Historic Lighthouses on the Oregon Coast

April 10, 2010 (Updated August 4, 2021)

There are 11 historic lighthouses that dot the edge of the Oregon Coast, from Cannon Beach to Port Orford. A visual representation of the region’s history, each has a unique story to tell.

Their beams still shine today down the 360-mile stretch of coastline, now with halogen bulbs rather than kerosene lamps. Here we give you a glimpse of these iconic beacons, but to really see their splendor hop on the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway (Hwy. 101) and visit the towns, communities and rocky bluffs surrounding these historic structures.

The film A History of Aiding Maritime Navigation tells the story of Oregon’s lighthouses.


Located a mile off shore, and best viewed from Ecola State Park, Tillamook Rock Lighthouse was first lit in 1881 after two years of construction in stormy and precarious conditions. The lighthouse was shutdown in 1957 and today it’s a privately-owned columbarium at sea. Photo: Suart Isett

There are breathtaking views from the 1890 Cape Meares Lighthouse, which was once the setting for local weddings, births and even a funeral. Today the historic spot is home to a wildlife refuge. Photo: Rolf Hicker Photography / Alamy

The tallest and most frequently visited lighthouse on the coast, Yaquina Head also boasts tide pools to explore, an interpretive center and flocks of nesting sea birds during the summer months. Photo: Greg Vaughn

Yaquina Bay is the only Oregon lighthouse built entirely from wood. Constructed in 1871 and decommissioned just three years later, it also has the shortest working history of any lighthouse on the coast. Photo: William Britten / iStock

Heceta Head’s postcard-worthy placement—hovering high above rocky cliffs—makes this the most photographed lighthouse on the coast. Visitors also like to spend the night at the charming B&B located in the former lighthouse keeper’s abode. Photo: Dennis Frates

The shining beacon of the Umpqua River is truly one of a kind. Its revolving octagonal red-and-white First Order lens is only the second lens put in use at this lighthouse since its construction in 1857. Photo: John Bowman / iStock

Located just south of Coos Bay, the current lighthouse is Cape Arago’s third one to stand here—its predecessors having fallen to weather and erosion. It’s best seen from Sunset Bay State Park. Photo: Sal Maimone / SuperStock

Constructed in 1896, Coquille River was the guiding light in Bandon for over 40 years until it was replaced with an automated beacon in 1939. Today the restored building has a solar-powered light and is part of Bullards Beach State Park. Photo: Bill Gozansky / Alamy

Visitors of Cape Blanco can ascend the spiral staircase of Oregon’s first lighthouse, explore its restored lantern room and admire the view from 256 feet above the sea. Photo: Chuck Pefley / Alamy

About The
Author