Washington Lighthouses

Washington Lighthouses may be surprising in a way, as many coastal areas aren't directly on the Pacific Ocean. The total coastline is just over 3085 miles. Of that, 598 miles are along the Pacific. The remainder are multiple coastal areas amidst Puget Sound, touching the San Juan Islands, and the North Olympic Peninsula coastlines.1

We'll take you to each area, discovering Washington Lighthouses.

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Which Washington Lighthouses? Where To?

Map showing areas of Washington States with historic lighthouses

Out on the Pacific Coast>

Along the Olympic Peninsula>

The San Juan Islands Area>

PUGET SOUND LIGHTHOUSES:

Whidbey Basin>

Lower Puget Sound>


Washington's Pacific Coast

Willapa Bay Lighthouse - First named Shoalwater Bay Lighthouse, this Washington lighthouse is for posterity. Once part of a lifesaving station, with a flanking settlement. The sea was encroaching. The lighthouse was on a precarious promontory's edge. The Coast Guard took matters into their own hands, speeding up the process on December 26, 1940.7

Grays Harbor Lighthouse - The tallest Washington Lighthouse. It's in Westport, aligned with the Westport Maritime Museum, where you'll see the historic Destruction Island's Fresnel lens. Quite a sight! Tours must be reserved. For details call them. They're at 2201 Westhaven Dr. 360-268-00782,3

Destruction Island Lighthouse - Its name comes from the dangerous circumstances since its build. Not accessible, but view it about one mile South of Ruby Beach. Watch for the Highway 101 pull-off area on the right. You can make your own model to (be sure to click & see the new visitor page) View It Everyday>

North Head Lighthouse - When traveling coastal Hwy. 101, try this excellent stop. Not far off the highway, in Cape Disappointment State Park. Historic with incredible views. We have more of it & Destruction Island Here>

Cape Flattery Lighthouse - Looking nearly the same as when built in 1857, the most Northwesterly Washington Lighthouse on the Pacific Coast. Not only that but in the oceanic mainland U.S.

  • Lighthouse Keepers lived there on Tatoosh Island, until automation in 1977. 
  • It's always been difficult to reach, surrounded by huge surf surging onto craggy slopes.2 
  • Now decommissioned, and owned by the Makah Native American Tribe.4 Ever since the first survey for this tower, there were tribal conflicts. Thus the island's return is just.6

Olympic Peninsula Washington Lighthouses

Slip Point Lighthouse - In 1904, a light signal was needed at Slip Pointon Clallam Bay. With no funding for a light tower, they used what they had. Until 1916, they fastened a lantern to the building's front.8 Held up by exterior wooden shelving. A ladder was propped onto the side. 1940's winter saw exceptional precipitation, causing a landfall destroying the building. A new structure replaced it, this time with a tower. There continued problems with erosion. Eventually an offshore beacon retired it.9 

New Dungeness Lighthouse - First lit the end of 1857 to guide mariners through the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Sequim Drive, five miles to the end of Dungeness Spit and you're there. The first tower was quite high, then lowered in 1927. Placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. See their WebCam to get a great view!

Ediz Hook Lighthouse - Built in 1908, near the end of Ediz Hook, a narrow peninsula out into the Salish Sea off Port Angeles, replacing an 1865 original.  Dismantled in 1948, when the area became a Coast Guard Air Station. A control tower beacon was used instead. The quarters were relocated, becoming a private home.4


San Juan Island's Lighthouses

White keeper's home with lighthouse tower, lantern room and gallery exiting up from roof.Patos Island Lighthouse - Image from a Postcard postmarked Feb. 7, 1913

Patos Island Lighthouse - Most northern lighthouse of the San Juan's in Puget Sound. On a rocky island near the Canadian border. Built in 1893, it had some rogues and privateers to deal with in its history. It also played an important part during WWII. Automated in 1974, run by the Coast Guard. Now located in Patos Island Marine State Park. A volunteer group maintains it.11,12

Semiahmoo Lighthouse - Victorian styling combining with Cape Cod went into this 1905 Washington lighthouse built on an understructure set on pilings. Protecting marine entry to Blaine's Drayton Harbor. Automated in 1939, but determined unnecessary five years later. In late spring, 1944 the U.S. Coast Guard tore it down.10

Turn Point Lighthouse - On Stuart Island. A Turn Point head lighthouse keeper was Louis Borchers, who took advantage of local seafood for sustenance and provision. Fishing for grayfish, salmon, sardines, etc., he canned them to aid WWI war efforts. Pointed to as an example by Herbert Hoover, then head of the U.S. Food administration.6 

Burrows Island Lighthouse - Named for the island, there since 1906. When automated in 1973, deterioration began without attention of regular keepers. Northwest Schooner Society volunteers took note, with many plans in the works. Not open to the public now, but intentions are for tours and even overnight stays.

Smith Island Lighthouse - Built in 1858 at the Eastern end of the Strait of Juan de Fuca, placed 200 feet from cliffside. By 1950 clearance to the precipice dwindled to under 50 feet, from wave erosion. As a precaution for mariners, a light-pole beam replaced the lighthouse beacon. In 1964 the lantern room  was detached, for installation at Skunk Bay lighthouse. In 1975, this Washington lighthouse was right at the brink, the foundation seen "blended" with the cliffside. Soon thereafter, bit by bit, it tumbled over the bluff. In 1998 the last of it went over.15 Its Fresnel lens had been rescued. Find it in Seattle's Museum of History and Industry.17

Cattle Point Lighthouse - Hudson's Bay Company brought cattle to San Juan Island in 1853, making a ranch near this Southeastern point for its pastures. Since 1888 a nautical lantern was placed atop the point's hill crest. Later a lighthouse was built, finished in 1935.14

Lime Kiln Lighthouse - Another on San Juan Island, built in 1914. Remodeled in 1919, as it looks now. We loved the look of it when We Motored By in a boat. There was a limestone quarry on the island. A kiln turned the stone to commercial lime.13 Within San Juan State Park.

  • The lighthouse has a unique location because whales come nearby:

Puget Sound Lighthouses


Whidbey Basin Area

Marrowstone Point Lighthouse - At Marrowstone Island's Northeast, this signal light marks the entrance to Port Townsend Bay. The earliest method was a pole lantern in 1888. Finally Congressional funding authorized a fog-bell tower, completed in 1896. It didn't work too well! Shipping disasters occurred, among which were: the steamer North Pacific, steamer Mainlander, and the military cruiser USS Colorado. In 1914, funding for a light was had.

A large bell in the second story of a lighthouse service homeMarrowstone Point Fog-Bell Tower
Men atop a concrete signaling lightEarly Marrowstone Fog Lights & the Fog Gun - Photo from Oct. 1915

Then upgrades in 1917. Automated in 1962. The 1914 assembly and the small square building from 1917 are still at the point.4 The area can be seen from Flagler State Park>

Admiralty Head Lighthouse - Arrive to Fort Casey State Park near Coupeville on Whidbey Island to visit this Washington lighthouse. It's had several reinventions/renovations. First built in 1868 as Red Bluff Lighthouse, wooden, in Cape Cod style. At the turn of the century, Fort Casey was built, requiring Red Bluff Lighthouse's relocation. A new lighthouse was built in 1903 adjacent to the old. Named for Admiralty Inlet, to assist shipping there. Very sturdy California Spanish style, of stucco over brick. Red Bluff's lens was removed for use in this new 30 foot tower. Lit on June 25, 1903. It only served 19 years until decommissioning. As often happens, breakdown began. Finally in 1957 Washington State Parks, with the Island County Historical Society, started restorations.16

Bush Point Lighthouse - At Whidbey Island, overseeing the tightest traverse between the island's point  and Marrowstone Island. A trend began by the island's first settlers:

Steps up to a pole to hang a lantern for shipping warnings with an equipment shed and adjacent fence.1900 Photo of the Bush Point Lantern Pole
  • The Farmer family hung a lantern on a wooden pole to warn sailors of the land's end. 
  • In 1894 the Light House Board ordered an official light-post lantern for Bush Point. 
  • By 1933 a pyramid shaped concrete lighthouse was built. Electrically lit via a remote caretaker.4 
  • On private property today.

Point Wilson Lighthouse - Active since 1879 near Port Townsend, guiding mariners into Western Puget Sound. At first built in typical Cape Cod style. In 1914 a separate 48 foot tower was built nearby,2 reminiscent of the original. Tour it, or plan a stay in the Keeper's Quarters! Inquiries: 415-362-7255 OR email: lighthouse@uslhs.org5

Mukilteo Lighthouse - From 1906. Now part of a city park at 609 Front Street in Mukilteo. A multi-use facility administered by the Mukilteo Historical Society, with the Mukilteo Recreation Department. To Visit, there's a paid parking lot. Residents can get Exemption Passes at City Hall. Paid street parking is also available.

Skunk Bay Lighthouse - Unusual start, privately owned. The Coast Guard authorized Author Jim Gibbs to retrieve the endangered Smith Lighthouse lantern. He recreated it on his property by building a tower for it, plus adding a keeper's home. It's said one playful night Jim was blinking the light on and off, and then on all night! The Coast Guard was at his door. Saying: eliminate the light, or use it according to regulations. Thus it began as a navigational beacon. In 1970 he sold the property to the Skunk Bay Lighthouse Association.17

Point No Point Lighthouse - Oldest lighthouse on Puget Sound's North entrance, built 1879. Got its name in 1841. That's when U.S. Exploring Expedition Lieutenant Wilkes noted from his vessel that the end of this spit of land seemed to disappear and reappear. It's on Washington State and the National Historic Registers. Now in Point No Point County Park near Hansville. Still a navigational aid, the Coast Guard added a 90 foot radar tower to this station. It's also where the U.S. Lighthouse Society has its headquarters. You can have a stay, and take a look at Their Webcam>


Lower Puget Sound Lighthouses

Lightship Swiftsure - From its 1904 build in Camden NJ, it rounded South America's Cape Horn. Heading for its assignment at Blunt's Reef, California. Arriving the following year, it was there until 1930. Afterwards it had four other assignments including into the Navy during WWII. It's last was a relief ship when other lightships went for maintenance. LV 83 WAL 513 is its Coast Guard ID. It received the name Swiftsure when it was a marker in 1995's so-named yacht race. See it in Downtown Seattle's  South Lake Union Park at Northwest Seaport.

West Point Lighthouse - Visit Seattle's biggest city park, along with Fort Lawton: Discovery Park. The light station was built in 1881. Now on the National Register of Historic Places. Its job was to point the way into Elliot Bay, south of West Point. In 1917 when Lake Washington Ship Canal was built, it marked its entrance as well. Last Washington lighthouse to be automated, finally happening in 1985.4,18

Alki Point Lighthouse - Located at 3201 Alki Avenue SW, Seattle. Built in 1913, it's still a Coast Guard owned navigational aid. Fabulous views from there. The Coast Guard Auxiliary normally offers free summertime tours - but check as it can change. Email the Project Officer at alkilighthouse@cgauxseattle.org OR visit their FB Page>

Point Robinson Lighthouse - Built in 1885 to oversee vessel safety through Puget Sound's East Passage. Automated in 1978, it's now within Vashon Park District. A historical and marine conservancy centered area on eastern Maury Island. Maybe stay in the Keeper's Quarters? For details call  206-463-9602.

Browns Point Lighthouse - Located at 201 Tulalip St. NE, Tacoma. This 1933, concrete Washington lighthouse is being restored by Points Northeast Historical Society. Plans for Keeper's Quarters rentals are active. MYNorthwest writer Felix Banel wrote it's a "distinctive looking lighthouse... unusual compared to other lighthouses because it’s not cylinder shaped.... [It's] more of a tall box..."19 Predating it from 1887 was a lantern on a pole, and then 1903 a wooden lighthouse.19

Dofflemeyer Point Lighthouse - Notable as the southernmost Washington lighthouse in Puget Sound. As boating traffic increased at Budd Inlet's entrance, first was a post lantern in tidal waters in 1877. A 30 foot, pyramid shaped, concrete lighthouse was finally built in 1934. Nearby residents were contracted to maintain the light, as a "lamplighter." Now on a private beach in Boston Harbor. View it  from piers at the local marina, or from Jeal Point.

Gig Harbor Lighthouse - This private navigational aid was dedicated in 1989. Located on a tiny spit of land at the entry to Gig Harbor. The city itself is invested in it. See its story:



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