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5 Historic Coastal Lighthouses to Visit this Fall

Coastal lighthouses are impressive and beautiful – stunning beacons that provide visitors of all ages a window into America’s significant maritime history. This fall, as winds whip, waves crash and sunlit water sparkles, check out these gorgeous guiding lights, including the Pensacola Lighthouse and its newly restored maritime museum.

Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth, Maine

The historic Portland Head Light is located in Fort Williams Park, a multi-faceted site that features an award-winning maritime museum, an arboretum showcasing local ecology, batteries originally built for defense, hiking trails, picnic areas and a recently opened children’s garden. Learn about this important New England lighthouse, then grab a lobster roll from a resident vendor and enjoy it on the public beach.

Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Half Moon Bay, California

At 115 feet in height, the Pigeon Point Lighthouse is one of the tallest lighthouses in America and one of the most well-known on the West Coast. It was first illuminated in 1872 and helped guide boats heading northward into San Francisco Bay. The lighthouse itself is currently under restoration, but the state-run site features an accompanying museum. The spot is also popular for picnics and Pacific birdwatching.

Pensacola Lighthouse and Museum, Naval Air Station, Pensacola, Florida

Are you ready for 177 steps? Reach the top and take in a dramatic view of the Navy Yard, the downtown skyline and Pensacola Pass, where the clear blue waters of Pensacola Bay meet the Gulf of Mexico. This beloved local icon is a favorite location for weddings. The newly restored Richard C. Callaway Museum in the keeper’s quarters features numerous exhibits on maritime and local history and indigenous archaeology. Join us for the museum’s grand opening on Nov. 10 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m.

Cape Florida Lighthouse, Miami, Florida

Built in 1825 and last restored in 1994, the Cape Florida Lighthouse is the oldest standing structure in the Miami-Dade region. Guided tours of the lighthouse and keeper’s house are offered twice a day, Thursday to Monday. The historic site is situated within Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park on Key Biscayne, which also features biking, kayaking, fishing, picnicking and a highly rated one-mile beach.

The Light Station, Cape Hatteras, North Carolina

The Light Station at Cape Hatteras is known for lighting the way into a section of the East Coast so treacherous it’s been called the “Graveyard of the Atlantic.” The Light Station is part of the Cape Hatteras National Seashore and includes self-guided climbs of the lighthouse, the tallest brick lighthouse in the United States, from April to October.

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