Photo tour: America's historic lighthouses

America’s coasts are lined with historic lighthouses, but did you know these preserved towers were once more than vacation stops? Their lights once drew weary sailors to safe harbors, marking the end of long voyages across the open sea.

Great efforts have since been made to preserve and restore America’s lighthouses. Along the East Coast, you’re most likely to see these towers in New England, where many of America’s first lighthouses still stand. Built in 1716, the Boston Light in Massachusetts holds the title of America’s oldest lighthouse; further south, North Carolina is home to Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, a 208-foot tower that’s also the tallest in the country. Meanwhile, the West Coast is home to some of America’s most picturesque lighthouses: Heceta Head Lighthouse in Oregon and Pigeon Point Lighthouse on the California coast are arguably some of the country’s prettiest.

But don’t take our word for it. Decide for yourself with this photo tour of America’s historic lighthouses.

Nuddle Lighthouse, Cape Neddick, Maine (Image: pshutterbug)

Nuddle Lighthouse, Cape Neddick, Maine (Image: pshutterbug)

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina (Image: betancourt)

Cape Hatteras Lighthouse, Cape Hatteras National Seashore, North Carolina (Image: betancourt)

New Haven Lighthouse, Lighthouse Point Park, Connecticut (Image: versageek used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

New Haven Lighthouse, Lighthouse Point Park, Connecticut (Image: versageek used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

Marblehead Lighthouse, Marblehead Lighthouse State Park, Ohio (Image: kevinmarsh)

Marblehead Lighthouse, Marblehead Lighthouse State Park, Ohio (Image: kevinmarsh)

Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, Baltimore, Maryland (Image: Dave Lindblom)

Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse, Baltimore, Maryland (Image: Dave Lindblom)

Cana Island Lighthouse, Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin (Image: cwwycoff1)

Cana Island Lighthouse, Baileys Harbor, Wisconsin (Image: cwwycoff1)

Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth, Maine (Image: Paul Lowry)

Portland Head Light, Cape Elizabeth, Maine (Image: Paul Lowry)

Split Rock Lighthouse, Two Harbors, Minnesota (Image: pmarkham used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

Split Rock Lighthouse, Two Harbors, Minnesota (Image: pmarkham used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

Cockspur Lighthouse, Chatham County, Georgia (Image: Bruce Tuten)

Cockspur Lighthouse, Chatham County, Georgia (Image: Bruce Tuten)

Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Pescadero, California (Image: Curtis Fry)

Pigeon Point Lighthouse, Pescadero, California (Image: Curtis Fry)

Castle Hill Light, Newport, Rhode Island (Image: Ken Zirkel)

Castle Hill Light, Newport, Rhode Island (Image: Ken Zirkel)

North Head Lighthouse, Ilwaco, Washington (Image: Xan Fulton used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

North Head Lighthouse, Ilwaco, Washington (Image: Xan Fulton used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)

(Main image: versageek used under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license)