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Guide to Historic Lighthouses In Washington

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Guiding ships safely along the rugged coastline was no small task for the men and women that once served as lighthouse keepers. They faced many hardships, simply to keep ships from crashing into the rocky shores. Today, the state of Washington has 18 active lighthouses, where each one has a fascinating history and uniqueness to it that’s worth looking into. 

Most of these beautiful lighthouses in Washington offer tours to the public, while some of them even allow you and your family to stay there overnight. Here’s a guide to several of these historical lighthouses that you will find in the state of Washington. 

Guide to Lighthouses in Washington

Check out this guide to 16 of the lighthouses in Washington. Each lighthouse is unique and offers something a little different. No matter which of these you choose to visit, you will be in for a treat. Before you read, check out this map of the lighthouses in Washington we are covering, to find one that is near your desination.

1. Admiralty Head Lighthouse 

Located on Whidbey Island, the Admiralty Head Light was built back in 1903, replacing the Red Bluff Lighthouse. Though it only served until 1922, it still has received national recognition. Back in 1990, the U.S. Postal Service selected this lighthouse amongst only a few others, to serve on their stamps that year. Today it’s a museum that you can tour along with a souvenir shop.    

2. Alki Point Lighthouse

Built back in 1913, the Alki Point Lighthouse is operated to this day by the US Coast Guard. It’s located along the southern entrance of Elliott Bay in West Seattle, Washington where they offer free tours to the public. Keep in mind that children 6 and under are not able to go to the top of the lighthouse due to the steep stairwell.    

Alki Point Lighthouse at Sunset
Alki Point Lighthouse

3. Browns Point Lighthouse 

Overshadowing Commencement Bay, the Browns Point Lighthouse has been structurally rebuilt three times over the years, once in 1887, 1903, and 1933.

Visitors can tour this Washington lighthouse for free on Saturdays from 1 to 4, where it’s located in Browns Point Lighthouse Park. There’s even a 3-bedroom keeper’s cottage inside that you and your family can rent in order to stay overnight.     

4. Cape Disappointment Lighthouse 

Built clear back in 1856, and still in operation to this day, the Cape Disappointment Lighthouse has a rich history to it, though not always a good one. Even though it had a 1,600-pound fog bell, sailors still had a difficult time hearing it over the crashing waves. 

There was also the problem that the lighthouse could not be seen coming from the north, which is why the North Head Lighthousein Washington had to be built. Visitors can still see the lighthouse today by taking the Cape Disappointment Trail that is located near Long Beach in Washington. 

5. Cape Flattery Lighthouse 

Cape Flattery Lighthouse rests upon the northwestern-most point of the contingent United States. The lighthouse was built on Tatoosh Island in 1857, making it one of the first navigational aids that was constructed along the West Coast. 

To catch a small glimpse of this historic lighthouse, you will take a beautiful and dramatic hike to incredible views of the Pacific Ocean. Don’t forget your binoculars!  

6. Grays Harbor Lighthouse

Standing at an impressive 107 feet, the Grays Harbor Lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in the state and the 3rd tallest on the entire West Coast. It was first lit in 1898, with 135 steps that led up to the top. 

The navigation aid is still in operation today, and visitors can climb to the top to see its impressive Fresnel lens (this was built in Paris, France in 1895) and surrounding ocean views. If it happens to be a beautiful clear day, to the east you may even see Mount Rainier off in the distance.   

Lime Kiln Lighthouse at dusk, taken from nearby rocks jutting out into the ocean.
Lime Kiln Lighthouse

7. Lime Kiln Lighthouse

Lime Kiln Lighthouse happened to be the very last lighthouse in the state of Washington to be electrified, not until 1951. It now resides in the beautiful Lime Kiln Point State Park on the western side of San Juan island.

One thing worth noting is that this location happens to be one of the best places in the world for whale-watching. Be sure to visit their website to schedule your tour. 

8. Mukilteo Lighthouse 

Surrounded by amazing views, the Mukilteo Lighthouse is one of only a handful of wooden lighthouses in the Pacific Northwest. Built back in 1906, it’s still operational with its modern fog horn, and fixed Fresnel Lens, that would aid sailors during rough and stormy weather.

Today, the light station includes the lighthouse, the Keeper’s House, and a gift shop that’s open to the public on weekends and holidays from April 1st until September 30th. 

9. New Dungeness Lighthouse

First lit back in 1857, the continuously operated New Dungeness Lighthouse has provided aid to ships along the strait of San Juan de Fuca for over 150 years!

There are several different ways you can reach the lighthouse, whether you wish to arrive by boat, car, or on their hiking trail. Your family even has the opportunity to serve as the lightkeepers there for a week should you decide to spend several nights.  

10. North Head Lighthouse

Also, located in the Cape Disappointment State Park, the North Head Lighthouse began its service back in 1898. Due to its beautiful setting along high cliffs, it’s used as a wedding and ceremony venue with the Pacific in the background.

You can also stay at the Keeper’s Residence where it’s used as an overnight rental. You will find this lighthouse when visiting Ilwaco, Washington.   

North Head Lighthouse

11. Patos Island Lighthouse 

Erected in 1893, the Patos Island Lighthouse is a hidden gem that only a rare few ever get to encounter. That’s because you will need a boat to get to this remote location. But even if you don’t own one, you can still take a boat charter or a long kayaking trip from Orcas Island, followed up by a 1.5-mile loop hiking trail

Visitors can also enjoy paid camping spots that are available on the island but keep in mind that there’s no running water, so you will want to bring enough water for your needs. The lighthouse is open to the public for most of the summer.    

12. Point No Point Lighthouse

Not too far outside of Hansville, the Point No Point Lighthouse can be found on the northeastern-most tip of Kitsap Peninsula. It’s believed to be the oldest operating lighthouse in the entire Puget Sound, dating back to 1880. Tours take place on Saturdays and Sundays from 1 pm to 4 pm, from April until the end of September.  

13. Point Robinson Lighthouse

A replica of the Alki lighthouse, the Point Robinson Lighthouse on Maury Island has been aiding sea vessels since 1887. You will also find walking trails and picnic tables along the shoreline, and tours of the lighthouse on Sundays around mid-May until mid-September. 

Should you be visiting during the off-season, still feel free to contact Captain Joe Wubbold at 206-463-9602 to schedule your tour. Two rentals at the Keeper’s Houses are available as rentals for those hoping to stay in this beautiful area for a couple of nights.  

Point Robinson Lighthouse taken from the water side, showing land and Mt Ranier behind in the background.
Point Robinson Lighthouse with Mt Ranier in distance

14. Point Wilson Lighthouse

Arguably one of the most important navigational aids in the entire state of Washington due to location, the Point Wilson Lighthouse rests on a beautiful site. The lighthouse stands at 51 feet tall, making it the tallest beacon on Puget Sound.

Today, visitors can rent for their chance to stay overnight at the “Chief’s house” which is located next to the lighthouse at Fort Worden State Park. There is a 2-night minimum stay if you’re interested. 

15. Turn Point Lighthouse

Situated right along the U.S and Canadian border, the Turn Point Lighthouse on Stuart Island has been in operation since 1934. The small home and lighthouse is now a part of the San Juan Islands National Monument.  In order to see it, you’ll have to take a boat or kayak across, and then a small hike. Bird-watching and camping on popular activities to do there as well. You will need a permit to dock there, but there is no fee to visit the land.    

16. West Point Lighthouse

You may notice that the West Point Lighthouse’s design closely resembles that of the Point No Point Lighthouse. This lighthouse icon is well-known, especially to the Seattle area, where it has resided in Discovery Park ever since 1881. 

If you’re hoping to visit the lighthouse, be sure to stop by the Visitor’s Center so that they can direct you in the right direction. It’s a bit of a hike back up from the bluff when you’re done, so if you have smaller children, or are physically unable, there’s a shuttle that can assist you. Here’s their official website that has all the information you will need.   

This is a brief guide to these 16 historical lighthouses in the state of Washington. Each of them is unique in their own way, along with their history, and most are available for touring. Keep in mind that some of these tours may not be available until Covid restrictions are lifted. 

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