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Lighthouses dot all of the U.S. lake and seacoasts. Situated on high hills or bluffs overlooking dangerous, rocky, yet gorgeous marine vistas, these relics of a bygone era nearly have been rendered obsolete by modern navigational equipment. Nowadays they serve as picturesque backdrops or the occasional bed and breakfast.

For the lighthouse fancier–and who doesn’t love the sound of the waves against the rocks on a clear, starry night–Travel & Leisure has rounded up over two dozen of the most beautiful ones in the states. Some, like Brant Point Light, in Nantucket, MA, Portsmouth Harbor Light, in New Castle, NH, and Ocracoke Island Light, Ocracoke, NC are still in operation. Most can be visited, and the surrounding grounds are open at those lighthouses that still have their original function.

Photo: Flickr via Jimmy Emerson, DVM

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