Lighthouses have been used to protect ships for hundreds of years. From the ancient Pharos of Alexandria lighthouse to the modern day versions that use advanced lens and lighting, civilizations have constructed elaborate towers to keep ships from dangerous currents, rocks, and shallow waters. Many of the lighthouses in our series have been around for decades, some of them centuries. They've been upgraded to the latest technology and some have even been moved due to erosion and climate change. However, despite their age, they continue to keep important shipping lanes safe all year long.
Bass Harbor Head Light
Located in Acadia National Park, the lighthouse was first lit in 1858.
Photo by Kade
Battery Point Light
First lit in 1856, it still remains in operation today.
Photo by Alan Schmierer
Big Sable Point Light
Built in 1867, you can volunteer to live and work at this lighthouse for 2 week periods.
Photo by Michelle Caldwell
Located on Little Brewster Island, it's the second oldest working lighthouse in the U.S.
Photo by adambalsam
Cabo de São Vicente
The southwesternmost point of Portugal and mainland Europe.
Photo by Lexe-I
Cap Spartel Lighthouse
The lighthouse protects ships as the enter the Straight of Gibraltar.
Photo by William John Gauthier
Cape Byron Light
Completed in 1901, it is located on the easternmost point of Australia's mainland.
Photo by Bernard Spragg. NZ
Cape Hatteras Light
North Carolina, USA
Located on Hatteras Island, it protects ships from the shifting sandbars of the Outer Banks.
Photo by scott1346
Cape Neddick Light
Often called Nubble Light, the lighthouse sits 88 feet above the sea below.
Photo by Kevin Gill
Cape Reinga Lighthouse
A popular tourist attraction located on the northern tip of New Zealand.
Photo by Bernard Spragg. NZ
Constructed in the 1830's, it's often referred to as the "Egyptian" lighthouse.
Photo by Tim Dobbelaere
Constructed in 1611, it is the oldest lighthouse in France.
Photo by Gadjo_Niglo
Diamond Head Lighthouse
Operated by the US Coast Guard, the lighthouse was first constructed in 1898.
Photo by karendesuyo
Eldred Rock Light
This octagonal lighthouse stands 56 feet (17 m) tall and was constructed in 1905..
Photo by NOAA Photo Library
Fanad Head Lighthouse
Originally built in 1817, the current lighthouse was first lit in 1866.
Photo by Barry
Galle Lighthouse, built in 1939, is Sri Lanka's oldest light station.
Photo by Francisco Anzola
Green Point Lighthouse
Located on Mouille Point, it's the oldest operational lighthouse in South Africa.
Photo by Regina Hart
Heceta Head Lighthouse
The beam from this lighthouse is visible for 21 nautical miles, the strongest on the Oregon Coast.
Photo by Rennett Stowe
Built in 1903, it remains the tallest lighthouse in South Korea.
Photo by Paul B.
Built in 1990, Jeddah Light is the tallest lighthouse in the world at 133 m (436 ft).
Photo by yasser zareaa
José Ignacio Lighthouse
Built in 1877, this beautiful lighthouse has spectacular views of the surrounding beaches.
Photo by Serge
Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse
This 105-foot (32 m) tall lighthouse sits on top of a natural sand dune protecting it from the ocean.
Photo by Bureau of Land Management
Built in 1849, it remains an active lighthouse on the westernmost point of France.
Photo by Yann Caradec
Built in 1972, this picturesque lighthouse is located near Kovalam beach.
Photo by Kerala Tourism
Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse
Constructed in 1920, this brick lighthouse stands 11 meters (36 feet) tall.
Photo by Mckay Savage
Located on Lake Constance, it's the southernmost lighthouse in Germany.
Photo by Keith Roper
Lindesnes Lighthouse was occupied by the Germans during World War II.
Photo by Achim
The "Jewell of the Port" was put into service in 1917.
Photo by Rona Proudfoot
The lighthouse sits on 9 legs to keep it above the changing tides.
Photo by michael warren
Makapu'u Point Lighthouse
This lighthouse constructed in 1909 has the largest lens of any lighthouse in the United States.
Photo by Pete Markham
Marshall Point Lighthouse
Located at the end of a raised wooden walkway, the lighthouse provides for unique photo opportunities.
Photo by Paul VanDerWerf
Montauk Point Lighthouse
New York, USA
It was the first lighthouse to be built in the state of New York.
Photo by Barbara Ann Spengler
Neist Point Lighthouse
This remote lighthouse. on the Isle of Skye, was first lit back in 1909.
Photo by Luis Ascenso
Peggy's Point Lighthouse
A classic red and white lighthouse that is one of Nova Scotia's busiest attractions.
Photo by Stephen Lester
Perry's Victory Memorial
A 325 foot tall lighthouse and monument to those who fought in the Battle of Lake Erie.
Photo by daveynin
Pigeon Point Lighthouse
At 115 feet (25 m) tall, it is tied with Point Arena Light as the tallest lighthouse on the West Coast.
Photo by Frank Schulenburg
Portland Breakwater Light
This small lighthouse was built in 1855, restored in 1989, and reactivated in 2002.
Photo by Paul VanDerWerf
Portland Head Light
Built in 1791, it is the oldest lighthouse in Maine.
Photo by Ken Lund
Rubjerg Knude Lighthouse
First lit in 1900, it was moved inland in 2019 to prevent it from falling into the North Sea.
Photo by Ansgar Koreng
South Stack Lighthouse
Built on a small island, the lighthouse is open seasonally for visitors to climb to the top.
Photo by Tom Bastin
Split Rock Lighthouse
This beautiful lighthouse was featured in the 2013 film, The Great Gatsby.
Photo by Mike Goad
St Augustine Lighthouse
Located on Anastasia Island, the original lighthouse was the first to be built in Florida.
Photo by traveljunction
St. Mary's Lighthouse
This decommissioned lighthouse sits on a small rocky island, only accessible during low tide.
Photo by WISEBUY21
Tower of Hercules
Constructed around the 2nd century AD, it is the oldest known lighthouse in the world.
Photo by Elentir
West Quoddy Head Lighthouse
This lighthouse is located close to the easternmost point of the contiguous United States.
Photo by J Labrador
Wind Point Light
Built in 1880, it is one of the oldest and tallest lighthouses on the Great Lakes.
Photo by Joseph Gage
Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Constructed in Paris, the lighthouse was shipped to Oregon and first lit in 1873.
Photo by Kirt Edblom