Proven popular year after year

Beautiful Lighthouses Dot The Oregon Coast And Many Are Open To The Public


Oregon Coast LighthousesEver been inside a lighthouse, or been intrigued by the history and the mystery of lighthouses and how they work? Want to see what it would feel like to be inside the steep, narrow stairwell of a haunted lighthouse? You're in luck! The Oregon coast has some of the country's most beautiful lighthouses, and most of them are open to the public and only a day trip away.

Here's a tiny bit of lighthouse history. Lighthouses have been around since the mid 1700's and were first lit using wood fires or coal. With the development of the Argand lamp in the late 1700's, wood and coal eventually gave way to liquid oil fuels—whale and olive oils, allowing a hollow wick to burn longer and much brighter. Looking up a lighthouse stairwell. Not much room. By the late 1800's, kerosene had become the most widely used fuel, soon to be replaced by the electrified era shortly after the turn of the century. This lighthouse stairwell is a true red brick beauty. Electricity and acetylene gas really changed how lighthouses were operated and maintained. These new electric/gas lamps, along with automated lamp changers, greatly lessened the workload of lighthouse keepers. Lighthouse keepers no longer had to prepare lanterns every night, order and store fuel oils, and keep their lanterns burning. As such, the need for live-in lighthouse keepers began to wane. A closeup look at a Fresnel lens. Many modern lighthouses now use aerobeacons or strobe lights for illumination. Along the Oregon coast you will find that many of the lighthouses still use or have kept intact the true heart and allure of an historic lighthouse: the Fresnel lens. Fresnel lenses were first used in 1823 and continue to be widely used today. Fresnel lenses are ranked by their refracting power, with a first order The sun shines onto a Fresnel lens, casting beautiful colors.Fresnel being the largest and most powerful, while a sixth order lens is the smallest and least powerful. Most lighthouses use a first or second order Fresnel lens. Listed below are Oregon's coastal lighthouses and some helpful links and information to get you started on a road trip into the beauty and mystery of our coastal lighthouse history.

Most of Oregon's lighthouses were originally built by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers after being established by the former U.S. Lighthouse Board in the late 1800's.

Today, the U.S. Coast Guard is the official caretakers of both the properties the lighthouses are perched on as well as the lighthouses themselves, and all nine Oregon coast lighthouses have been added to the National Register of Historic Places.

Since most lighthouse are built on prominent headlands or near estuaries, they are excellent areas to view wildlife and make great locations from which to view coastal whale migrations.

More than two and a half million people visit Oregon lighthouses each and every year, with interpretive displays at most sites and regularly scheduled tours conducted at the Umpqua River, Cape Blanco, Coquille River, Yaquina Bay, and Yaquina Head lighthouses.


Port of Brookings Lighthouse (PRIVATE) Port Of Brookings Lighthouse

  • Can be viewed from Brookings Harbor
  • First lit July 4th, 1999
  • Fixed acrylic Fresnel lens
  • Range is 11 nautical miles/12.6 miles


Cape Blanco Lighthouse (Open to Public) Cape Blanco Lighthouse during a bright summer day.

  • Cape Blanco State Park—4 miles north of Port Orford
  • 541-332-2973
  • Cape Blanco Lighthouse Website
  • Guided Tours April thru October—closed Tuesdays; Camping Year-Round
  • First lit December 20th, 1870 Cape Blanco Lighthouse fully lit against a late afternoon sky.
  • Height: 59 feet
  • Second order Fresnel lens
  • Range is 23 nautical miles/26 miles

Perched 256 feet above sea level, Cape Blanco is Oregon's oldest standing lighthouse, once used to aid shipping, the lumber industry and gold mining.


Coquille River Lighthouse (Open to Public) Coquille River Lighthouse sitting on a foggy perch.

  • Bullards Beach State Park—just north of Bandon
  • 541-347-2209
  • Coquille River Lighthouse Website
  • Open Mid-May thru Mid-October
  • First lit February 29, 1896 Coquille River Lighthouse against a bright yellow-orange sunset.
  • Height is 40 feet
  • Solar lens—visible only from Bandon
  • Range is 12 nautical miles/14 miles

Originally built to guide mariners across a dangerous bar on the Coquille River inlet.


Cape Arago Lighthouse (Not Open to Public) Cape Arago Lighthouse

  • Deactivated in 2006
  • Sunset Bay State Park—just south of Coos Bay
  • VERY DIFFICULT TO VIEW, but can be seen from 1/4 mile south of Sunset Bay campground entrance.

Sitting one-hundred feet above sea level, Cape Arago in its current form is the newest lighthouse on the Oregon coast, though earlier structures were built as far back as 1866 and 1906, both of which were destroyed by weather and erosion.


Umpqua River Lighthouse (Open to Public) Umpqua River Lighthouse

  • Umpqua Lighthouse State Park—6 miles south of Reedsport
  • 541-271-4631 or 541-271-4118
  • Umpqua River Lighthouse Website
  • Guided (Paid) Tours May thru October; Museum is Free; Camping Year-Round
  • First lit December 31, 1894 A beautifully lit Umpqua River Lighthouse.
  • Height is 65 feet
  • First order Fresnel lens
  • Range is 21 nautical miles/24 miles

The original lighthouse at this site was destroyed by erosion in 1861. As you travel up the coast and reach Heceta Head lighthouse, your eyes will not be deceiving you, Upqua River and Heceta Head lighthouses are nearly identical, but at night differ by the color of the beacons.


Heceta Head Lighthouse and Bed & Breakfast (Open to Public) Heceta Head Lighthouse is a sight to behold on a clear spring day.

  • Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint—12 miles north of Florence
  • Lighthouse 541-547-3416
  • B & B 866-547-3696
  • Heceta Head Lighthouse Website
  • Heceta Head Lighthouse B & B Website Heceta Head Lighthouse at dusk as its Fresnel lens begins to illuminate the the surrounding cove.
  • Guided Tours May thru October (Weather Permitting); Camping Year-Round (Day-use Fee)
  • First lit March 30th, 1894
  • Height is 56 feet
  • First order Fresnel lens
  • Range is 21 nautical miles/24 miles

Perched 205 feet above sea level on the side of 1,000 foot high Heceta Head, The lighthouse employs the strongest-rated beam on the Oregon coast.

The bed & breakfast occupies the former assistant light keeper's house, which was built in 1893.


Cleft of the Rock Lighthouse (PRIVATE) Cleft Of The Rock Lighthouse

  • Can be viewed from near mile post 166 on Hwy 101—2 miles south of Yachats
  • First lit in 1976
  • Height is 34 feet


Yaquina Bay Lighthouse (Open to Public) Yaquina Bay Lighthouse along the Oregon coast.

  • Decommissioned in 1874
  • Yaquina Bay State Park
  • 541-265-5679
  • Yaquina Bay Lighthouse Website
  • Open Rear Round for Self-Guided Tours Yaquina Bay Lighthouse towering above on a sunny Oregon day.
  • Re-lit on December 7th, 1996
  • Height is 51 feet
  • Range is 6 miles

Yaquina Bay lighthouse sits 161 feet above the sea and was only in use for three years before being replaced by the much brighter Yaquina Head lighthouse.

In 1996 the lighthouse was re-lit for use as a privately maintained guide to navigation.


Yaquina Head Lighthouse (Open to Public) Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Oregon.

  • Exit Hwy 101 at Lighthouse Dr—just south of Newport
  • 541-574-3100
  • Yaquina Head Lighthose Website
  • First lit August 20th, 1873
  • Open for Afternoon Tours Only (Closed Wednesdays); Interpretive Center and Camping Year-Round The sun rising at Yaquina Head Lighthouse along the Oregon coast.
  • First order Fresnel lens
  • Range is 18.5 nautical miles/21.3 miles

Standing 162 feet above the ocean, the Yaquina Head tower is 93 feet high and is the tallest lighthouse structure on the Oregon coast.

The lighthouse is in the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, home to seabird nesting sites, trails to tide pools, and other natural exhibits.


Cape Meares Lighthouse (Open to Public)

  • Deactivated in 1963 Cape Meares Lighthouse
  • Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint—10 miles NW of Tillamook
  • 503-842-3182
  • Cape Meares Lighthouse Website
  • Open April thru October;  Small Gift Shop
  • First lit January 1st, 1890 Beautiful image of the Fresnel lens at Cape Meares Lighthouse as the sun sets over the Pacific Ocean on the Oregon coast.
  • Height is 38 feet
  • First order Fresnel lens
  • Range is 21 nautical miles

Cape Meares lighthouse towers 217 feet above sea level, making it the 2nd highest lighthouse on the Oregon coast, even though its tower is only 38 feet tall, Oregon's shortest.