New England is known for a lot of things, great seafood, miles of pristine rocky shoreline and beautiful lighthouses.

Traditionally, these lighthouses were operated by those who were tasked with protecting ships at sea from crashing along the dangerous shoreline. What’s more fascinating is that many of these lighthouses hold some incredible stories of battles, shipwrecks and even sunken treasure.

Exploring these lighthouses will do a lot more than give you a few pretty pictures to post online, they help tell and frame the history of the region, and amazingly enough, even the United States.

While new technology has undoubtedly enabled sea travel to be safer than ever, many of the brightly colored lighthouses dotted along the New England shoreline are actually still operational and welcome visitors. In fact, in some areas you can even bunk up a night or two in a lighthouse – how’s that for some real New England living!

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse

West Quoddy Head Lighthouse

Photo by Liz Froment

Located right at the easternmost point in the United States, Lubec, Maine is where you’ll find the distinctive red and white striped West Quoddy Head Lighthouse. What makes this lighthouse very unique is that it also offers lodging as well. Rent out the entire house and explore the beautiful grounds overlooking the rocky shoreline of Maine. Each morning you can be the first person in America to welcome the sunrise. The visitor center is open daily all summer.

Nauset Lighthouse

Nauset Light W

Want to check out a lighthouse that might look pretty familiar to you? Head to Eastham, Massachusetts on the Cape Cod coast and visit Nauset Lighthouse. Now, the reason why it might ring a few bells is because it is the logo for Cape Cod Potato Chips. The lighthouse offers free tours on Saturdays all season long.

Scituate LighthouseScituate Lighthouse 1

Only a short car or ferry ride away from downtown Boston, you’ll find Scituate Lighthouse, the oldest complete lighthouse, featuring both the light tower and the keeper’s house, in the United States. During the War of 1812 the keeper’s daughters singlehandedly scared off the British by pretending a squad of soldiers were stationed there! Tours are offered on specific days throughout the summer.

Point Judith Lighthouse

Known by sailors around New England for centuries as one of the most treaturous areas along the shoreline, Point Judith, Rhode Island has seen it’s fair share of shipwrecks and sea disasters. One such, within sight of the Point Judith Lighthouse was one of the last acts of WWII, the sinking of the SS Blackpoint by a German U Boat. The grounds are open for exploration.

Stonington Harbor Lighthouse 2007

Stonington Harbor Light

For one of the more historic lighthouses in New England, be sure to check out Stonington Harbor Light in Connecticut. Besides having a very unique look, it was made of granite and meant to look like a castle standing on the shores, it also hosts the oldest lighthouse museum in the country. Open every day but Wednesdays until late October.

Have you ever visited any of these historic New England light houses? What about some others in the area? Give us your best tips on Facebook, we’d love to hear from you!