7 Awesome East Coast Lighthouses

October 17, 2021

The East Coast of North America has a storied history of lighthouses that have guided ships through some of the worst storms imaginable.

7 Lighthouses of the East Coast

Photo: Robert Silvasman

The Tallest

The Cape Hatteras Light Station is one of the most iconic beacons in the region with its signature striped pattern. At 198 feet it is the tallest lighthouse in North America. This beacon stands guard over the Diamond Shoals a.k.a. The “graveyard of the Atlantic” where over 2,000 ships have sunk beneath the treacherous waters. The lighthouse was painstakingly moved about a half mile back away from the seashore in 1999 to save it from erosion.

The Shortest

The Ida Lewis light sits atop Lime Rock right in the middle of Newport Harbor. Its namesake is Ida Lewis, a heroine lighthouse keeper during the late 1800’s. She performed many daring rescues during fierce storms, moving her small rowboat with precision through rough waters to save lives. The small light is now used as a navigational aid only in summer as part of the yacht club that maintains it.

Photo: Jeremy D'Entremont

Photo: Amanda Ciampa

The Oldest

The original Boston Light was built in 1716 on Little Brewster Island in Boston Harbor – making it the oldest light station on the continent. The original Boston Light structure burned during the Revolutionary War and the current tower was rebuilt in 1783. It’s the only lighthouse in the U.S. that still has an official lighthouse keeper.

Most Photographed

This postcard perfect light is an icon of the Canadian maritime provinces and one of the most photographed lighthouses in the world. It is easy to see why as it’s bright colors stand sentinel on a granite outcrop of Margaret’s Cove near Halifax. If you’re visiting, heed the warnings of the notoriously giant waves that bash against slippery rocks.

Photo: Adam Cornick @acorn_art_photography

The Brightest

The newest lighthouse on the East Coast is also the brightest. Nicknamed the “Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse” it has 1.2 million candlepower and, thanks to its generous height, is visible up to 30 miles away at sea. When it was first built in 1962 it had a staggering28 million candlepower visible up to70 miles away making it among the brightest lighthouses in the world. This proved too blinding, and annoying to locals, however, and it was soon reduced to its current power.

Most Haunted

St. Augustine Light was the first lighthouse built in Florida in 1824. The current structure rises 165 ft. and has been the subject of many paranormal TV shows because of its tragic history. One of the early lighthouse keeper’s fell to his death while painting near the top. In the late 1800’s two young girls died when their father’s lighthouse construction cart broke loose and plummeted into the bay. Many visitors and museum staff have reported sightings of these and other ghosts around the property.

Photo: KJ Paynter @kjpaynterphoto

Best For Sale

This well known little lighthouse recently went up for sale on a rugged island off the coast of Maine. Included in the property are the 40 foot tall white granite light – still in operation – a 4 bedroom keeper’s house now run as an inn, a 2 bedroom guesthouse, 2 sleeping cabins, a boathouse and an outhouse with an incredible view. Situated on 2 acres of Isle Au Haut, the island is about 5 miles from the mainland in Penobscot Bay. Note (October 2021) this property recently sold!

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