Historic buildings offered as vacation rentalsThe lighthouses of the Pacific Northwest are often pictured in travel brochures and articles, used as an example of Northwest scenic beauty and history -- and for good reason. These lighthouses are located along some of the prettiest coastlines anywhere in the country.
What many people may not know is that you don't have to be content just to take a picture of these lighthouses -- some of them will let you spend a night or even an entire week in a historic lighthouse keeper's quarters. It's the perfect mix of great scenery, outdoor recreation and Pacific Northwest history.
Here are five examples of lighthouses that double as vacation rentals:
New Dungeness LighthouseThe Dungeness Spit and a vintage lighthouse is located on the Olympic Peninsula and is great place to pay a quick visit, or to spend an entire vacation. The Olympic Mountains and Puget Sound create quite the natural landscape.
If you're just visiting for the day, consider taking the five-mile beach hike that goes directly to the lighthouse and takes you along one of the world's longest sand spits. The trailhead is near Sequim, which is about a two-hour drive from Seattle.
If you're taking the hike, you'll want to check ahead so that you're going during low tide, which helps insure you'll have a nice beach path the whole distance.
If you want to skip the hike, you can also plan to stay at the New Dungeness Lighthouse. Between four and six people can stay in the very historical keeper's quarters which is rented out by the week.
Point Robinson LighthousePoint Robinson offers visitors the chance to stay for a weekend or an entire week as a lighthouse keeper. This lighthouse is located on Vashon Island, very close to Seattle. And the best thing is, when you stay at Point Robinson, you can enjoy the beach right there on the lighthouse property. The property includes a wooded park as well but you'll be transfixed as you view the numerous birds that flock to the sandy shore and observe a steady stream of boats of all sizes passing in front of the lighthouse.
There are a couple of different accommodations. One is a modest three-bedroom two-story bungalow, renovated to look like it did when it was built in 1919. It will accommodate six people The second bungalow is a two-bedroom house, also historically renovated. Four people can stay in this home.
The lighthouse is just a 15-minute drive in to Vashon Town with its shopping and restaurants.
North Head LighthouseThe North Head Lighthouse is located in the Cape Disappointment State Park about three miles from Ilwaco. This is down in Southwest Washington on the Long Beach Peninsula and it's actually part of the park with its many historical attractions and activities.
There are three keepers' quarters at North Head and they're all within walking distance of the lighthouse. They all come equipped with everything you need -- kitchens with all the appliances, dining and cooking utensils, cozy living room areas and all the necessary linens. They have the feel of Victorian period houses so there is no escaping the history of the area.
The Long Beach Peninsula is a popular tourist area with lots of beaches and restaurants and outdoor activities. The beaches seem to stretch forever and there are numerous other accommodations in the area.
Point No Point LighthousePoint No Point Lighthouse was built in 1879 and is said to be the oldest lighthouse in Puget Sound. It's located near Hansville and there is a lighthouse keeper's home there available for vacation rental.
It's a duplex accommodation and you'll enjoy two bedrooms, a fully equipped kitchen, a living room, dining room and even a small reading library. There's a lot of beach here for you to enjoy -- you can stroll 'til your heart's content and you can also fish. And as with other lighthouses, there is a lot of marine traffic going by that's fun to watch and really keeps you in that vacation mood.
Interestingly, as historic as this accommodation is, it still has internet and you can even get pizza delivered to your door.
Browns Point LighthouseBrowns Point Lighthouse is just north of Tacoma and a popular destination for travelers as well as locals who plan weddings and special events on the scenic grounds.
This weekly rental is a three-bedroom historic lighthouse keeper's cottage and it's located right on the shores of Puget Sound. The landscapes and Puget Sound views here are incredibly beautiful. You can walk on the beach, fish from the shore or just relax and watch the many boats that ply these waters.
The cottage was built in 1903 and is furnished with period furniture. It's on the National Historical Register. Staying here you become honorary lightkeepers, meaning you'll be raising and lowering the flag, logging in weather and shipping traffic and welcoming visitors.
You can have up to six people in the cottage so it's a great family experience -- and really like no other.
For more information on renting a lighthouse keeper's quarters in one of these scenic lighthouses, please visit www.stayatawashingtonlighthouse.org or phone (253) 927-2536.
PHOTOS: New Dungeness Lighthouse and lightkeepers quarters
PHOTO CREDITS: Photo courtesy of the United States Lighthouse Society
Click here for more great Northwest travel ideas!
Click here for great deals on California travel