Where’s the Tallest Lighthouse in the US?

Vacationers flock to the Florida shores or beautiful beaches of Hawaii because they love the sea. But the ocean is not always such a calm place, as proven by international shipwrecks. Ships in the night need precautions to keep them safe. Of course, lighthouses fall into this category and the tallest among them are a sight to see in addition to the visibility they provide to passing ships

In the United States, the tallest beacons stand between 16 and 210 feet tall. So let’s highlight the 10 tallest in the entire country along with the five states with the most lights (and the least), as shown on the map below.

View Tallest lighthouse in the United States in a full screen map

We gathered the data from this List of tallest lighthouses in the United States to see how they dot the U.S. coasts (except for the one in Summersville Lake, West Virginia!). You can read on for more information about the tallest of the tall below.

The 10 Tallest Beacons

Lighthouse height is of the utmost importance. The lights must be high enough for mariners to see before they reach danger. But how tall are lighthouses? Take the Statue of Liberty. The 305-foot (93 m) national monument was actually an operating lighthouse between 1886 and 1901 after a light was installed in the torch and around its feet.

While no official beacon in the U.S. rises to quite that height, several come close. The 10 tallest among them all stand above 150 feet, which you’ll see below and on the map when you filter by Height (ft).

  1. Cape Hatteras Light (210 feet)
  2. Cape Charles Light (191)
  3. Ponce de Leon Inlet Light (175)
  4. Absecon Light (171)
  5. Cape Lookout Light (169)
  6. Fire Island Light (168)
  7. St. Augustine Light (165)
  8. Cape Henry Light (164)
  9. Barnegat Light (163)
  10. Navassa Island Light (162)

So what is the tallest lighthouse in the United States? That’s the Cape Hatteras Light (210 ft.). Located in the Outer Banks of Buxton, North Carolina, the beacon is 19 feet more than even the next tallest light.

Also of note: eight of the 10 tallest are located in the Eastern U.S. Even more specifically, six reside in the Southeastern region of the country. The Cape Charles Light (the second tallest beacon at 191 ft.) and Cape Henry Light (164 ft.) are of Virginia while the previously discussed Cape Hatteras Light along with Cape Lookout Light (169 ft.) were built in North Carolina. Also in the Southwest are Florida’s Ponce de Leon Inlet (175 ft.) and St. Augustine Lights (165 ft.). New Jersey’s Absecon Light (171 ft.) and Barnegat Light (163 ft.) round out the last of the tallest lighthouses concentrated in the East.

Check out Where Are the World’s Tallest Buildings? or take a closer look at where these lights are located.

Five Locations Loaded With Lighthouses

North Carolina and other Southeastern states may be where the top 10 tallest of the tall reside, but where are the majority of the 240+ tallest beacons located? Below are the states with more than 10 uber-tall lighthouses.

  • Michigan (110 lighthouses)
  • California (30)
  • Washington (16)
  • Florida (15)
  • Alaska (12)

Michigan is the home of more than 45% of the U.S.’s tallest lighthouses and the northern region of the Great Lake State like Mackinaw and Cheboygan is where they’re most concentrated. After Michigan, California has the most, followed by Washington, Florida, and Alaska. North Carolina, Oregon, Maryland, and Maine also have more than five tall lights, though it’s still a feat when compared to states with none or just one.

Less Light Locations

On the other hand, what are some places that have fewer beacons? As the 243 tallest lighthouses are spread across just 25 U.S. states, half have none. It’s easy to see which states are without on the map (pretty much every state that’s not on the water). All the more interesting: the states (on the coasts) with only one.

These single-lighthouse states include Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, and Rhode Island. The New London Harbor Light (89 ft) is in CT. The Marcus Hook Light is along the Delaware River and stands 100 feet tall. Hawaii’s sole light (138 ft) is on the north side of Moloka’i while the 45-foot Beavertail Light is located in Little Rhody.

Additionally, the non-coastal states of Illinois, Minnesota, and West Virginia each only have a single lighthouse.

The last location with just one beacon is Navassa Island, a small uninhabited island in the Caribbean Sea. Now let’s switch gears to a better way of viewing your many map markers (like 243 of the tallest lighthouses).

Summarize Multiple Markers Below

Sometimes you find yourself with a lot of data squished together location-wise. While a map of your data is a much better place to store and visualize location information than a spreadsheet, you may run into marker overload. For example, there’re 243 tall lighthouses on the map, but they’re concentrated close together on the country’s coasts. It can be hard to get an idea of individual markers without zooming in and losing the big picture.

This is why a way to see an overview of what’s below is invaluable. With map clustering, which is automatically enabled on maps with 300+ locations, there’s no need to zoom or squint. Markers that are near each other are replaced with another icon to represent multiple markers. You’ll be able to see either the number of markers the new icon contains or the average or sum of specific data. You can adjust the data settings and also manually enable it on less crowded maps.

Explore how icons that summarize multiple markers help you better understand your data at batchgeo.com.

Streamline Your Map Filters in BatchGeo

In the age of DoorDashing from the 7-Eleven across the street and Michelin star microwave dinners, the tools you use for data should be just as convenient. This includes maps, which make it easy to visualize the meaning in your data and can go beyond just showing you the geography of your information.

Our mapping tool takes any additional data you may have and automatically groups it together so that you and your users can easily filter what you want to see in or out. Let’s first go over how to make a map of your data, which you’ll need before getting started with map filters. We’ll also demonstrate how to easily add multiple filters at once. Let’s jump into it.

Make a Map of Your Data

Before you can get started with map filtering, you’ll need a map. Thankfully, it couldn’t be easier to make a custom version, like our largest metropolitan parks example below.

View Metropolitan parks by size in a full screen map

Start by identifying the data for your map. Any location-based nformation can be plotted—be it countries, states, cities, addresses, or even geographic coordinates. You may find desirable data with your business proposals, sales numbers, or even the Wikipedia page of a topic that interests you. If the data isn’t already stored in a spreadsheet, you’ll want to transfer it to Excel, Google Sheets, or any other spreadsheet program. It’s best to include headings and separate columns for the location information. Then, plot your points with the following steps:

  1. Select and copy the information from your spreadsheet
  2. Open your web browser and navigate to batchgeo.com
  3. Click on the location data box with the example data in it, then paste your own data
  4. Check to make sure you have the proper location data columns available by clicking “Validate and Set Options”
  5. Select the proper location column from each drop-down
  6. Click “Make Map” and watch as the tool maps your data

Now let’s find out about map grouping and filtering your newly created map.

Intelligently Group Additional Information

As an entire profession is dedicated to mapping (cartography), simple maps provide valuable insights on their own. However, BatchGeo also finds the best home for any additional data you may have. For example, the largest city parks data contained information about location (city/metropolitan area and country) along with park name.

The location gets mapped while the name ends up as the title. But the data also contained:

  • Ranking (1-161)
  • Managing authority
  • Size (in both acres and hectares)

BatchGeo makes these data columns (and just about any non-location fields in your spreadsheet) available for map grouping. The tool will automatically place any numerical data (like the ranking and sizes in our example) into helpful ranges while textual data gets grouped based on repeat values. This paves the way for you and your map users to select only the markers that meet certain requirements, filtering out the rest.

See What You Want, Filter Out What You Don’t

Custom maps can have upwards of thousands of markers. Seeing them pinned can help you identify geographic trends, but what about your additional groups? You can filter your groups, enabling you and your map users to select only the markers that meet certain requirements—and combinations of requirements. There are a couple of ways to go about viewing only what you want, but perhaps the simplest is to navigate to the lower left dropdown. Then, opt for the group of your choice and select an option from the legend to filter.

Another way to filter is via the search bar in the upper righthand corner of your map. Type in a group or specific range, then select the right one. The map will update to include only the results that match your search, and it will zoom closer to their location. But that’s not the extent of what you can do.

Add Multiple Filters At Once

Narrowing down your map by one value, say the largest range (495K – 7,800 acres), already makes your data more manageable. With a single filter, you isolate 27 out of the 168 city parks on the map. However, you have the option to further your focus with additional filters at once.

Via the dropdown in the lower left of your map, you can mix and match different groups, adding more values in the legend. As you select additional values, the filter grows, showing you only the data you want to see, when you want to see it.

Get a new view into your data with map filtering. Try copy-pasting your Excel spreadsheet into batchgeo.com to start gaining fresh insights.

Explore the U.S.’s 155 Islands

While just about any vacation is appreciated, many consider an island getaway as the pinnacle of relaxation. Islands like The Hawaiian Islands are a frequent vacation or wedding destination for a reason. But the U.S. has more islands to offer than just Hawaii (which is actually eight islands) when you’re in the mood for domestic island-hopping.

We’ll cover the U.S.’s 155 islands—from the largest to the smallest (sometimes called islets)—and every island in between. We’ll also see which state or states have the most islands versus those without the isolated getaways, all on the map below.

View U.S. Islands in a full screen map

Based on Wikipedia’s list of U.S. islands ordered by area, the map includes islands ranging from just 3.7 square miles (approximately 9.7 km 2) to 4,028 square mile-islands (10,433 km 2). The data also contains population information gathered either in 2010 or 2000. The population of the 28 largest islands was gathered in 2010 while the smaller 127 islands’ population data was reported in 2000. Speaking of largest, let’s dive into the top 10.

10 Largest Islands

By definition, an island is any non-continental land that’s surrounded by water. This means entire countries—take Singapore, for example—can be classified as such, making for some really big islands.

The largest country-island tied to the U.S. is Puerto Rico. Yet, the territory is only the third-largest U.S. island. Let’s examine those that are even bigger, along with other large islands of 1,500+ square miles on the table below—and on the map, if you group by “Area (sq mi)”.

Island’s Name Area (sq mi) Area (km 2 ) Location Population
Hawaii Island (the Big Island) 4,028 10,433 Hawaii 185,079
Kodiak Island 3,588 9,293 Alaska 13,592
Puerto Rico 3,363 8,710 Puerto Rico 3,725,789
Prince of Wales Island 2,577 6,675 Alaska 5,559
Chichagof Island 2,080 5,388 Alaska 1,342
St. Lawrence Island 1,983 5,135 Alaska 1,352
Admiralty Island 1,684 4,362 Alaska 650
Nunivak Island 1,625 4,209 Alaska 191
Unimak Island 1,590 4,119 Alaska 35
Baranof Island 1,570 4,065 Alaska 8,532

The #1 largest island in the U.S. is the Big Island of Hawaii. At 4,028 square miles (10,433 km 2), this single island is bigger than the seven others that make up the state combined. Together, the areas of Maui, Oahu, Kauai, Molokai, Lanai, Kahoolawe, and Niihau add up to 2,392 square miles, making Hawaii Island 1.68 times their size. The rest of the largest islands in the U.S. are located in the country’s only other non-contiguous state, Alaska.

Of course, this may leave you wondering about the largest island located in one of the 48 contiguous United States. That would be #11, Long Island in New York, which measures in at 1,401 square miles (3,629 km 2). The next biggest of the contiguous U.S.? Padre Island in Texas, and it’s only 209 square miles (542 km 2).

The Many Islands of Alaska

You may have noticed Alaska is home to eight out of the 10 largest islands in the U.S. But even these don’t begin to cover the impressive amount of islands scattered throughout the state.

In total, 78 islands are located in Alaska. The largest is, of course, Kodiak, which covers 3,588 square miles (9,293 km 2). The island is also where 13,592 people call home. On the other hand, the smallest of Alaska’s many islands is Woronkofski Island. At 23 square miles in size (59 km 2), its population is zero. Can you spot all 78 of Alaska’s islands on the map?

If not, there are other states with more than five islands: Michigan (12), Washington (9), Hawaii (8), and California (7), though Alaska is the obvious winner. See what else The Last Frontier tops the charts in (The 200 Highest Summits in the U.S.) before moving on to the states sans islands.

Island-less States

Just 23 of the 50 United States have land that qualifies as an island. The 27 states without include:

  • Northeastern states Connecticut, New Hampshire, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania
  • Southeast Arkansas, Kentucky, Mississippi, Tennessee, Virginia, and West Virginia
  • Midwest Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, and South Dakota
  • Southwest Arizona, New Mexico, and Oklahoma
  • West Colorado, Idaho, Montana, Nevada, and Wyoming

States with just one island are:

  • Northeastern states Delaware, Maryland, and Vermont
  • Southeast Alabama, Florida, Georgia, Louisiana, and North Carolina
  • Midwest Ohio
  • West Oregon and Utah

As you can probably tell, not every place has islands to spare. Even small islands are a hot commodity, so let’s examine the smallest.

Smaller Islets of the U.S.

Photo of Mackinac Island, Michigan by Notorious4life

Keys aren’t just what you scramble to find before starting your car. The word also means smaller islands, along with islets, skerries, or cays. The islands on the table below can all be classified as such due to their areas of 15 or fewer square miles.

Island’s Name Area (sq mi) Area (km 2 ) Location Population
Mackinac Island 3.7 9.7 Michigan 492
Kelleys Island 4.3 11 Ohio 312
Dauphin Island 6.26 16.2 Alabama 1,371
Mercer Island 7 17 Washington 22,036
South Manitou Island 8 21 Michigan 0
Block Island 9 25 Rhode Island 1,051
Conanicut Island 9.4 25.1 Rhode Island 5,622
Grosse Ile 9.6 24.9 Michigan 10,894
San Miguel Island 15 38 California 0
Fenwick Island 15 38 Delaware 8,002

Note that three Michigan islets make the list: Mackinac Island, South Manitou Island, and Grosse Ile. Rhode Island is also home to more than one itsy-bitsy island. Combined, these two states account for 50% of the smallest islands in the U.S.

It’s easier than ever to make a map of your data and see new trends—whether it be that most of the smallest U.S. islands are located in Michigan or, for a non-U.S.-based map, the insights you can glean with Shipwrecks in International Waters. Get started mapping your own data today at batchgeo.com.