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While lighthouses are usually associated with coastal regions like the Outer Banks, there are actually over 200 lighthouses on the shores of the Great Lakes.
Lake Erie has 20 lighthouses, with some of them dating back to the early 18th century. While a few of these Lake Erie lighthouses are in Pennsylvania, most of them are right here on the Ohio shores of Lake Erie.
There’s even a lighthouse in Ohio that isn’t anywhere near the water! You can read about that in the article about the Gospel Hill Lighthouse.
Lighthouses in Ohio
From West to East, these Ohio Lighthouses on Lake Erie make a fun family road trip.
Point Place Lighthouse
Located in Bay View Park at the mouth of the Maumee River, this lighthouse is purely ornamental as an anchor of the Point Place community. Many yacht clubs and marinas are located in the area and a waterfront bike and walking path.
Additionally, this is a fun neighborhood of Toledo if you are looking for a weekend getaway.
Toledo Harbor Lighthouse
Built in 1903, this Lake Erie lighthouse sits eight miles off-shore and is still an active navigational aid for boats approaching the harbor at Toledo.
Its unique shape looks more like a historic schoolhouse than a lighthouse, making it a favorite amongst lighthouse fans.
The lighthouse is open to the public for certain events like the Toledo Lighthouse Waterfront Festival held each summer.
Port Clinton Lighthouse
Port Clinton, OH
Like many lighthouses on Lake Erie, the Port Clinton Lighthouse has had several iterations since the original version in 1832. At one point, the lighthouse was decommissioned, purchased, and moved to private property.
In 2014, a conservancy was formed to restore the lighthouse and today it has been beautifully restored and placed in a prominent location at Waterworks Park.
Tours are offered on Saturdays from 12-5 between Memorial Day and Labor Day.
Of all the lighthouses in Ohio, this one is probably the most famous and most photographed. Set on the western edge of Sandusky Bay, this is the oldest continuously operating lighthouse on the Great Lakes.
In 1821, the structure was built to resemble “classic” lighthouses of the Eastern Seaboard, and for years guided ships into Sandusky Bay.
Many renovations and upgrades have happened over the years and today the lighthouse is the centerpiece of Marblehead Lighthouse State Park.
In the summer months, you can tour the lighthouse as well as the Lifesaving Station and the Keeper’s House.
Cedar Point Lighthouse
Long before the roller coasters and kiddie rides arrived in Sandusky, this peninsula was a dangerous barrier to boats coming to Sandusky Bay. A lighthouse was erected in 1839 to mirror the Marblehead Lighthouse. Subsequent replacements were built and eventually fell into disrepair until Cedar Point Amusement Park purchased the land in 1987.
Today, the historic lighthouse is the centerpiece of Lighthouse Point, a luxury campground with cottages and cabins.
Huron Pier and Lighthouse
At the mouth of the Huron River, this area has been heavily trafficked since the late 18th century. The first lighthouse was built here in 1835 after several shipwrecks. In 1936, the current Art Deco version was installed along with a project to widen the mouth of Huron Harbor.
Most recently, LED lights were installed and are often changed to different colors for holidays and celebrations.
The lighthouse is not open to the public, however, you can walk along the pier for a closer look at this historic building.
This red-and-white lighthouse marks the entrance of the Vermilion River into Lake Erie. The first lighthouse was erected here in 1847 after years of “homemade” beacons were set up by local residents.
What you see today is a 16-foot replica of the 1877 lighthouse, paid for by fundraisers and passionate locals.
It is not open for tours but makes a nice backdrop to the Main Street beach of Vermilion.
Lorain Harbor Light
Easily one of the most picturesque lighthouses in Ohio, the current iteration went up in 1919, nearly 100 years after the first beacon hung off the shores of Lorain.
This lighthouse would have been demolished in the 1960s, were it not for passionate locals who lobbied to save the structure.
Today, it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is occasionally open for tours and special events.
Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Light
Fairport Harbor has had a beacon or lighthouse in place since at least 1825. Over the years, the breakwaters here have been extended, with many different versions of lighthouses placed here.
The current version was somewhat controversial, as it replaced the beloved Fairport Harbor Lighthouse. The original can be seen at the Fairport Marine Museum and Lighthouse.
Meanwhile, the “new” Fairport Harbor West Breakwater Light remains on the coast, recently refurbished for a possible reincarnation as a vacation rental.
At the mouth of Ashtabula Harbor, this is one of several lighthouses that have been used here. In 1973, it was the last remaining lighthouse on Lake Erie that was still manned by the Coast Guard.
Today, it is owned by the Ashtabula Lighthouse Restoration and Preservation Society, with ongoing fundraising in hopes of opening for tours in the future.
A visit to this lighthouse is a great stopping point in Ohio’s wine region, and the nearby Lodge at Geneva on the Lake is a great destination for a romantic getaway!
Why not take a break from viewing the lighthouses and find some Lake Erie beach glass?
Conneaut West Breakwater Lighthouse
If you’ve visited all the lighthouses on Lake Erie so far, this Ohio lighthouse may look familiar. It was built by the same architects as the Huron Lighthouse and both of these Ohio lighthouses went up in the same year.
The lighthouse has changed hands many times over the years, most recently going up for sale in 2018.
Perhaps someday this major landmark of Ashtabula County will be refurbished and opened to the public for tours.
Check out our Lighthouses in Ohio Map
Check out this map and download the map to your phone to enjoy our lighthouses in Ohio road trip.
Have you stopped to tour any of these lighthouses in Ohio while road tripping?
Here are more Ohio Road Trip ideas: