5 Must Visit Lighthouses

There are 18 active lighthouses in the state of Washington as well as several still standing inactive lights and one serving as a museum. Washington's coast is home to some of the most interesting and beautiful lighthouses in the country. These beacons of safety for sailors around the world have played an important role in the development of ocean travel for many years. Today, they are featured in many popular photographs and many enjoy exploring them to get a glimpse of maritime history.

Here is a look at the top five must-visit lighthouses in Washington.

New Dungeness Lighthouse

The New Dungeness Lighthouse is one of the oldest in the Pacific Northwest and located at the tip of the 5-mile long Dungeness Spit in Sequim on the northern coast of the Olympic Peninsula. It's been in continuous operation since 1857 and free tours are available every day. The Spit is part of the Dungeness Wildlife Refuge which provides a critical habitat for over 250 species of birds and 41 species of land mammals.

This lighthouse is one of a very few that allows guests the opportunity to be a lightkeeper. Volunteer lightkeepers stay for one week at a time, performing maintenance duties as well as giving tours and offering historical information to visitors. If you want to take the tour, keep in mind that it requires a 5 mile walk to the end of the spit; however, it is on fairly level ground and not too difficult. If you stay as a lightkeeper, transportation is available.

West Point Lighthouse

West Point Lighthouse is located in Discovery Park just 5 miles north of downtown Seattle. It opened in 1881 and was the first manned light station on Puget Sound. The 23-foot-high lighthouse marks the northern extent of Elliott Bay. It is opened to the public although tours are offered just certain times of the year.

It is about a 1 ½ mile hike from any one of the three parking lots found in the park, but once there you'll be rewarded with spectacular views of the Olympic Mountains and even Mount Rainier on a clear day.

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse sits near the mouth of the Columbia River at the edge of the Pacific Ocean in southwest Washington. This lighthouse was one of the very first to be lit on the West Coast in 1856 and is the oldest that is still running today.

Its sits inside the nearly 2,000-acre Cape Disappointment Park, protecting mariners from the rough waters of the Columbia River Bar in the treacherous area that is known as the "Graveyard of the Pacific." You'll find a number of short hikes in the area, some that follow the route of famous explorer Meriwether Clark in addition to being rewarded with breathtaking views of the ocean and Columbia River.

Port Wilson Lighthouse

Port Wilson Lighthouse is set inside one of the most beautiful state parks in the nation, Fort Worden State Park in Port Townsend at the north end of the Olympic Peninsula. It is currently a U.S. Coast Guard lighthouse and has been open to the public for just the last few years. It marks the west entrance into the Puget Sound and is the turning point from the Strait of Juan de Fuca into Admiralty Inlet. The lighthouse was first established in 1879 and was originally on top of the lightkeeper's house. Its foghorn can be heard from over three miles away, blasting every 30 seconds. On a clear day from here, Mount Baker, Mount Rainier, the Cascade Mountain range and the Olympic Mountains can all be seen.

Post a Comment