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Don your best seaman’s cap and head to the most incredible lighthouse hotels in the U.S.

For ocean lovers and salty maritime souls, it hardly gets better than a stay at a genuine lighthouse hotel

View from the water of Maine's Portland Head Lighthouse at sunset.
Michael Denning / Unsplash

A proper digital detox is good for the soul, whether for an hour, a day, or a week. But sometimes, you want solitude and soul-searching without getting too far away. Whether you just love nautical-themed vacations, you like seabirds more than people, or you fancy yourself a salty maritime soul, you’ll love an escape to the best lighthouse hotels in the U.S.

Sitka Lighthouse hotel in Sitka, Alaska.
Sitka Lighthouse

Sitka Lighthouse

Sitka, Alaska

New England may garner all the fame when it comes to picturesque lighthouses, but it’s not the only area of the country with a rich maritime history. Sitka — a tiny town in Southeastern Alaska best known as the launch pad for Alaska cruises — has one of the most charming lighthouses in the U.S. This ultra-private “hotel” sits on a 1-acre island, and overnight guests have exclusive access to it all. The 50-year-old lighthouse got a refresh in 2018. So, while it maintains much of its original charm, it’s a thoroughly modern affair inside, complete with a living room, dining room, full kitchen, and an outdoor tub. There’s even satellite TV (not that you’ll need it).

A wide aerial view of Heceta Lighthouse hotel in Yachats, Oregon.
Heceta Lighthouse

Heceta Lighthouse

Yachats, Oregon

Like so many U.S. lighthouses, Heceta Head Lighthouse claims to be the most photographed in the country. Whether that’s true or not, it’s undoubtedly one of the most historical and beautiful (and perhaps haunted) on the West Coast. Situated on a dramatic bluff in Oregon, the cozy, six-bedroom bed-and-breakfast boasts an original, hand-carved wooden staircase, Victorian-era detailing, and a communal parlor with stunning Pacific Ocean views. The best part is that executive chef-owner Michelle Korgan treats every guest to a gourmet seven-course breakfast each morning. As a bonus, Sea Lion Caves — the largest sea cave in the country — is only minutes away by car.

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The lighthouse and inn keeper's house at Little River Lighthouse in Rockland, Maine.
Little River Lighthouse

Little River Lighthouse

Rockland, Maine

Few places in the world boast the variety and history of lighthouses like coastal Maine. Situated in Rockland, overlooking the dramatic bay of Fundy, lies Little River Lighthouse. This section of the Pine Tree State is a small, quaint slice of New England, and overnight guests have the entire place to themselves to relax and meander along the Atlantic coastline. Time slows way down here. Eagle-watching by day and stargazing by night with your significant other are about the most exhilarating things to do at this lighthouse hotel (and that’s a good thing). Fun fact: This is the most northeastern island light station in the U.S., in case you’re the sort of traveler who likes keeping track of such things.

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Saugerties Lighthouse Hotel as seen from the water in Saugerties, New York.
Saugerties Lighthouse

Saugerties Lighthouse

Saugerties, New York

If you like your lighthouses like you like your camping — pared-down and remote — Saugerties Lighthouse is a perfect fit. Guests park near a Coast Guard station before hiking a half-mile to this beautifully restored, two-bedroom lighthouse overlooking the Hudson River. While the interior is charming, there are no cashmere linens or fancy lobster bakes here. Instead, this is a decidedly rustic affair where guests make their own beds and share a composting toilet. But, it’s what’s outside that’s the real draw: Lovely decks for picnicking and a nearby beach that you’ll likely have all to yourself. Plus, the top of the lantern house offers expansive views of the Clermont Estate.

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An aerial view of North Carolina's Frying Pan Tower at sunrise.
Frying Pan Tower

Frying Pan Tower

Frying Pan Shoals, North Carolina

Frying Pan Tower isn’t the most traditionally beautiful lighthouse on this list, but it’s certainly the most interesting. The 50-year-old surplus Coast Guard Light Station is situated 34 miles off the coast of North Carolina, meaning it’s only accessible by boat or helicopter. It’s a hulking steel structure purpose-built to withstand the punishing weather of the East Coast’s notorious “Hurricane Alley.” For the few bed-and-breakfast guests adventurous enough to journey here, the accommodations are best described as “functional.” The decor is minimal, but you’ll find all the essentials, including hot and cold running water, electricity, and even high-speed internet. Most visitors come for the panoramic ocean views from the 130-foot light tower, the world-class stargazing, and the incredible year-round fishing for everything from black sea bass and cobia to mahi-mahi and giant African pompano.

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For other one-of-a-kind hotel options, check out this hotel in Denmark that used to be a crane.

Editors' Recommendations

Mike Richard
Mike Richard has traveled the world since 2008. He's kayaked in Antarctica, tracked endangered African wild dogs in South…
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