Pacific Coast Lighthouses

Pacific Coast Lighthouses will be a feast for your senses! Come with us exploring Pacific Ocean coastal areas to show you notable light beacons throughout. When you think about it, the Pacific touches many areas. This vast ocean occupies about 1/3 the earth's surface.1 

Where did we find these notable Pacific Coast Lighthouses? Not only the Americas: North and South. But how about the South Pacific. Then there are island countries. Like Australia, New Zealand, Fiji, Micronesia, Samoa, Solomon Islands, Tonga.1 Then also Papua New Guinea, China and Taiwan, the Philippines, Indonesia, Japan, Antarctica and Russia have Pacific coastal areas. We'd imagine many spots requiring lighthouses!

We've searched out those Pacific coast lighthouse noteworthy finds. Come along & click to immediately see - What's Here:


Western US / Alaska / Hawaii

With those coastal waters within these five states, there are some impressive Pacific coast lighthouses to be found.

Oregon Coast Lighthouses

Cape Arago Lighthouse - Mysterious, as you can't access it. One journalist called it "a best-kept secret." However view it for your "life list" - get it on there! Located on Chief Island, a historic Native American site. Sensitive for archeology and tribal burial sites, and bird nesting. The original lighthouse was built in 1866. But as the island has slipped into Pacific waves, two towers were demolished, then this new light built in 1934. It's still endangered as the island continues slowly eroding away. It's inevitable and nothing can prevent it says the BLM.2 Some suggestions to view it:2,3,4

  • There are multiple places along Cape Arago Hwy. where you can also get a view.
  • From Sunset Bay State Park, west of the town of Charleston, west from Coos Bay. After passing the day use beach in the  park, look for a turnoff road. Along there are views of the lighthouse.
  • From Lighthouse Beach, if you can find access. The trail there is blocked with barbed wire, on & off, as it goes through private property. Not quite neighborly, especially to surfers and marine scientists, who regularly use the area. Oregon's Surfrider Foundation says it's "rather dangerous to access that beach from other spots."4 You can try, we won't take responsibility!
  • Go to the Coos Head Lookout, to evaluate what you can see.  Shore line is managed by BLM, but upland areas are property of the Confederated Tribes of Coos, Lower Umpqua, and Siuslaw Indians, and closed to nontribal peoples.
  • Of course, if you're very serious, you can charter a boat, since for a price they'll customize the closest view.

Cape Meares Lighthouse - The shortest on the state's coast. Travel Three Capes Scenic Loop to take a look. Your whole trip will be awesome. In the Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint, open daily 7am to dusk. Enter this Pacific coast lighthouse from May through September. Accessed from Hwy. 101, turn right onto Hwy 131, going through Netarts. When nearing Oceanside, stay right, continuing on Cape Meares Loop. Two miles to the Lighthouse. Directional signs point the way. More info: (503) 842-3182.

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Washington Lighthouses

Many Washington state lighthouses aren't along the Pacific coast. But the ones on those shorelines are simply exhilarative! Take a look.


White lighthouse with a side building, both have a red roof.North Head Lighthouse Photo by Julie Gentry

North Head Lighthouse - Views are riveting, with the outflowing Columbia River into the ocean. Reason for a Pacific Coast lighthouse at this place: the nickname "graveyard of the Pacific." Built in 1898 to assist the 1856 Cape Disappointment Lighthouse more recessed at Fort Canby. North Head Lighthouse was more easily seen on this jutting spit of land. Still operating, automatically. Tours when open, daily 11am to 3pm May thru Sept. Accessed from Hwy. 101, head toward Ilwaco, turn onto North Head Rd.

Destruction Island Lighthouse - The island's native Quileute name is T’achisqu, known by until English Captain Vancouver renamed it Destruction while there in the early 1790s. Huh? The Quileute used the island for seafood harvest gathering. Their yields were halibut, salmon, shellfish, bass and more. The lighthouse was operational in 1891, automated in 1968, and turned off in 2008. Today managed by U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service as a refuge, not available to public visit.5 View it from Ruby Beach in Olympic National Park, accessed from Hwy. 101. Watch for turn-off sign between mile 164 & 165. Take the trail to the shoreline, walking South for a better viewpoint.


Lighthouses in Alaska

Cape Hinchinbrook Lighthouse - Cliffside overlooking entry to Prince William Sound. Construction started in 1909, but varying obstacles, including earthquakes, made for further structure projects over the years. The tower seen now was lit in 1934, automated 40 years later. Now solar powered.6 View its original Fresnel Lens, now at the Valdez Heritage Center.

Point Retreat Lighthouse - Have you taken an Inside Passage Cruise, or gone boating near Juneau? Did you glimpse this wonderfully named Pacific coast lighthouse? Along Lynn Canal, on Mansfield Peninsula. The acreage on the northern portion of Admiralty Island was designated in 1901 for a light station, but building wasn't yet funded. A small tower was lit in 1904, until finally in 1924 the current lighthouse was built. Now on the National Register of Historic Places. It's received grants for restoration, for eventual public opening.7


Lighthouses in Hawaii

A white lighthouse at Nawiliwili Harbor in 1934 at Ninini Point in KauaiNawiliwili Harbor Lighthouse in 1934

Nawiliwili Harbor Lighthouse - On the north side of the harbor entrance. Built somewhere between 1897 and 1906, as a wooden tower by the Lihue Plantation Company. The U.S. Government paid $8 for it and surrounding property in 1917. In 1932, today's tower was built, then lit in 1933, automated 20 years later. Still working today. In 1994 the Coast Guard Auxiliary Flotilla 15 took over its care.8 Located near where cruise ships dock in Kauai, past the Marriot at the end of Nanini Point Street.

Moloka'i Lighthouse - Now a part of Kalaupapa National Park. There are multiple ways to access the park, none of which are necessarily easy to accomplish!  A very unique place. Visitors can tour the lighthouse, but know that reservations are required. The tower is also standout as the tallest Pacific coast lighthouse in the U.S. Built in 1909.9 It's a historic area, but not only for the light station.

Important for it's Hansen's Disease story.

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California Lighthouses

Piedras Blancas Lighthouse - Something entirely different! A lighthouse going topless ;-) ! And it's a magnificently scenic spot on the Pacific coast. Sitting within an "Outstanding Natural Area" it's in California Coastal National Monument. History, plus a wildlife sanctuary! Amazing place. Tours require Advance Reservations: Call Line Open 10am to 12 midnight EST - US toll-free: (877) 444-6777 OR International: 606-515-6777 And a fabulously recommended place to Stay Nearby>

Point Montara Lighthouse - A lighthouse for Point Montara was first established in 1875. After reworkings, today's tower there since 1928. Plus, an unusual story, because this particular tower originated on Cape Cod! Although not open for public touring, outbuildings are established as Hostel stays.10 It's even been a site for an all-star cast movie. An enjoyable way to surround yourself with this Historic National Register, Pacific coast lighthouse, about 25 miles south of San Francisco. Check out how you can Stay There Yourself!


Canadian Pacific Coast Lighthouses

Amphitrite Lighthouse - In Ucluelet on Vancouver Island's west coast. A shipwreck tragedy promoted the call for a beacon at this perilous oceanfront point. In 1906 a wooden lighthouse was first constructed. Amazingly this small wooden cabin-like tower on wooden stilts withstood all the ocean threw at it for eight years. Finally a 1914 storm brought it down. The next year it was replaced with the current 3-level tower, which had a small interior lighthouse keeper's quarters.11

Pachena Point Lighthouse - A desolate, but important place for this historic Pacific coast lighthouse. Accessed from the West Coast Trail on Vancouver Island. If you're an avid hiker, you'll want to be among several thousand who come by each summer,12 and add this to your destination list! What's also cool is Canada Post featured it in a stamp series with four other Canadian lighthouses in 2007.13

Langara Point Lighthouse - On Langara Island since 1913. The Haida Gwaii Village of Masset is also on the island, about 25 miles away. Outbuildings hold Keepers' Homes and multiple workshops. A helpful station for tsunami warnings/earthquake data, and marine traffic to Prince Rupert. Tourists access it easily by boat.14 As Canada's Westernmost lighthouse, it's unique for the country's Pacific coast lighthouses. Langara Fishing Adventures is a flexible tour company that's arranged trips there. Further details: email them - info@langara.com


Central/South America Pacific Coast Lighthouses

Isla San Benito Lighthouse, Baja Sur, Mexico - Nice historic tower, not operational. On the highest point of this tiny island off the Baja Sur Pacific coast. When lit, it used diesel power and emitted 30 miles out. Apparently constructed by prisoners, supervised by the military. Decommissioned when a new lighthouse elsewhere sufficed.24 Arrange a site visit via eco touring. Research it from Searcher Natural History Tours via searcher@bajawhale.com

Puerto Escondido Lighthouse, Oaxaca, Mexico - On the cliffs at the entrance to the town's harbor. What's very nice is getting the view from "Un Sueño Posible" - A Possible Dream Coastal Walkway. It begins at the Western end of Calle Tercera Pte. A scenic concrete walkway along the shoreline cliffs. Use caution on this (give/take) 1 mile walk which suffers wave battering at times. Get rewarded when you reach the end's overlook: View of the lighthouse and beautiful restful patio, for exquisite photos!

Ocos Front Range Lighthouse, Guatemala - At Rio Suchiate, just over the Mexican border, marking that river and boundary. West of the Ocos town. Shorter than it's "twin" rear range light, almost 400 yards inland from this Pacific coast lighthouse.17

Faro de La Unión en El Parque de la Familia, La Unión, El Salvador - Very picturesque, one of few in Central/South America meant for visitors to enter, and climb to the gallery. In the downtown waterfront,17 an area for entertainment and gathering.

El Faro De Masachapa, Nicaragua - On the Masachapa waterfront. Notable for it's unique coloring and park-like surroundings. It's not listed, though, with an Admiralty number. It may be a Faux lighthouse.

Punta de Puntarenas, Costa Rica - At the waterfront where Calle 39 intersects Av. 3, all the way at the Western end of Av. 1, in Puntarenas Province, Costa Rica. In Barrio el Carmen on the Puntarenas Peninsula. A historic place, because here on the Pacific's Golfo de Nicoya was the original 1856 light station, which was then a pyramidal wooden skeleton tower. Deactivated sometime after 1920, it was Costa Rica's First.25 The new light was built closer to the shoreline in 2014. 

Buenaventura Lighthouse, Columbia - in Parque Colpuertos, a public park on the waterfront in Buenaventura. The country's main Pacific Coast port. Decommissioned since 2014,17 it's now a tourist attraction. One of very few Pacific coast lighthouses in Central or South America where you can climb to the gallery!

Isla Jicarita Lighthouse, Panama - Off the Southern coast, south of Parque Nacional Coiba, at the South end of Isla Coiba. You can Charter a Tour to get to the area. The light is an active, square multi-level skeletal tower. To get to the light would be challenging! It's configuration is a bit different.

Map locating a lighthouse on Isla Jicarita in PanamaThe Location - Finding Isla Jicarita Lighthouse

Punta Chapoya Lighthouse, Ecuador - Near Punta Piedras del Morro. Just northwest of Gral Villamil, use caution to get there. It's near a rugged surfing/fishing beach. Bring everything you need. Out of town, take Av. Jaime Roldós Aguilera, it becomes Vía Engabao. As it turns to the right, take the left fork onto Calle El Palado. Follow it until you see the Pacific ahead. See an unnamed dirt road to the left, turn there. When nearing the ocean, it curves to the right. Just a bit farther see this lonely Pacific Coast lighthouse on the left.

Punta Engabao, Ecuador - This Pacific coast lighthouse station was first created during the 1920s.17 The light is still active. 

La Marina Lighthouse, Lima Peru - In the Miraflores District, perched on the cliffs of wonderful Parque Antonio Raimondi, also known as Parque el Faro, for the lighthouse. Located here since 1973, because it was originally built much further south, in Punta Coles during 1900. It's still a navigational aid, but also a popular tourist visit.26

Punta Coles Lighthouse - Yet there's still a lighthouse here, built in 1973. The original is now in Lima, as noted above. This is the Ilo District of Southern Peru. It's out on the The Punta Coles Reserve, requiring planning to go. The best way is to secure a Tour Operator. Check out SERNANP. The Reserve is an area filled with sea life and birds. As well as this quite stunning lighthouse, on the rocky peninsula tip, black & white stripes, over 118 ft. high. Still shining its light for mariners.17,27


Chilean Pacific Coast Lighthouses

With over 2500 miles of coastline, plus countless islands, Chile's Navy has been the instrument in lighthouse construction and maintenance. Although now many cities have taken over management.17

Monumental Lighthouse, La Serena  - In Coquimbo, Elqui, construction finished in 1951. It looks like a beach fortress, with wonderful architectural style.28 The city now has ownership, converting use to include civic occasions. Still a functional Pacific coast light. Access to the tower, when open.

Monumental Lighthouse at Huasco - In the Atacama Region. An active light, out of a domed lantern room. Owned by the city, built in 1996. Tourism is key for this also, it's said the tower can be climbed.

Chañaral Monumental Lighthouse - Built by the city for the new Millennium Celebration at the turn of the century in 2000. As such, from reviews, we wonder if it's not been maintained well since the big event. On the town's hillside there, you get wonderful vistas. Find it via Atacama Alto. Active, with an atypical gallery. The entrance area's intention was a display museum.

Cabo Carranza Lighthouse - The Chilean Chief of the Maritime Signaling Department, Littoral Frigate Captain James Crawford said regarding its tower's "metallic pyramidal trunk with a rectangular base... makes it unique and different" from all others in the country. A Navy lighthouse keeper, with family, lives in quarters there, serving many navigational functions. Shipwrecks precipitated the lighthouse's build in 1895. In 2015 underwent refurbishment, with a reconstructed tower. 30 On Punta Santa Ana, piloting the mouth of the Río Loanco in Cauquenes Province. Reached via dirt road off M-50, good in fair weather, tower not accessible.17

Punta Angeles Lighthouse - In Playa Ancha, Valparaiso. Highly recommended for multiple reasons. Chile's first established, as a light station in 1838.17 An American Captain, P.Delano became a Chilean Navy Admiral, and had a lighthouse built.29 First wooden, in 1857 rebuilt with brick. A 1906 earthquake demolished it. By 1908 this lighthouse was placed. Then in 1967 moved a bit to the present location within Punta Angeles maritime complex, on Camino Costera. Possibly the most powerful light in South America.17 Many nearby attractions make it a quality stop, including the National Maritime Museum on Paseo 21 de Mayo. Open Tues-Sun, + Mon. holidays: 10am to 5:30pm.

Cape Horn Monument Lighthouse - Monumental Cabo de Hornos in Spanish. At Cape Horn on Isla Hornos. This is the actual Lighthouse at the End of the World! (Although there is one more Simple Light Tower, 17 feet tall, on an island 65 miles further yet Southwest: at the apex of Islas Diego Ramírez.) At a light station established in 1991, it originally was a simple short, probably no more than 30 foot tall tower with a gallery. Rebuilt in 2006, so the tower was elevated and integrated into Keeper's Housing. The site is open, but no tower entry. You can see memorials to sailors whose lives ended "rounding the Horn" when you're on the island.


Down Under Pacific Coast Lighthouses

New Zealand

Castle Point Lighthouse - In the Wairarapa Region, North Island. A later build among New Zealand's Pacific Coast Lighthouses. Eastern coast, one hour past Masterton. Take Masterton Castlepoint Road to Castlepoint Scenic Reserve. Where you'll take the Lighthouse Walk, on the boardwalk over the reef. A great idea is to continue on the walk to the lookouts for majestic coastal vistas.15 Watch a webcam live stream! Right here:

Nugget Point Lighthouse - Actually named Tokata Lighthouse, one of New Zealand's oldest. The point was termed "nugget" by South Seas explorer, Captain Cook. The rocks reminded him of gold nuggets. Tokata is the Māori name. An easy walking track takes you to the tower. On the Catlins Coast, South Island, park in the Kaimātaitai Car Park. It's also a wonderful sunrise and sunset viewpoint, for colors reflected about. Plus a great winter spot when Aurora Australis (aka Southern Lights) appears!16


Australia

Hornby Lighthouse - In Sydney Harbor National Park at South Head. Seeing it you'd reminisce about childhood rides on a calliope or licking a Christmas candy cane! Accessed via South Head Heritage Trail from Camp Cove, Watson's Bay. Get fantastic Sydney Harbor perspectives along this short, easy walk. Area car parks charge fees: Pay/Display Machines.

Barrenjoey Lighthouse - In the Northern stretches of the Sydney metro area, just before New South Wales central coast. At Barrenjoey Head, Palm Beach, over 298 ft. above the Pacific. Historically from 1881, still authentically in its sandstone form. Now in Ku-ring-gai Chase National Park. Only guided tours get you inside: Sundays when open. Easiest trek is the Barrenjoey Track, park at Palm Beach ferry wharf carpark (fee).


Western Pacific Lighthouses

Cylindrical lighthouse striped red & white.Karaginsky Lighthouse

Ostrov Karaginskiy (Zl'tnlet), Kamchatka Peninsula, (Krai) Russia - Many lighthouses on this huge peninsula are inactive or questionable. This one is from 1977, active, on a large desolate island, Karaginsky, East of the Kamchatka coast.17

Basco Lighthouse, Philippines - A bit different, since it's quite new: 2003. AKA Batanes Lighthouse. It's said visitors are able to climb. Get there about 3/4 mile north of Basco town on Batan Island.17 It's about the Northernmost light in the country.

Xīhèzuǐdǎo (Xīhèzuǐ Dǎo), Zhèjiāng, China - On a Province on China's Eastern coast, with many islands offshore. This lighthouse is active, at least since 1957. It's a white concrete tower, with a gallery, and gallery shaped access. On a little island helping navigation between islands.17 See the satellite map:

Kwandang (Sungai Kwandang, Teluk Kwandang), Sulawesi, Indonesia - A metal lighthouse on Kwandang's waterfront, where base access is available, but not a tower climb. The town is North Gorontalo Regency's capital.17 See the tower top, where the beacon sits. 

Batu Tinagat Lighthouse, of Tawau Division in Sabah, Malaysia - Built in 1916, it was damaged in WWII, but afterwards repaired. The coastal road goes near it.17 Check if the site's open. It's been designated as a Sabah Heritage Site, which means plans for tourism can be developed.18

Koror Lighthouse, Roisremiu, Urukthapel, Palau - German-built in 1903, now in ruins. A round stone tower, with a propped rusty ladder alongside. You can get there, the crest of Ngaremediu Head on Ngeruktabel Island, as the Channel enters Koror Harbor. It's a ruggedly ascending WWII Japanese military road to it. One season of the reality show Survivor was filmed nearby to this Pacific coast lighthouse.17

Palau postage stamp with a lighthouse and sailboatPalau Postage Stamps Remembers the Lighthouse

Garapan Lighthouse, Saipan, Northern Mariana Islands - Built in 1934 by Japan, active 10 years. Ailing with WWII, through the years perking up, then skidding. 1974 got onto U.S. National Historic Register. Then still through varied reinventions until finally a restoration in 2020. Now called Mariana Lighthouse, as a bar/restaurant/coffee shop, plus gifts. See their FB Page>

Inubōsaki Lighthouse, Kant region, Japan - On Cape Inubō in Chōshi, but located within Suigo-Tsukuba Quasi-National Park. Also a Registered Tangible Cultural Property of Japan. In 1868, the Japanese Navy's ship wreck at this dangerous seapoint finally gave attention to the urgent need for this beacon.21 Finally began November 15, 1874. Climb the beautifully designed tower, only one of 16 in Japan that you can!22

Eluanbi Lighthouse, Pingtung County, Taiwan - An exquisite place to visit. Southernmost point in Taiwan, part of Kenting National Park, in Henchuen Township. Pay a fee to enter the park. Well worth the experience.23


South Pacific Island Lighthouses

Most of these islands use skeletal beacons to guide mariners. Thus visiting is often only accomplished by boat, and entry into a tower isn't feasible. Sometimes they're in the center of a small island amidst jungle vegetation.17 The kingdom of Tonga, for instance, has none we can point to as notable. The Solomon Islands are not now easy to visit or verify, and historical information doesn't lead us to any tower visitation opportunities!17 We don't think of Antarctica as being tropical, as we think of the South Pacific, yet part of its Northern border is in the Pacific's Southern Ocean. But none of Antarctica's lighthouses are on that coast. Let Us Know if you've found something for disagreement!

Madang Kalibobo Lighthouse, Papua, New Guinea - Working beacon from 1959, standing at the harbor entrance. Also a tribute to WWII New Guinea coast-watchers, volunteers assisting the Australian Navy.19 Designed to resemble a torch, it needed reinforcement with stanchions, making it look more like a rocket!17


Kanawetu Point Light, Ijivitari District, Cape Nelson, Papua, New Guinea - At the end of Cape Nelson peninsula.  This Pacific coast lighthouse is active, for marine craft. A white fiberglass tower, emitting two flashes each six seconds.17


Map to locate the Great Astrolabe Reef, with the Solo Rock LightSolo Rock Light Location

Solo Rock Light, Fiji - Northeast of Kadavu Island, sitting on this rock within a lagoon surrounded by the Great Astrolabe Reef. Southeast of Fiji's main island, where Suva is located. Built in 1888, still operational, but automated since 1981.20


SavaiLightBeacon-SalelologaWharf-SavaiiIsland-Samoa_2009-SarahKelemen_CCby2.0Viewing Sava'i Light Beacon from Salelologa Wharf

Sava'i Light Beacon, Samoa - Samoa is divided into American Samoa, and Samoa, an independent country of its own. For this round-up we're combining the two, since between them are ten lights, plus one faux memorial tower. Really none are traditional towers that can be entered. Sava'i Beacon is situated in a lagoon approaching the Salelologa Ferry Terminal on Savai'i island.17

Sapuk Lighthouse, Federated States of Micronesia -  AKA Chuuk Lighthouse, a historic tower. From WWII's shrapnel attacks, inactive since 1944. The jungle wraps around it. If you locate it, enter cautiously. Not easy: Travel approximately 170 miles West of the Chuuk Islands to the Poluwat Atol. Get to the western tip of Alet.17

Kanton Island Lighthouse, Phoenix Islands, Republic of Kiribati - First built 1938, watching over the lagoon entrance. Painted white stone. Was inactive. The Admiralty planned light reactivation September 2019,17 but can't confirm it. Can you? Look on the island's West side, the Southern entrance to the lagoon.17 After looking at Google Satellite Map, would love to go there to confirm reactivation! The coastal road goes to it.

Pago Pago Range Front Lighthouse, American Samoa - Has been close to traditional, for Samoa. A square wooden structure, painted in red & white vertical stripes, at the waterfront hillside. Currently surrounded by vegetation, but the light is active. There's also a similar, active Range Rear Light. Both look quite different from their historic 1947 Coast Guard photos.17


Have You Viewed These Yet?


References

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