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Sunday, June 24, 2012

Lighthouse Themed Summer RV Vacation

Do you love lighthouses? I admit, I'm a lighthouse lover. Not only do these long standing historic beauties guard some of our most pristine shores, a lighthouse tour trip is a very alluring theme for a summer RV vacation. Let's explore a few fabulous lighthouse destinations – a great way to enjoy breathtaking countryside and see some amazing sights.

Lighthouses grace our east and west coasts, the Great Lakes, the gulf coast, Alaska, Hawaii – wherever there are rocky coast lines and river mouths. Their bright beams, flashing at intervals forming a “characteristic light” or a pattern that identifies each specific light – warned mariners of dangerous conditions. These romantic sentinels were once lived in, loved and cared for by lightkeepers and their families. Today, lighthouses are automated and maintenance is carried out by members of the Coast Guard’s Aid to Navigation teams. None the less, they make great vacation memories and fantastic photo opportunities.

Lighthouse Lovers Love Maine

Portland Head Light - thanks jimmywayne
The great state of Maine is ideal for your lighthouse-themed RV vacation with an eye-popping 60 silent sentinels to explore. You might begin at the West Quaddy Lighthouse, the red and white striped easternmost light in the US then mosey south on Route 1 toward Acadia National Park visiting the Bass Harbor Light on Mt. Desert Island, further down the road ferry out to Monhegan Island, 11 miles from the mainland and marvel at the Mohegan Island Light. A little south of Portland stands Maine’s oldest light, Portland Head, completed in 1791 under the presidency of George Washington. 

While there do not miss the Cliff Walk Trail along the rocky coast. Wrap up your lighthouse RV adventure at one of Maine’s most photographed lights and it’s southernmost light - Cape Neddick Lighthouse in the charming town of York Beach (this light is sometimes referred to as the Nubble Light since it sits on Nubble Island). Cape Neddick's lens flashes red every six seconds – helping captains recognize where they are in a storm.   
California Lights Call

Alcatraz Island Light - thanks Chris D 2006
Without doubt, California is blessed with over 1,200 miles of fantastic shoreline. With the explosion of the gold rush it became quickly apparent that navigation aids were needed. Alcatraz Island is home to the West Coast’s first lighthouse, which met its maker in the 1906 earthquake. A new lighthouse was erected in 1909 and can still be seen from the mainland or up close on an Alcatraz Island tour. 

Futher south on US 1 in the small town of Pescadero stands the Pigeon Point Light which is also home to a youth hostel. Near Monterey, your lighthouse RV trip may take you to Point Pinos Lighthouse – the oldest continuously lit light on the west coast. Just north of picturesque Cambria (enjoy a stroll on the Moonstone Beach boardwalk) visit the Piedras Blancas Light – recently in renovation. At the southern end of the state in San Diego sits the Old Point Loma Lighthouse known as the nation’s tallest light built on an often fogged in point...making it relatively ineffective…thus the New Point Loma Lighthouse.

The Great Lakes and the Gulf Shores

Two Harbors Light - thanks puliarf
When I first set eyes upon Lake Superior it reminded me of an ocean I’d not yet seen. Waters that day were calm and lovely but the lake can become an enraged body of water swallowing up ships such as the Edmond Fitzgerald. Visit Two Harbors Light near Duluth or the spectacular lights of the Apostle Islands on Superior, the famous Grosse Point Light near Chicago on Lake Michigan (the lake with the most lighthouses), follow the Seaway Lighthouse Trail along Lake Ontario or plan a trip along Lake Huron or Erie for more spectacular lighthouses.

Louisiana, Texas, and Florida’s Gulf Coast sport the majority of lighthouses from Key West, Florida to Biloxi, Mississippi to the Tchefuncte River Lighthouse in Madisonville, Louisiana there’s so much to see.

What’s Your Pleasure?

The Carolinas, the Chesapeake Bay, Oregon, and Washington have several noteworthy lighthouses for your visiting pleasure as well. Pack your camper, mark your map, and set out on your uniquely-you themed RV vacation. These memories last a lifetime.  

Learn more about these and other remarkable lighthouses at PBS's Legendary Lighthouses and the follow up Legendary Lighthouses II.

Have you had a memorable lighthouse themed RV vacation? Do tell...leave a comment below. Meantime, happy camping everyone!


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