Ohio Lighthouse Hopping
By James Proffitt

Ohio Lighthouse Hopping

6 Northcoast Nightlights Worth the Trip

Port Clinton Lighthouse

Lighthouse lovers travel the nation seeking beautiful beacons – but in Ohio you don’t have to go far to get up-close-and-personal with historic lights.

Ohio’s inland sea, Lake Erie, offers great Instagrammable lighthouses. (but don’t forget Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr!)

The Port Clinton Lighthouse was completely restored and installed on the water just a few years ago. While it’s not a towering landmark, the 1896 structure is definitely cool. And when it’s open on weekends, you can climb right up inside and take pictures. Of course, it doesn’t have to be a weekend to get a nice selfie.


Next up is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes, the Marblehead Lighthouse, built in 1821. It’s one of the few original lighthouses in America where people can hang out day or night all year long. And during summer months, it’s open for tours: Climb to the very tippy-top on eighty-eight ancient, iron steps to a stunning view of Lake Erie and inland from the top.

Downstairs you can fish, picnic and take in the Cedar Point fireworks at night. And don’t forget to post your photos online – the Marblehead Lighthouse State Park is estimated to attract more than a million visitors a year and is considered the most-photographed structure in the state.

Hiking the Huron Lighthouse break wall

At the confluence of the Huron River and Lake Erie stands the Huron Harbor Lighthouse. Some cool pics can be snapped here, but you’ll have to make a little hike to get up close. Don’t worry, it’s a neat walk out along a break wall more than a quarter mile long. If it’s a nice day, you’re likely to find some folks fishing or swimming.

Lorain Lighthouse from a kayak. Photo courtesy of Jeff Burdick.

The Lorain Lighthouse makes for great photos from a boat or kayak, however, getting there on foot is virtually impossible. The 1916 lighthouse is a stunning site and is nicknamed “Jewel of the Port.”

Sunset dinners and cruises are available for those who want to experience the Lorain Lighthouse’s beauty. Seasoned kayakers can sometimes be seen making the water-trek to the lighthouse.

The Ashtabula Lighthouse appears as a tiny dot from The Ashtabula Marine Museum

Another super-scenic Ohio gem is the Ashtabula Lighthouse, another hard-to-reach lighthouse, definitely best seen from the water. And especially worthwhile during Lake Erie’s amazing sunsets.

Photo courtesy of Fairport Harbor Marine Museum and Lighthouse

The Fairport Harbor Marine Museum and Lighthouse is a two-fer: Cool museum and classic Great Lakes lighthouse tower in one site. This lighthouse offers tours and other events and is super-easy to access.

Whether you’re checking out one Ohio lighthouses or many, remember your camera (or phone) and your sense of adventure!

All photos by James Proffit unless otherwise credited.

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