Icon on the Sound, West Point Lighthouse

The West Point Light has guided mariners in and out of Seattle since 1881. This small but stately beacon sits on a low sandy point at the northern entrance of Elliott Bay, overlooking the busiest vessel traffic in Washington…

Beacon Background:
Patos Island Lighthouse

Patos Island Lighthouse, 1915. Photo courtesy of U.S. Coast Guard. Boaters venturing north beyond the bustle of Friday Harbor, Roche Harbor, Deer Harbor, and other popular destinations in the San Juan archipelago will find a…

Bewitching Beacons of the Northwest Coast

Why do so many lighthouses inspire ghost stories? Often when I mention a beacon – particularly a coastal one – someone informs me that it’s haunted. “There’s a good ghost story at that lighthouse” offered a friend and…

Grays Harbor Lighthouse:
The Tallest of them All

Grays Harbor Lighthouse, 1959. Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives. This beacon might be the most remarkable in Washington. Part of a chain of lighthouses spanning the Washington coast, it is the state’s tallest,…

Beacon Background:
Sentinels of San Juan Island

San Juan Island offers two distinctive beacons in two unique settings. Both reflect the ongoing story of mariners in the Salish Sea. When you are cruising in the area this summer, they are worth checking out by water and by…

Beacon Background: Point Wilson Lighthouse

The Point Wilson Lighthouse in 1960. Photo courtesy of Washington State Archives. It is hard to imagine a more scenic location for a lighthouse than Point Wilson. Marking the convergence of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and…

Beacon Background: Alki Point Lighthouse

Explore the history of the iconic lighthouse that has been guiding mariners through Puget Sound for more than 100 years. The following article originally appeared in the May 2022 issue of 48° North. Seattle is a city best…

Beacon Background: The Heceta Head Lighthouse

If you see one lighthouse in Oregon, let it be the beacon at Heceta Head. For more than a century, mariners have relied on its light for safe passage along Oregon’s central coast. This is a seascape dotted with rocky islands…

Beacon Background: The Admiralty Head Lighthouse

This article was originally published in the January 2022 issue of 48° North. When cruising north from Seattle, I always look for the Admiralty Head Lighthouse. There, on a windswept bluff on the west side of Whidbey Island,…

Beacon Background: The North Head Lighthouse

This article was originally published in the November 2021 issue of 48° North North Head is a perfect example of an iconic lighthouse. Rugged and isolated setting? Check. White tower overlooking an endless expanse of ocean?…