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    The lighthouses of Oregon: itinerary along the Pacific coast

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    Martí Micolau

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    La costa dell’Oregon it is certainly one of the most evocative in the United States, even if it is not particularly busy with tourist routes. Adding charm to the coasts overlooking the Pacific Ocean are then the inevitable lighthouses that will allow you to take unforgettable souvenir photos.

    A little like the lighthouses of New England, also in this case, it is worth caring out some time along your itinerary of the American coast to be able to visit these picturesque places inserted in a context where nature is still almost untouched. .


    • Cape Meares Lighthouse
    • Yaquina Head Lighthouse
    • Heceta Head Lighthouse
    • Umpqua River Lighthouse
    • Cape Blanco Lighthouse
    • The other lighthouses

    Cape Meares Lighthouse

    First lit in 1890, it was run by families over the years until the Oregon Parks and Recreation Department took over to take care of the now dormant lighthouse area. It is the lowest lighthouse in all of Oregon (only 12 meters high) and perhaps this is what contributes to making it particularly fascinating.

    How to get there: the lighthouse is located inside the Cape Meares State Scenic Viewpoint & National Wildlife Refuge which can be accessed every day of the year from sunrise to sunset. Whether you are coming from the north or south, the fastest way to get to Cape Meares Lighthouse is to take the US-101 to the city of Tillamook. From here you need to take US-131 and go through the cities of Netarts and Oceanside where you will need to take the Cape Meares Loop, until you notice the signs to turn left to enter Cape Meares Lighthouse Drive which will take you to the lighthouse car park.
    How to visit it: the lighthouse is open to the public and admission is free. However, it can only be accessed during the summer period (from May to early September) at the following times:
    • Monday to Thursday from 11 to 16
    • from Friday to Sunday from 11 to 18 (the extended timetable on weekends is valid only in the months of June, July and August)

    In case of bad weather the lighthouse will remain closed, however, I invite you to check the official website in advance in order not to receive any nasty surprises.

    While you're here, don't miss a visit to the well-known Octopus Tree, technically a huge Sitka spruce tree with a particular shape that resembles that of a giant upside down octopus. In addition, from the viewpoints near the car park, do not miss the opportunity to observe the splendid views of the coast and the rock formation of the Three Arch Rocks.

    Three Arch Rocks
    Octopus Tree
    Accomodation: The towns closest to the lighthouse are Cape Mears, Netarts and Oceanside. You can find all the accommodation facilities in the area by clicking on the link below.

    Look for a hotel in the area

    Yaquina Head Lighthouse

    From one of the lower lighthouses you pass to the lighthouse which, with its almost 30 meters high, is known to be the highest of the entire Oregon coast. After being built in Paris, and transported to Oregon, it began its business in 1873 and continues to carry out its maritime signaling work today. It is located north of Newport within the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area which, as you can guess from the name, offers unique views to those who will have the opportunity to visit it.

    How to get there: if you are coming from the south you have to pass Newport along the US-101 and, before entering the small town of Agate Beach, you will have to turn left and take the NW Lighthouse Drive at a crossroads with traffic lights where the direction to the lighthouse is still indicated . From here you can reach the parking lot of the Interpretive Center (a sort of visitor center) and, continuing a little further, also that of the lighthouse itself (note, however, that in this second parking space the parking spaces are reduced). How to visit it: this lighthouse is open to the public but it is possible to visit it only through guided tours with the rangers. Times change according to the time of year:
    • Winter season (November to June): only 16 people per tour. In order to book your seat you must go to the interpretive center from 10 am (opening time) where, day by day, the number of tours is indicated according to the available staff.
    • Summer season (July to September): tours depart every day and you can book more comfortably three months in advance through this website.

    In case of bad weather the tours will not be carried out. Tours last approximately 45 minutes and, in order to access the park, you need to pay a ticket costing $ 7 per vehicle. If you are in possession of the America The Beautiful park card, you will be able to enter for free although the area is not managed by the National Park Service.

    However, I invite you to check the directives of the Bureau of Land Management, which manages the park, for any program changes by consulting this link.

    Little curiosity: this lighthouse was used for the horror film The Ring as a location for the Moesko Island Lighthouse.

    Accomodation: the towns near the lighthouse are Agate Beach and Newport. You can find the hotels in the area by clicking on the link below

    Look for a hotel in the area

    Heceta Head Lighthouse

    One of the lighthouses more popular and photographed on the Oregon coast. Used since 1894 thanks to its architecture, but above all to the environment in which it was built, every year it attracts many tourists in search of the perfect souvenir photo. The lighthouse, now fully automated, is also famous because it is the most "powerful" in the state, its light in fact can be seen more than 30 kilometers from the coast.

    The building that was once the guardian's house is now theHeceta Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast which competes for the primacy of one of the most haunted places in the nation. In fact, legend has it that the painful soul of Rue, the wife of one of the lighthouse keepers, still wanders through the rooms of this house. Her arrival would be anticipated by the manifestation of a strong scent of flowers out of nowhere.

    How to get there: to reach the lighthouse, which is part of the Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic Viewpoint area, coming from the south you will have to take the US-101 passing the city of Florence and, once you have crossed the bridge Cape Creek Bridge, take the stretch of Cape Creek Road on your right that descends towards the coast, where you will find a large parking lot, from which you can walk towards the lighthouse. On the other hand, those coming from the north, before reaching the Cape Creek Bridge, will find a road on their right that will lead to the same parking lot.
    How to visit it: it is possible to visit the Heceta Head Lighthouse at different times depending on the time of year:
    • from June to September: every day from 11 to 17
    • from March to May and for the month of October: from Friday to Monday from 11 to 15
    • November to February: depends on weather conditions

    You can check the official website for any time changes.

    A payment of $ 5 is required when parking the car and you will need to leave the receipt on the dashboard as proof of payment.

    Accomodation: in addition to the aforementioned bed and breakfast, the closest cities to the lighthouse are those of Florence and Heceta Beach, you can check the nearby facilities by clicking on the link below.

    Look for a hotel in the area

    Umpqua River Lighthouse

    This lighthouse is known for giving visitors two reasons to visit it at two different times of the day. During the day you can dedicate yourself to the actual visit of the lighthouse, in the evening instead the protagonists are the ones spectacular plays of light that can be admired. In fact, the Umpqua River Lighthouse emits a particular red and white light that is reflected on the nearby trees and thus manages to create particularly suggestive atmospheres.

    A historical curiosity: this was the first lighthouse along the Oregon coast. Its construction dates back to 1857 but unfortunately a phenomenon of erosion, due to the river that flowed nearby, caused its complete destruction only a few years later in 1861. The lighthouse you see today is the one that was rebuilt in 1894. Unlike all of them the others were located inland and not close to the coast. For this reason, today the Umpqua River Lighthouse no longer has a naval signaling role but only a historical testimony.

    How to get there: Umpqua Lighthouse State Park is located just south of Winchester Bay and, along the usual US-101, before or after the town (depending on your direction), you will find directions to reach the lighthouse which is still very close to the Highway.
    How to visit it: The Umpqua River Lighthouse also has a museum near the lighthouse that is open seasonally from May to October. In this period i tour to the lighthouse they run from 10 to 16 at a cost of $ 3 for adults and $ 2 for children.

    During the low season there are special openings usually on weekends, but I invite you to check the official website to be sure.

     Accomodation: the main accommodations are located in Winchester Bay and Reedsport. You can check availability by clicking on the link below.

    Look for a hotel in the area

    Cape Blanco Lighthouse

    Built in 1870 on a beautiful promontory at the westernmost point of the Oregon coast from which it overlooks the entire surrounding area. Today it is part of Cape Blanco State Park and is one of the best spots in this area for whale watching.

    How to get there: If you are coming from the south on US-101 and approximately 7 kilometers after passing the town of Port Orford, you will need to turn left along Cape Blanco Road until you reach the lighthouse.

    Coming from the north you will have to pass the small cluster of houses of Sixes and, after about 1.5 kilometers, you will find the intersection to take the Cape Blanco Road.

    How to visit it: tours of the lighthouse can be made in the months from April to October every day of the week, with the exception of Tuesdays, from 10 to 15:30.

    Tours cost $ 2 for ages 16 and up, free for those under this age group.

    Accomodation: the Cape Blanco lighthouse is located in a somewhat isolated area. The only towns nearby are Port Orford to the south and Bandon to the north. You can find the main accommodation facilities in the area by clicking on the link below.

    Look for a hotel in the area

    The other lighthouses

    Tillamook Rock Lighthouse

    Of course these that have been reported aren't the only lighthouses along the Oregon coast. Describing them all, however, would have been an almost impossible undertaking, so know that in addition to the five already mentioned, you can find many others. As an example, it is enough to mention the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, not open to visitors, located on a small island off Seaside; as well as the lighthouse of Cape Arago built off Gregory Point, also not open to the public. One of the most peculiar from the construction point of view is certainly Yaquina Bay Lighthouse where the lighthouse is part of the same housing structure.

    Cape Arago Lighthouse
    Yaquina Bay Lighthouse


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