If you saw last year’s eerie, Oscar-nominated film The Lighthouse, you know that the namesake structures can be secluded spots for solitary contemplation. That might not immediately sound like a dream vacation destination, but sometimes a little extra space could be exactly what the doctor ordered. Luckily, the American coastline is dotted with rentable lighthouses that are far more luxurious than the spartan digs you often encounter in fiction. In fact, they just may be the perfect spot to truly get away from it all.
Wings Neck Lighthouse
Located 65 miles south of Boston on Cape Cod, this cheerful white lighthouse was built in 1849 to ensure safe passage on the heavily trafficked Buzzards Bay. You and seven friends can channel your inner seafarers in the keeper’s house, which has a ship-wheel-topped fireplace and a kitchen stocked, of course, with a lobster pot. (The pro move? Bring your lobster boil down to the property’s private beach, 600 feet from the house.) Access the hexagonal lighthouse through a door in the family room, and then climb the mahogany spiral staircase for incredible sunset views.
From $500/night, airbnb.com
The charming city of Sitka was part of Russia until 1867 and even boasts an onion-domed Russian Orthodox cathedral. Built in 1983, this red-and-white lighthouse (which is still active!) occupies a one-acre private island that can be reached by water taxi. The wraparound deck offers a fantastic wildlife-spotting opportunity, but you’ll want to take advantage of the four kayaks to get up close and personal with the bald eagles, puffins, sea otters, humpback whales and sea lions that call Sitka Sound home.
From $649/night, airbnb.com
Salmon River Lighthouse
Pulaski, New York
Built in 1838, this lighthouse is located 45 minutes north of Syracuse, where the Salmon River flows into Lake Ontario. It’s a beacon for beacon nerds, because it’s one of only four American lighthouses to retain its original bird-cage lantern. Curious how the river got its name? Book one of the fishing charters that operate out of the onsite marina; the surrounding waters are teeming with Atlantic, chinook and coho salmon, as well as steelhead and brown trout. The lighthouse sleeps eight, but if you’re coming with an even bigger group, the owners also manage three cottages on the marina and two across the river.
From $215/night, airbnb.com
Eagle River Lighthouse
Eagle River, Michigan
You can’t get much farther north in Michigan than the site of this 1850s lighthouse, which sits on the northernmost stretch of the Keweenaw Peninsula, itself jutting off the northernmost portion of the Upper Peninsula into Lake Superior. Make the 200-mile trek north from Green Bay, Wisconsin. Then, within walking distance, you’ll have access to sandy beaches (perfect for stargazing), ATV and snowmobile trails, the roadside Eagle River Falls and a small historic village with a population of — give or take — 83.
From $425/night, airbnb.com
Point Arena Lighthouse Keeper’s Room
Point Arena, California
You’ll be greeted at this Mendocino County lighthouse by a feline guest relations manager, Arena Mina, a reliably friendly mascot who even has her own Instagram account (@minathelighthousecat). At 115 feet, Point Arena is tied with Pigeon Point as the tallest lighthouse on the West Coast, and it occupies 23 acres of rocky cliffs about three hours north of San Francisco. Your stay includes free tours of the museum and tower and complimentary Husch Vineyards wine and Mendocino Chocolate Company chocolate.
From $150/night, airbnb.com