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Oregon Lighthouses - Beacons of a Bygone Era

Oregon Coast LighthousePerched on the very edge of land and sea, Oregon lighthouses were constructed to warn ships to stay away.  But for us landlubbers, the lighthouses are a historical beacon to explore.

Throughout Oregon maritime history, ships loaded with cargo from the world’s seaports sailed up and down the rocky Oregon Coast. And the treacherous waters and vicious Pacific storms wrecked many a ship against the rocks and shifting sand bars.

Most of the lighthouses in Oregon were built in the late 1800’s, and are now over one hundred years old.   The kerosene beacons in the lighthouses were converted to electricity in the 1930's. By the 1960’s, all light keepers were removed from the lighthouses, and now the beacons are fully automated.

Historic LighthouseNine Oregon lighthouses remain on the edge of the rocky Coast. Seven of the lighthouses were constructed on the mainland.  These seven mainland lighthouses are open to the public and you can tour and visit each mainland lighthouse. 

Getting to the Lighthouses

Whether you have one hour or one day, your visit to one of the historic Oregon lighthouses will be richly rewarded.  You will see more than a lighthouse – you are seeing a part of Oregon maritime history.  And if you look around, you may even see gray whales spouting in the ocean or majestic Roosevelt elk feeding on the beaches!

To get to the lighthouses, use the Oregon Coast highway, or highway US101 as it is also known. Follow the directions and pay attention to the mile posts and landmarks. Some lighthouses are located just off of highway US101 in easy to find state parks. Some are several miles away from the highway, and may be best viewed through the lens of a camera....

Most of the lighthouses in Oregon are open to the public. And there are a few lighthouses that families with kids should definitely visit such as the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse - plenty of room for kids to run and play and explore.

Oregon Coast Lighthouses - A Short Summary

From the City of Tillamook to the north, to Port Orford to the south, here is a short summary of the nine lighthouses still present on the rugged Oregon Coast. To learn more about each Oregon lighthouse, click on the picture or the blue underline link.

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

Tillamook Rock LighthouseTillamook Rock Lighthouse is no longer an active beacon. Nicknamed "Terrible Tilly" because of the exposure from terrible storm waves. The former beacon is now privately owned, used as a columbarium. No public access, but best view point is from Ecola State Park. Click here to learn more...

Cape Meares Lighthouse

Cape Meares LighthouseActive lighthouse, located at Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, about 10 miles west of Tillamook and highway US101. Trails and viewpoints. Well worth a visit. Call for arranging tours. Click here to learn more....

 

Yaquina Head Lighthouse

Yaquina Head LighthouseActive lighthouse located in Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area just off of highway US101, about 3 miles north of the city of Newport. Definitely plan a visit. Highly recommended!! Natural area exhibits, trails and tide pools, views of seabird nesting area - open year around. Click here to learn more...

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse

Yaquina Bay LighthouseActive lighthouse located south of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse, on the north end of the Yaquina Bay Bridge in Newport itself. Haunted lighthouse. Open as a museum daily. Unique history and stories. Click Here to learn more....

 

Heceta Head Lighthouse

Heceta Head LighthouseThe strongest light on the Oregon Coast. Located 12 miles north of Florence. Active beacon, historic bed and breakfast, really nice trails, abundant seabird nesting sites in the nearby offshore rocks and headlands. Open daily during the summer from Memorial Day through Labor Day, schedules change during winter months. Click here to learn more...

Umpqua River Lighthouse

Umpqua River LighthouseActive beacon. Lights the entrance to Winchester Bay. Located on the south side of the bay, approximately 6 miles south of Reedsport at the Umpqua Lighthouse State Park. Lighthouse overlooks sand dunes. Lighthouse and museum open to the public and maintained by Douglas County Parks. Click here to learn more...

 

Cape Arago Lighthouse

Cape Arago LighthouseLighthouse was an active beacon, but turned off by the U.S. Coast Guard in 2006. Located 12 miles southwest of Coos Bay. Not open to the public. Good views from overlook 1/4 mile south of Sunset Bay State Park campground. Bring camera. No tours, no trails - just great for taking pictures. While in the area, check out the incredible gardens at the Shore Acres State Park just a few miles away. Click here to learn more...

Coquille River Lighthouse

Coquille River LighthouseActive solar powered beacon. Guided tours to watchtower. Located in Bullard's Beach State Park just north of Bandon. Open daily May through October and weekends during April. For other months, tours can be arranged. Click here to learn more...

 

Cape Blanco Lighthouse

Cape Blanco LighthouseCape Blanco is the western most point in Oregon. This lighthouse is the oldest standing lighthouse in Oregon. Beacon is located on a cliff over 245 above the ocean, with outstanding wildlife viewing area. Located 9 miles north of Port Orford off of highway US101 and at Cape Blanco State Park. Click here to learn more...

 

Private Oregon Coast Lighthouses

There are two other Oregon lighthouses on the Coast that are not historical lighthouses: Cleft-of-the-Rock Lighthouse, just south of Yachats, and the Port of Brookings Harbor lighthouse. These are modern beacons that private homeowners have built.

Why?

Well, some people really like lighthouses, and wanted to live in them. Unfortunately, because these Oregon lighthouses are private property, the beacons are not open to the public. Sorry!

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