Sure, you can photograph lighthouses from afar, but did you know you could actually stay in them, too? Once an experience only reserved for lighthouse keepers, rest assured, you won’t be responsible for guiding ships at sea. These quaint accommodations right in America are merely the perfect setting for a romantic weekend away, a quick girlfriend getaway or even a solo retreat to recharge the batteries.
Maybe it’s the morning fog blanketing the windows. Maybe it’s the unspoiled view of the sea from a warm bed. Perhaps it’s the coziness a protective tower harboring you for a weekend out of town. All you need to do is settle in for a secluded, unforgettable experience.
Lighthouse Suite at Saybrook Point Inn & Spa - Connecticut
Located at the edge of a dock, the Lighthouse Suite at the Saybrook Point Inn & Spa in Old Saybrook exudes warmth and romance. The recently renovated suite features a picture-perfect deck with vistas of the Connecticut shoreline and Long Island Sound, a wooden writing desk for penning your thoughts, and a spacious living room. Travelers will love the suite’s nautical blue theme that include starfish lamps and antique binoculars stylishly spread throughout the space. As if staying in the lighthouse wasn’t enough, it’s also one of the few places in the world from which you can see four other lighthouses in the distance. The main building of the historic hotel is just a five-minute walk away, which offers the convenience of the award-winning restaurant, spa and pool before retreating back to the lighthouse for an intimate night.
Saugerties Lighthouse - New York
A picturesque redbrick lighthouse on the Hudson River, the Saugerties Lighthouse was built in 1869, but fell into disrepair in the mid-20th century. That is, until it landed a spot on the National Register of Historic Places and gained the funds needed for renovation in 1990. Just two hours north of New York City in Saugerties, the landmark beacon now invites visitors for a rustic stay in the bed and breakfast’s two bedrooms, complete with vintage coal stoves, tower windows, quilted bedding, and homey amenities. If the surrounding nature trails and incredible views of the Catskills aren’t enough to keep you occupied, take a drive into the small town of Saugerties for dining and shopping.
The Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse - Maine
The spirit of Maine pulses through every corner of The Inn at Cuckolds Lighthouse in Southport. Only accessible by a private vessel piloted by US Coast Guard-licensed captains, the 124-year-old lighthouse contains two private suites, luxuriously outfitted with marble bathrooms, locally-made mattresses, and Frette bed linens. Every window provides a breathtaking view of the sea, so you won’t miss a single sunrise or sunset, while two innkeepers are on-hand to prepare guests gourmet meals each day. We're talking high tea, Maine lobster bakes and fine wine, while you're left to spot deer, baby seals, osprey, and eagles on the rugged private island.
East Brother Light Station - California
From the fog horn to the 19th-century period furniture, a stay at the East Brother Light Station bed and breakfast gives guests an authentic lighthouse experience. Safely guiding mariners in the San Francisco Bay since 1874, accommodations include four keeper’s quarters in the heritage building. With views of the city skyline as the antique fog horn sounds, a stay here will have guests feeling like they have one foot in the modern era and one foot in history. Tuck into gourmet French toast, gazpacho verde, fresh blueberry pie, and roast chicken with herbs de provence prepared on site and let your mind drift off to sea.
Two Harbors Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast - Minnesota
Dreamy moonlit windows and the sounds of gentle waves lull guests to sleep at Two Harbors Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast, one of the oldest operating lighthouses in Minnesota. The 50-foot brick tower has lit the shores of Lake Superior since 1892 and has invited guests for special stays since 1999. Travelers sleep comfortably in four simple, rustic rooms before indulging in candle-lit Scandinavian breakfasts each morning. The property is actually comprised of six structures—be sure to visit the Assistant Keeper’s building, which features fascinating exhibits on area shipwrecks and tons of historical information on the region.
Rose Island Lighthouse - Rhode Island
Ever dreamt of running away and becoming a lighthouse keeper? You can actually try your hand at this important job at the Rose Island Lighthouse in Newport. The “Keepers for the Week or Night” program starts with a one-hour orientation to teach guests the ins and outs of lighthouse management. Then, you’re on your own, responsible for raising and lowering the flag, managing the wind-powered electricity system, rainwater gathering, keeping tabs on marine weather, and greeting visitors. While it might sound like a lot of work, you’ll still have plenty of time to read, explore the 18.5-acre island and take in views of the sea, but with the added reward of contributing to the beloved landmark. The downstairs museum offers additional accommodations for guests who just want to experience the restored lighthouse, without any of the chores. It’s considered a “soft adventure” trip, so be sure to pack a cooler with enough food and beverages to stay satiated.
Frying Pan Tower - North Carolina
Frying Pan Tower marries ultimate seclusion with adventure. Not for the faint of heart, guests must arrive by helicopter or boat, since the lighthouse is located 32 miles south of Bald Head Island. Built in 1854, the lighthouse now features eight rooms with panoramic ocean views and six hammocks on the helipad. At night, the 130-foot corner light tower offers breathtaking views of the Milky Way—all the more vivid without any light pollution from cities. Fishermen, take note: The lighthouse provides world-class fishing opportunities to test your skills at catching black sea bass, cobia, wahoo, mahi-mahi and other creatures.