Oregon and Northern California Coast Coupon Travel Guide

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Let Your Shore Lights Shine.

Visiting Oregon And Northern California Lighthouses.

Picturesque settings are just one reasons people are drawn to lighthouses. The walls of of these structures are practically oozing with tales of danger, bravery, hardship, and loneliness from long ago. The light-keepers faithfully, and often heroically, tending their lamps to keep sailors safe are a part of our history. Like all things old, there is a sense of romance about them too.

Some Preserved And Some Lost In History.

There was a time when Lighthouses were as essential to coastal sea-going commerce. Our list would be longer if all of the lighthouses that once stood on our stretch of shoreline had survived into modern times. Some were victims of fire or natural disaster, some were victims of time and decayed into rubble. Some were replaced or torn down - barely leaving a trace where they once proudly stood. One, St George Reef Light, a few miles off shore near Crescent City, was deemed too dangerous and abandoned (though it still stands solid as a rock) and inaccessible. Tillamook Rock Lighthouse is similarly perched on an hard-to-get-to rock offshore and since decommissioning has ben converted to the Eternity at Sea Columbarium. And, Cape Arago Lighthouse, near Coos Bay, has been ceded back to the Confederated Tribes and its access bridge demolished. Such places we will leave for your own, online, historical investigations. Unfortunately, you won't be able to visit them - only view (and perhaps photograph) them from afar.

Oregon And Northern California Lighthouses You Can Visit And Explore.

Here is our list (from north to south) of all the lighthouses that you can actually visit along the way. Many of them are still under public ownership and open to visits and tours. Some are in private hands...and hours of availability may vary. As always, we suggest calling ahead to verify access conditions. Still others may be part of a larger museum or exhibit (so there might be fees involved). Where we can, we will try to provide internet links that can provide more specific and in-depth historical detail and visitation schedules.

Oregon Lighthouses


Columbia Lightship WLV 604 - Astoria, OR

Columbia Lightship WLV 604 - Astoria, OR

Perhaps the most unusual lighthouse on the whole coast - because it's not a house but a ship. Once the mighty Columbia river posed many different and specific real dangers for ships trafficking its great mouth. Starting in 1892 the clever solution was to post a "floating lighthouse" five miles out in the Pacific near the river's mouth. Lightship WLV 604 was the last lightship to mark the Columbia River. The lightship served not only as a navigational aid, but as a reference point for ships sailing up the Columbia River. The 604 became part of the Columbia River Maritime Museum in Astoria. replacing the No. 88 which had previously been displayed at the museum. Ironically, the LNB that replaced the 604 was itself eventually retired. Today it sits alongside the 604 at the museum dock.


Tillamook Rock Lighthouse - 5 miles north of Cannon Beach, OR

Tillamook Rock Lighthouse - 5 Miles North Of Cannon Beach, OR

The northernmost lighthouse on the FunBeachFun coast is Tillamook Rock. Contrary to the rest of the list below, this is one you cannot actually visit - because It can be viewed from from the coastal cities of Seaside, Cannon Beach, as well as from Ecola State Park. "Terrible Tilly" is of particular interest because of it's difficult-to-reach location - which made it a famously expensive and dangerous place to build a lighthouse. Lives were lost surveying the site, and more during construction, and even more when it was manned. Officially lit on January 21, 1881, it was the most expensive West Coast lighthouse ever built. Due to the erratic weather conditions, and the dangerous commute for both keepers and suppliers it was decommissioned in 1957, and has since been sold to private owners. It is now an unofficial, privately-owned, columbarium. From various locations on Tillamook Head in Ecola State Park it presents a picturesque view and makes a great photo subject (with a telephoto lens) and an especially dramatic one during very stormy weather as waves crash over the rock.


Columbia Lightship WLV 604 - Astoria, OR

Cape Meares Lighthouse - 10 Miles West Of Tillamook, OR

Cape Meares Lighthouse is open daily April through October from 11 am to 4 pm. A wide, asphalt trail that is wheelchair accessible, provides easy access to the lighthouse. However, please be advised the steepness of the path makes the walk back to the parking lot seem twice as long for the person pushing the wheelchair. Admittance to Cape Meares Lighthouse is free. An Interpretive Gift Shop is located in the previous work room of the lighthouse and features items related to lighthouses, the sea, wildlife, wild flowers and souvenirs to remember your visit to Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint. Donations and proceeds from the Interpretive Shop are used to enhance the park.


Yaquina Head Lighthouse - North of Newport, OR

Yaquina Head Lighthouse - North Of Newport, OR

Oregon's tallest (and some would say most photogenic and iconic) lighthouse at 93 feet tall is located North of Newport, on the Central Oregon Coast overlooking the Pacific Ocean at Yaquina Head. Built in 1872 with over 370,000 bricks. A 1000 watt globe has replaced the original oil wicks, and it now generates over 130,000 candlepower. The lighthouse is open daily. There are private tours available by calling the Bureau of Land Management at 541-574-3100, Monday - Friday. Fees are based per car, includes a three day pass. Call for Annual passes. The Interpretive Store and the Interpretive Center are open daily as well.


Yaquina Bay Lighthouse - Newport, OR

Yaquina Bay Lighthouse - Newport, OR

Located in a state park at the north end of the Yaquina Bay Bridge just a few miles south of the taller tower of Yaquina Head. Yaquina Bay is listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and this lighthouse is believed to be the oldest remaining structure in Newport. The Yaquina Bay Lighthouse was completed 1871 and stayed open for only 3 years. After along time of neglect, it has been restored beautifully and in 1996 the light was reactivated. (The original Fifth Order lens has been long gone.) In the basement area is a great gift shop.


Heceta Head Lighthouse - 12 Miles north of Florence, OR

Heceta Head Lighthouse - 12 Miles North Of Florence, OR

Located on the central Oregon coast, the area was named after Captain Don Bruno de Heceta of the Spanish Royal Navy, an explorer whose expedition passed along the coast of Oregon around 1775. After nearly two years and cost of $180,000, construction of this lighthouse was completed in 1894. Bricks and cement from San Francisco, stone from the Clackamas River, and wood from Oregon mills were shipped to this site, 205 feet above sea level. In order to create a flat table on this rocky cliff, it took over 1,000 barrels of blasting powder. tables fantastic views the ocean. A nice trail leads to the lighthouse and the lighthouse keeper's house. A view of the coast north to Cape Perpetua can be seen as well. Fee based for daily use or for annual permit for access to all state park day use areas.


Umpqua River Lighthouse - Winchester Bay, OR

Umpqua River Lighthouse - Winchester Bay, OR

Umpqua River Lighthouse is located in Douglas County on the Southern Oregon coast. Construction began in 1856, local Indians, who for centuries had used the area as a prime hunting and fishing ground were none too pleased to watch the progress. On October 10, 1857, Keeper Fayette Crosby lit the third-order Fresnel lens, the first light along the Oregon Coast. Winter storms brought swollen river banks and crashing seas. The lighthouse, built on sand, was constantly battered. Later, the tower came crashing down. 1888 saw the construction of the second Umpqua River lighthouse further inland on a headland above the mouth of the river. The new lighthouse is a 65-foot tower which stands 165 feet above sea level. The tower, brick overlaid with cement plaster, is 5 feet thick at the base and tapers to 21 inches thick at the parapet. Today the Fresnel light is still shining. The lighthouse is part of the Umpqua River State Park and is managed by Douglas County Parks, who host a museum in one of the former Coast Guard buildings and conduct tours of the tower during the summer months.


Coquille River Lighthouse - North of Bandon, OR

Coquille River Lighthouse - Bandon, OR

Umpqua River Lighthouse is located in Douglas County on the Southern Oregon coast. Construction began in 1856, local Indians, who for centuries had used the area as a prime hunting and fishing ground were none too pleased to watch the progress. On October 10, 1857, Keeper Fayette Crosby lit the third-order Fresnel lens, the first light along the Oregon Coast. Winter storms brought swollen river banks and crashing seas. The lighthouse, built on sand, was constantly battered. Later, the tower came crashing down. 1888 saw the construction of the second Umpqua River lighthouse further inland on a headland above the mouth of the river. The new lighthouse is a 65-foot tower which stands 165 feet above sea level. The tower, brick overlaid with cement plaster, is 5 feet thick at the base and tapers to 21 inches thick at the parapet. Today the Fresnel light is still shining. The lighthouse is part of the Umpqua River State Park and is managed by Douglas County Parks, who host a museum in one of the former Coast Guard buildings and conduct tours of the tower during the summer months.


Cape Blanco Lighthouse - Port Orford, OR

Cape Blanco Lighthouse - Port Orford, OR

Cape Blanco Lighthouse is located near Port Orford, on the Southern Oregon coast in Curry County. Since the lighthouse was far from any harbor, its primary function was to warn ships away from the reefs, which extended away from the cape, and to provide a position fix for navigators. In 1980, the lighthouse was automated. Twelve years later, two local teenagers broke into the lighthouse and with a sledgehammer smashed one of the lens' bullseyes and six smaller prisms. In 1996, the station was once again opened to visitors. The two keepers' dwellings, oil house, water tower, and other utility buildings are all long gone, but the tower, the centerpiece of the station, remains, and visitors are allowed to ascend the spiral staircase to the lantern room, where the repaired lens can be viewed.

Northern California Lighthouses...


Battery Point Lighthouse - Crescent City, CA

Battery Point Lighthouse - Crescent City, CA

In 1855, $15,000 was appropriated to build a light to mark Battery Point, so named for the three cannon salvaged from a shipwreck and placed at the point. The point is an island at high tide. A 45-foot tower and dwelling house a fourth-order Fresnel lens, which was visible for fourteen miles. Visits to the Battery Point Lighthouse and Island are only possible at low tides. Extreme care and caution should be used when crossing the two hundred feet between the mainland and island anytime wave action may cover the crossing area. The Lighthouse is open April through September, tides permitting, between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM, Wednesday through Sunday. The Lighthouse, Museum and Battery Point Island’s care are entrusted to the Del Norte County Historical Society. Admission is free to Society Members.


Trinidad Head Lighthouse - Trinidad, CA

Trinidad Head Lighthouse - Trinidad, CA

In the 1850's, Trinidad Bay served as a starting point for those seeking fortune in the California gold fields. By the 1870's, Trinidad served to transport lumber from the town's sawmills. In 1871, a lighthouse was built on a bluff overlooking the bay. The 25-foot brick tower housed a fourth-order Fresnel lens, first lit on December 1, 1871. The light's focal plane was 196 feet above sea level. A fog signal was established in 1898, and a second dwelling added. The fog signal was a 4000-pound bell mounted on a platform below the light tower. At one point the bell was so loud that its vibrations shook apart the ringing mechanism, and the machinery plunged into the sea! The Trinidad Head Lighthouse is still active, with a drum-type Fresnel lens in the tower and a backup modern beacon mounted outside the lantern room. A pair of fog signals are stacked next to the fog bell house, which is the only remaining bell house in California.


Table Bluff Lighthouse - Eureka, CA

Table Bluff Lighthouse - Eureka, CA

Humboldt Bay is the largest harbor in California north of San Francisco. Table Bluff Lighthouse was actually the second light to mark Humboldt Bay. The first, situated at the north spit of the Bay entrance, was constantly threatened by nature, and replaced in 1892. The second lighthouse, located at Table Bluff had a light that was visible up to 20 miles away thanks to its fourth order lens and the elevation of the bluff. After World War II, the Keeper's residence was torn down, leaving only the tower. The tower was automated in the 1950's, and abandoned altogether in 1975. The deteriorating tower was rescued thanks to a local resident, who organized a group of volunteers to move it to Eureka. The tower was cut in half, transported by truck to Woodley Island, and reassembled. The tower still stands today at the Woodley Island Marina. This may not be quite the same as visiting the original historic site - which is now managed by the Bureau of Land Management as a nature preserve - but the tower has been preserved. Visitors can experience the marvelous panoramic views afforded by the lofty setting at Table Bluff (separately), but all trace of the station's historic structures are gone.