The State of Washington has 24 lighthouses. Ten of them are not opened to the public. The other 14 are. Ruth & I have been to 5 of them. In general, Washington lighthouses are small and typical, not romantic and fog-shrouded. at least when we’ve seen them, like those in mysterious novels. Most recently we visited Gray’s Harbor and the lighthouse with the best name, Point No Point.
Cape Disappointment, the state’s oldest lighthouse, is the 1st Washington lighthouse we saw. Unlike the others, it has a distinctive black stripe around it. In a state park on an exposed promontory across the mouth of the Columbia River from Astoria, Oregon, this location celebrates the first of two winter quarters used by Lewis & Clark when they reached the Pacific Ocean. The on-site museum about them is so interesting that Ruth and I plan to return to it soon.
To go to Admiralty Head Lighthouse, you have to go to Whidbey Island and its best town, Coupeville. This is a great travel idea. Whidbey is the 2nd largest coastal island in the United States and a varied destination. Admiralty Head is, so far, my favorite Washington lighthouse.
To go to Lime Kiln Lighthouse you have to travel to San Jan Island, which is also a great idea but requires a degree of patience because the ferries to it are a challenge. This is different from other lighthouses in Washington because it contains a whale research center and is a very popular whale sighting site.
Grays Harbor is the tallest of the 24. You have to climb 135 metal stairs to reach its 107 feet top. It’s near the town of Westport, which is not near any Interstate or big town. A lease agreement with the Coast Guard has resulted in public tours. It’s best to phone ahead for the schedule of opened times that are, of course, more frequent in the summer.
Point No Point is the oldest light on Puget Sound. It’s small, cute, and in the wonderful setting seen above near the delightful town of Hansville. Only opened in winter via special arrangement, this lighthouse reportedly has nightly lodging available year round. It’s not too far from The Point Casino and Hotel and a ferry to Seattle. Charles Wilkes, the man who named it, gave it that distinctive moniker because up close it doesn’t look like it’s on a high point. It isn’t. The U.S. Lighthouse Society’s national headquarters is in the keeper’s house near it, but it wasn’t opened on the weekend after Thanksgiving.