you want to see the breathtaking landscapes of the Outer Banks then you must climb to the top of the lighthouse.

It is said that it protects one of the dangerous coasts of the Atlantic Ocean, as most of the shipwrecks in this area.

The lamp of this lighthouse was powered by whale oil.

This Lighthouse has a conical brick structure from an octagon-shaped granite base topped with an iron lantern and glass.

2. Cape Henry Lighthouse

Cape Henry Lighthouse (G Wayne Rhodes, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons)

Cape Henry Lighthouse is one of the oldest lighthouses in the United States and is one of the most popular attractions on the East Coast.

This monument is now recognized as a National Historic landmark.

It was built to protect the ships that venture into the Chesapeake Bay. This lighthouse was the public project work of the newly formed United States.

It was also the first construction project authorized by President George Washington after the Revolutionary War.

The lighthouse is open to the public and you can enjoy an unprecedented view of the coasts from the 360-degree lantern room. 

3. St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum

St. Augustine Lighthouse, FL

St. Augustine Lighthouse is a distinctive barber-pole lighthouse that is one of the loveliest lighthouses on the east Coast of the USA.

It is painted red on top with black and white swirls on its body.

The large complex of this lighthouse also houses a museum.


The archaeology Maritime museum exhibits historic shipwrecks, conducts a program for boat works, displays exhibits from the World War II era, and offers exciting midnight ghost tours.

Most of the exhibits are related to marine sciences.

You can also tour the Historical house of Major William Harn to view various maritime artifacts as well.

Climb 214 steps to have a glimpse of the panoramic views of the surrounding coastline. 

4. Bodie Island Lighthouse

Bodie Island Lighthouse, Nags Head, NC

The original Bodie Island Lighthouse was built in 1847, on the south side of Oregon Inlet in an area known as Pea Island.

This lighthouse on the south coast is distinctive due to its horizontal black and white stripes. It stands on the southern end of North Carolina in a marshy area.

There are many other lighthouses on the outer banks, but this lighthouse is a bit remote and hence is not much explored.

A gift shop and museum are now housed inside the keeper’s quarters.

Standing 150 feet high and equipped with a first-order Fresnel lens, it flashes its 160,000-candlepower light 19 miles over the extensive ocean.

If you climb the lighthouse, you can enjoy the gorgeous natural surroundings of Bodie Island, the Atlantic Ocean, and Pamlico Sound.

5. Portland Head Light

Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth, ME

The oldest lighthouse in Maine is Portland Head Light, which was built in 1791.

It is one of the most photographed lighthouses in the United States, standing 31 m (101 ft) tall and constructed of bricks and rubble stone on a rocky shore.


You can visit the museum to see the lighthouse lenses and interpretive displays. Stroll around the gift shop to find unique and lovely mementos of the lighthouse.

There is also a 90-acre park nearby that provides coastal vistas, picnic spaces, walking trails, and both kid- and adult-friendly activity facilities.

6. Tybee Island Light Station

Tybee Island Light Station, Tybee Island, GA

The Tybee Island Light Station and Museum is one of the remaining colonial lighthouses that reflects the history of nearly three centuries.

The 44 m (144 ft) tall lighthouse, which was initially built in 1736 and modified over 250 years, has been associated with many people most under Confederate authority during the American Civil War.

You can also visit the museum to view various displays, antiques, and treasures which are housed in the nearby military installations.

Climb 178 stairs up the lighthouse to experience the beautiful coastal landscapes surrounding the lighthouse.

7. Key West Lighthouse

Key West Lighthouse, Key West, FL

Visit the Keeper’s Quarters Museum in Key West, which houses the 20 m lighthouse built in 1825.

When the original keeper, Michael Mabrity, passed away in 1832, his wife, Barbara, took the responsibility as a keeper for the rest of 32 years. At that time, having a female keeper was fairly uncommon.

The lighthouse is out of service since 1969.


You can now explore the quarters and observe the keeper’s equipment and belongings of Barbara Mabritry as well.

For a sight of the Fresnel lights and to overlook the sea, ascend 88 steps of the spiral staircase to the deck.

Self-guided tours are available, although the staff is available to guide you in every step. 

8. Whaleback Lighthouse

Whaleback Lighthouse, New Castle, NH

The Whaleback Light is situated at the Piscataqua River’s Mouth as it enters Portsmouth Harbour. It borders Maine and New Hampshire.

It was built in 1830 to narrow the burden of increasing international traffic on shipping to and from Portsmouth, and New Hampshire.

Many local lobstermen and fishermen anchor their boats on the coasts and are especially guided by the Whaleback Lighthouse.

The lighthouse looks more stunning when the giant white waves crash against the lighthouse walls in the backdrop of the cloud-covered grey skies. 

These are some of the popular lighthouses on the east coast of the United States (USA).

You may have experienced the sea views and horizons simply from the beaches along with sunsets, sunrises, seafood, and many other thrilling activities.

But the coastal view from the top of the lighthouse is a whole different type of experience you can be introduced to.

Not only can you experience the surreal beauty of nature but also get to know about the histories of the lighthouses and the museums

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The images used in the article are for representation purposes only.