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9 incredible U.S. lighthouses to visit

By: Josh Lew on May 23, 2013, 5 p.m.
Grand Haven lighthouse, Michigan

Photo: John McCormick/Shutterstock

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Beautiful and lonely settings

Lighthouses hold a special place in American lore. Before the jet age, these coastal beacons were the most important landmarks for anyone who traveled by ship. Sailing is no longer a necessity for international travel, but lighthouses still have a role to play in modern times. Today's lighthouses are automated, so light keepers — the air traffic controllers of their day — are no longer needed.

Lighthouses fascinate because of the historic (and sometimes fictional) stories that surround them and their gorgeous yet lonely settings. Here’s our short list of the standouts.