6 incredible lighthouses you can actually stay in
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Lighthouses are full of lore.
And the fact that they’re almost all located within earshot of pounding surf (or least some sort of lapping water) makes them that much more appealing.
The chance to sleep in a lighthouse often guarantees a return to nature and the simple pleasures — and some of them are so remote they even require a boat to reach, putting some extra joy in the journey.
Read on for a few great lighthouses where you can spend a night or longer, far from the city lights.
1873 Lighthouse, Daufuskie Island, South Carolina
If you like a side of spirits with your lighthouse stay, sign up for a few nights at this reportedly haunted lighthouse on the northern tip of Daufuskie Island, a sleepy place accessed by a quick boat ride from Hilton Head, South Carolina.
Inside the upscale Haig Point community, the 1873 Lighthouse on Daufuskie Island was in use between 1873 and the 1930s to aid mariners navigating Calibogue Sound’s dangerous shoals. And it’s reported to be haunted by the first lighthouse keeper’s daughter — a friendly ghost named Maggie who suffered a broken heart due to a lost love.
Luckily, the lighthouse is plenty romantic, and not in sad way. You’ll sleep in a two-bedroom house at the 40-foot tower’s base with a cozy fireplace, clawfoot tub and rocking chair-lined porch with water views where you might see passing dolphins. The lighthouse sleeps up to four people and is available for exclusive rental only.
HI-Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel, Pescadero, California
When is a hostel not a hostel? How about when it’s been turned into an exclusive vacation rental, as is the case with the HI Pigeon Point Lighthouse Hostel in Pescadero, California, some 50 miles south of San Francisco along scenic Highway 1.
Three vacation units at the base of the 116-foot-tall lighthouse are available for rent, and each can sleep up to 15 people. Out the door, there are spectacular coastal trails to hike where you can see harbor seals and stop at secluded beaches for a picnic.
The 115-foot tall lighthouse tower was built in 1872 to guide ships through the precarious tides along this stretch of the California coastline. And while the original lens has been replaced by am exterior electronic system now, the lighthouse still serves as important navigational marker.
Le Phare de l’île Verte, Quebec, Canada
Shining a light for navigators along Quebec’s St. Lawrence River for more than 200 years, Le Phare de l’île Verte , a designated National Historic Site of Canada, is only open for stays from mid-June to mid-September. And it’s well worth reserving in advance to stay on an island in the St. Lawrence River within one of the two keeper’s houses at its base, each with four guest rooms and originally home to the lighthouse keeper and assistant.
The scenery is very Scandinavian, between the red and white houses and lighthouse and the austere rocky surrounds lapped by steel gray waters. Simple beauty surrounded by nature. What more could you want?
Saugerties Lighthouse, Saugerties, New York
With just two guest rooms available only four nights a week, it’s no easy feat to score a room at the storied Saugerties Lighthouse on the Hudson River.
Built in 1869, the lighthouse sits at the tip of a point jutting into the river just north of the town of Saugerties and is surrounded by water on nearly all sides. Autumn brings a rush of amber and crimson foliage all around, while winter might see you watching ice floes floating down the river from your room.
Stays here are rustic. It’s a half-mile hike in from the parking lot along a trail to reach the lighthouse. And while breakfast, prepared by the keeper, is included, you’ll need to carry in the rest of your food.
Guests share a bathroom with a clawfoot tub and the toilet is the composting variety. The chance to say someplace so transporting, however, is something worth forgoing 400-thread-count linens to experience.
Wings Neck Lighthouse, Pocasset, Massachusetts
Today, it’s a scenic retreat where you can escape the outside world within the three-bedroom keeper’s cottage, connected to the light by a breezeway.
There’s a private rocky beach nearby where you can go shelling, an outdoor shower, adults’ and kids’ bikes to make use of during your stay and ocean views all around.
Little River Lighthouse, Rockland, Maine
Right at the entrance to Cutler Harbor in Downeast Maine, you can spend the night (or longer) at the working Little River Lighthouse, on a 15-acre island carpeted with pines.
You’ll arrive to the island via a short boat shuttle from Cutler’s Harbor then cross a boardwalk over the water to reach the lighthouse.
The 1888 keeper’s house has been fully restored and overlooks the Bay of Fundy, with three cozy bedrooms with wooden floors and beds topped with handmade quilts (for a maximum of six guests).
Be sure to climb to the top of the lighthouse, where you might spot eagles winging in close. And step outside at night for some star gazing into inky skies unmarred by light pollution.
Photo courtesy of Photography by Deb Snelson/Getty Images.
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