Shrouded in fog and booby-trapped by rocks hiding in the shallows, Maine’s Portland Harbor is treacherous. Since 1791, the shining beacon of the Portland Head Light has been warning sailors of this dangerous approach.
The Portland Head Light, a local landmark, is just one of the notable picturesque lighthouses that have guarded America’s coastlines for centuries. A look through these beautiful lighthouse photos—submitted by Travel + Leisure community members—will inspire you to head to America’s coasts.
One T+L community member took a vivid shot of Split Rock Lighthouse on its cliffside ledge 130 feet above Lake Superior’s shores and surrounded by a yellow birch forest. Another captured Ohio’s postcard-worthy Marblehead Lighthouse on Lake Erie with its pure white tower and red trim standing in bright contrast to its natural surroundings.
Many of these lighthouses you see today are cut stone towers, a strategic choice as many of the earliest lighthouses were built from wood and prone to catching fire (the very first was established in Boston in 1716).
The Point Reyes Light House on California’s northern coast is among those retired from active duty, yet it remains open as a museum. Regardless of their function, lighthouses add a beautiful architectural touch to coastal landscapes and bring to mind summers at the beach and America’s long-standing nautical traditions.
See for yourself by checking out these beautiful lighthouse photos.