There’s a reason that Oregon’s incredible coastline is so beloved–and where better to enjoy its beauty than accompanied by a view of one of the prettiest lighthouses in Oregon?
The Oregon coast is dotted with beautiful historic lighthouses that overlook the ocean, many of them located near idyllic small towns that are worth adding to any Oregon road trip.
Here are the best Oregon lighthouses to visit, plus what to know about accessing them.
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Tillamook Rock Lighthouse
This unique Oregon lighthouse is located off the coast of Tillamook on a small sea stack of basalt.
The lighthouse was built in 1881 and was nicknamed Terrible Tilly due to the ferocious storms that beat against the rock it stands on and makes it difficult to access the lighthouse itself.
This Tillamok Rock Lighthouse is closed to the public, but you can still look at it from a distance and learn about its unique and interesting history.
The lighthouse was built to guide ships through the treacherous Columbia River Bar which is now not used to shipping traffic but was necessary at the time for commerce into Tillamook.
This piece of local lore passed out of county hands and into private ownership and was used for a short time as a burial location!
This colorful lighthouse is near the famous Tillamook Creamery and the town of Tillamook itself.
You can enjoy all kinds of local activities in this coastal town on your way to take a look at Terrible Tilly.
Cape Meares Lighthouse
If you have not had your fill of lighthouses in the Tillamook area, you should stop by the very unusual Cap Meares lighthouse before leaving town.
This short lighthouse stands at only 38 feet tall, but it is perched on a steep cliff and you can see the light from this lighthouse 21 miles away at sea!
This delightfully old-fashioned-looking lighthouse is whitewashed and is noticeable inside the parkland surrounding it.
The location of is beautiful and the views are stunning.
Come here to see the lighthouse but you will also be rewarded for your walk up the hill with stunning ocean views.
This lighthouse is a treat because it is one of the only lighthouses in Oregon where you can still walk around the lens.
The added benefit of this small lighthouse is that the walk-up to see the lens is very easy when compared to taller lighthouses that have many steps to get to the top.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
This is the tallest lighthouse on the Oregon coast, coming in at 93 feet tall
It is also one of the most picturesque of the group with its white-washed exterior and beautiful grounds.
It can get very windy on the bluff where the lighthouse is located, so bring some warm clothing when you visit.
Even in summer, it can be quite chilly near the lighthouse.
This lighthouse has been in service since 1873 and you can learn all about life as a lighthouse keeper when you visit.
There are many plaques and signs describing a day in the life of a keeper at this lighthouse and there are sometimes local guides who will be willing to give you some added information about this major landmark for the Newport area.
If you have good timing and the tower is not being maintained, one of these guides will walk you up to the top of the tower so that you can see the lens.
After your chilly afternoon at the lighthouse, head down into Newport and warm up at Georgie’s or have some famous clam chowder at Mo’s.
Yaquina Bay Lighthouse
Once you have had your lunch, you can head over to the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse.
This lighthouse was built in 1871 and was only active for three years.
It was not nearly as effective as Yaquina Head, and once the bar was built to help ships coming into the bay, it was not needed.
The lighthouse was then transitioned to use as the United States Army Corps of Engineers’ living quarters.
The lighthouse was used in this capacity for many years and has only recently been listed on the historic register and begun to be used for tours.
The tours are self-guided and are well worth the short amount of time that it takes to visit and learn about this unique lighthouse.
The small hill that the lighthouse is located on overlooks the bay and you can see fishing vessels and other watercraft going in and out of the bay when you are in the lighthouse.
During some parts of the year, there will be historic sailing ships in Newport Harbor and they make an elegant sight with their masts reaching to the sky.
Heceta Head Lighthouse
The Heceta Head Lighthouse is named for its location which is, naturally, Heceta Head.
This is one of the prettiest lighthouses on the Oregon Coast and many people who have not visited Oregon have seen this lighthouse in photos that have been taken by professional photographers.
The lighthouse is 56 feet tall and can be seen for 21 miles.
This lighthouse has the strongest light of any of the lighthouses on the Oregon Coast and the location has been turned into a B&B in recent years.
You will not be able to see the lens of this lighthouse, but the location is well worth a visit for the dramatic views off the bluff and to see the park that the lighthouse is attached to.
You do not have to stay at the B&B to see the lighthouse and there are tours many days of the week for a few hours.
You can also walk to Hobbit Beach which is quite stunning. This is a gorgeous location that is well worth the visit.
Umpqua River Lighthouse
The Umpqua River Lighthouse is one of the few lighthouses in Oregon that will allow you to climb to the top and look at the lens.
This lighthouse is 65 feet high and at each of the landings inside the lighthouse, there are plaques with information about the lighthouse’s past.
This lighthouse has the unique distinction of being operational today and the old-style bulbs have been switched to LED lights.
The Umpqua River Lighthouse was moved to its current location after it was built on the beach of the Umpqua river in 1857.
Overlooking Winchester Bay, this lighthouse looks much like Yaquina Head’s lighthouse.
You can take a tour of the lighthouse and then take some time to visit Reedsport, which is one of the original Oregon coastal towns.
There are many things to do in this area from kayaking and hiking to ATV riding.
Cape Arago Lighthouse
This beautiful and unique lighthouse just outside of Coos Bay is distinctive for its loud foghorn as well as its house-like appearance.
The lighthouse is perched on a bluff on Chief’s Island off Gregory Point and is 44 feet above sea level.
While you cannot go see the lighthouse itself due to its location, you can get an excellent view of it from Shore Acres State Park at Yoakum Point.
Sunset Bay State Park nearby offers up gorgeous hiking as well and you can camp in the park if you want to enjoy the area for more than a day.
Coos Bay is one of the oldest coastal towns in Oregon and it offers up lots of historic charm as well as access to many kinds of fun activities and museums.
You can learn about the shipping trade that used to fund much of the area as well as the mill town phase of the city.
This is a historical and exciting place for a road trip in Oregon–the Cape Arago Lighthouse is just the beginning.
Cape Blanco Lighthouse
This lighthouse is not only beautiful and located in a scenic place, but it is also famous for having the first woman keeper to care for it.
The lighthouse sits above the sea at 256 feet in the air and it is the oldest continually operating lighthouse in the state.
The Cape Blanco Lighthouse was placed in 1870 to warn ships away from the reefs of Cape Blanco.
There are tours available from 10-3:30 April through October and you can whale watch off the bluffs near the lighthouse.
There is also camping at Cape Blanco State Park if you want to enjoy the wilderness in the area as well as the beautiful view of the sea.
This is the westernmost lighthouse in Oregon, but you are still close to Port Orford where you can get fresh-caught fish from the local fishermen, check out local art and small gift shops, and enjoy delicious food.
Coquille River Lighthouse
This lighthouse was first put into use in 1895 and was built to protect ships from running aground at Bullards Beach State Park.
The bar was quite dangerous here, and the lighthouse was a big help in preventing the loss of valuable shipping vessels coming in to deliver goods.
This lighthouse also has a foghorn and you can take tours of the historic lighthouse from May to October during the middle of the day.
Bullards Beach State Park is nearby and this is a great location that you can enjoy with the whole family.
You can even ride horses along the beach here or enjoy the dunes and camp on the far side of the park.
Head into town to see the Coquille Valley Museum or visit the charming Sawdust Theatre if you are visiting in the summer.
This is a charming town that has been a big part of the maritime history of the state.
For those who are interested in the history of Native Americans in the area, this history is discussed at many of the historic locations in town.
Pelican Bay Lighthouse
Pelican Bay Lighthouse is the newest lighthouse on the Oregon Coast and it can be seen 12 miles away at sea.
It is 141 feet above the ocean and was built in 1999.
This lighthouse is privately owned as well, but it is so beautiful that it is worth a visit just to see it from the outside.
This is a great location as well since Sporthaven Beach is close by. You can often see surfers here at this beach and it is a great walking beach as well.
You can camp near the beach if you want, or head into Brookings and enjoy what this large city has to offer you.
Brookings almost feels like Bend or another central Oregon city but has all the benefits of the coast as well.
This is a charming area that is full of history and fun things to do.
Cleft of the Rock Lighthouse
This is a privately owned lighthouse, which means that you will not be able to visit it directly.
This island is located on the south shore of Vancouver Island and the lighthouse sits right at the base of Cape Perpetua.
The lighthouse was passed into private hands and was remodeled to look like the former Fiddle Reef Lighthouse in British Columbia.
You can see the lighthouse from Amanda’s Trail or from the ocean itself.
Visiting lighthouses is one of the coolest additions to an Oregon coast road trip.
The long history of many of the lighthouses in the state is fascinating and you can learn so much about the origination of the industries which created the nearby towns when you visit most of the lighthouses on this list.
There is no shortage of beauty in the parkland around the lighthouses either.
Visiting the many lighthouses in Oregon is a wonderful way to continue exploring the Beaver State!