Washington’s Coastal and Island Lighthouses

August 31, 2022 at 9:04 a.m.
Admiralty Head Lighthouse at Fort Casey State Park, photo courtesy Washington State Parks, www.AdventureAwaits.com
Admiralty Head Lighthouse at Fort Casey State Park, photo courtesy Washington State Parks, www.AdventureAwaits.com

If you follow the Washington State Parks blog (adventureawaits.com), you would have received their invitation to picnic at one of the lighthouses found on state park lands: “Why not pack a picnic and take an impromptu trip to a lighthouse at one of eight Washington state parks? Washington enjoys a wild coastline and a rich maritime heritage. The state is home to 21 lighthouses, nearly half of them in and around state parks. So, pick your park or parks, plan a trip and find the lighthouses of your dreams.”

While some lighthouses offer tours during the summer, a visit to these scenic destinations is worthwhile any time of the year. 


Admiralty Head Lighthouse at Fort Casey Historical State Park 

The Italianate Revival architecture of the the Admiralty Head Lighthouse (photo above) makes it one of the most photogenic lighthouses in the state. The area, now now Fort Casey Historical State Park, boasted the first lighthouse in Washington, with the original building completed in 1861. The current lighthouse was built in 1903. The spectacular views and scenic structure make for a popular wedding spot.

Cape Disappointment and North Head Lighthouses at Cape Disappointment State Park 

The Cape Disappointment Lighthouse's facade includes intricate metalwork, photo courtesy Washington State Parks



Cape Disappointment offers visitors two historic lighthouses. As the state park blog informs us: “The southernmost Cape Disappointment Lighthouse is the oldest in Washington, built in 1856, near the confluence of the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River. The tall, elegant North Head Lighthouse came later as a way to make the foreboding cliffs at the mouth of the Columbia more obvious to ships sailing in from the north.”

North Head Lighthouse at Cape Disappointment State Park, courtesy Washington State Parks


Visitors can rent two different lighthouse keepers’ cottages at the park. Check out this short documentary about the North Head Lighthouse.

Grays Harbor Lighthouse 

Grays Harbor Lighthouse is one block from Westport Light State Park


The Grays Harbor Lighthouse sits one block from Westport Light State Park. Rising out of an evergreen thicket, it is tall and narrow and in season offers visitors a climb on a tight spiral staircase. Then walk to the nearby sandy beach to enjoy your day at the ocean.

Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse — Lime Kiln Point State Park 

Lime Kiln Point Lighthouse at sunset; Lime Kiln Point State Park offers outstanding whale watching from the shore, photo courtesy Washington State Parks 


From AdventureAwaits.com
: “Lime Kiln Point lighthouse on San Juan Island offers dramatic sunsets and is considered one of the best land-based whale watching spots on earth, On summer weekends, kayakers share the shoreline with the whales, and crowds throng the bluff. Cheers go up whenever a whale blows or breaches.”

Marrowstone Point Lighthouse 

Located next to Fort Flagler Historical State Park, visitors to the area won’t see a typical lighthouse, but will spot a huddle of red-roofed buildings. Walk the beach to spot the original Marrowstone Point lighthouse, now an empty shell, or the newer (1962) squat building that serves as the current lighthouse.

Patos Island Lighthouse at Marine State Park 

The Patos Island Lighthouse in the San Juan Island chain is the northernmost lighthouse in Washington, accessible only by boat and then foot. Photo courtesy Washington State Parks


You’ll need your own boat or kayak to reach Patos Island,, which rests within the San Juan Island chain, and is home to Washington state’s northernmost lighthouse. Patos Island Lighthouse is set across a forested trail, between meadow grasses and seashore rocks. “The area makes a pleasant picnic and exploration spot,” states the blog. “Send the [grand]kids to find the international boundary marker, as the lighthouse is only a few miles from Canadian waters.”

Point Wilson Lighthouse at Fort Worden Historical State Park 

While the Point Wilson Lighthouse is closed to the public, it presents another great photo op in the ever-popular Fort Worden Historical State Park. Washington State Park’s blog describes the Point Wilson Lighthouse and its environs as primo sightseeing stops on any visit to Port Townsend and the Olympic Peninsula.

Turn Point Light Station at Stuart Island Marine State Park 

Turn Point Lighthouse on Stuart Island, photo courtesy Washington State Parks


Visiting Turn Point Light Station offers a lovely 3-mile hike to the western tip of Suica Island from Prevost and Reid Harbors at Stuart Island Marine State Park. “The hike reveals a small community, forests and pastures, a former one-room schoolhouse, a cemetery and a bluff ominously called Lovers’ Leap,” states the blog.

www.AdventureAwaits.com offers a place for you to share a special memory from a Washington Coast or San Juan Island state park – follow this link: Share your story.

Some other Washington State lighthouses closer to the urban core areas include (from south to north): the lighthouse and cottage at Brown’s Point north of Tacoma, Point Robinson Lighthouse on Vashon Island, the Alki Point Lighthouse in West Seattle, West Point Lighthouse in Seattle’s Discovery Park, and the beautiful Mukilteo Lighthouse

Lighthouse Festival 

The Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival takes place September 9-11. Enjoy the beach, the lighthouse, and art, music, food, a daily salmon bake, parade (Sat at 10:30am) and more. Visit this link for more info: Mukilteo Lighthouse Festival
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