Private Idylls

The World’s Best Lighthouses

Feel like playing light keeper? The Daily Beast hunts down the best places to escape from it all.

Feel like playing light keeper? What about a vacation in a Cape Cod lighthouse on untouched beaches, or another on a private island in Croatia? The Daily Beast hunts down the best places to escape from it all—available by the day or week.

Hrvoje Polan / AFP / Getty Images

Savudrija, Croatia

Nestled at the borders of Croatia, Slovenia, and Italy is the lighthouse of Savudrija, the oldest in the Adriatic. According to local stories, it was built in 1818 by a count for a beautiful woman he met at a ball. As the tale goes, the woman died the day it was completed and the count never set foot in it. Luckily, it still stands, and guests can rent the four-bed living quarters, surrounded by lush gardens and restaurants known for traditional Istrian dishes, for around $415 a week.

Wing’s Neck Lighthouse, Pocasset, Massachusetts

Originally a U.S. Coast Guard lighthouse, this tower was auctioned off in 1947 to a couple who called it home for 50 years. The 1849 lighthouse and attached three-bedroom home sits inches from the water and is just an hour from Boston and near all the attractions of Cape Cod. The renovated rental is available year-round, with prices ranging from $2,500 to $4,500 per week.

Race Point, Isle au Haut, Maine

The Keeper’s House Inn’s website boats of its isolation with the banner: “No Television, No Fax, No Email, No Internet, No Electricity.” The 1907 Maine lighthouse was restored years after its heyday by a California couple who transformed the island establishment into a home and bed and breakfast. Guests looking for a break from society take a 40-minute boat ride to the island, where the only connection with the outside world is a daily mail boat. Prices for a stay on the isolated getaway vary based on season and accommodation.

Steve Lenz

Heceta Head Lighthouse, Yachats, Oregon

If staying in a light-keeper cottage on Oregon’s Pacific coast isn’t romantic enough, the Heceta Head Lighthouse bed and breakfast offers guests a seven-course breakfast. Built in 1894, the lighthouse has a rich history: it was occupied by the U.S. Army during World War II and even used as a satellite campus for a community college for 25 years. Rooms range from $133 to $315 a night.

Rose Island Lighthouse, Newport, Rhode Island

All the best historic accommodations are haunted. Rhode Island’s Rose Island Lighthouse is said to be occupied by Charles Curtis, who, guests and staff say, is continuing the duties he performed as keeper from 1887-1918. The reports are so common that the TV show Ghost Hunters paid a visit. Overnight guests play lighthouse keeper and can choose among three options of the duties they’ll perform, from logging the weather to manning the museum shop. Fees vary from $100 to $350 nightly and $1,000 to $2,300 per week.

Keeper’s House, Provincetown, MA

This Cape Cod lighthouse and keeper’s cottage is a rare treasure, sitting on miles of untouched beaches that have yet to be overrun by tourists. The lighthouse was erected in 1816 in an attempt to prevent the deadly shipwrecks that were common on the dangerous sandbars. Guests share the main house with the lighthouse keeper, while the private “Whistle House” is nearby, and rates range from $145 to $500 in peak season.

Brown’s Point Lighthouse, Browns Point, Washington

Guests looking for more than just a scenic escape will enjoy tracking the shipping traffic, opening the lighthouse museum, and raising the flag as honorary light keepers at Brown’s Point. The lighthouse cottage, furnished with period furniture from its 1903 opening, fits six and charges a weekly rate of $550 or $880 for summer.

Point No Point, Hansville, Washington

The Point No Point Lighthouse, an hour out of Seattle, has the honor of hosting the United States Lighthouse Society headquarters along with being the oldest lighthouse on the Puget Sound. Relax on the porch of the Southern-style estate and look out onto the surrounding mountains and islands for $215 a night.

M. Prinke

Porer Island, Croatia

This sandy islet would be barren if not for the sole lighthouse protruding from its center. A test in ultimate isolation, the small island takes only a minute to walk around, though guests can arrange boat trips to surrounding sites. The stone structure has two apartments and starts at $640 a week—not bad for your own island.

Darko Bandic / AP Photo

St. Ivan Na Pucini Island, Croatia

The cliffs of St. Ivan were a dangerous place before the lighthouse was constructed in the mid-1800s. According to legend, a Venetian doge on his way to Croatia promised to light a candle as high as a cathedral tower for St. Ivan if his boat made it through a stormy night. But he failed to follow through and crashed against the island’s cliffs on his next voyage. Today St. Ivan attracts guests looking for diving and swimming. The four-bedroom apartments rent for $730 a week.