Lots of properties boast ocean-view accommodations, but these nine Canadian destinations really go the distance. You won’t just be looking at the ocean, you’ll be perched right beside it! Staying in the lighthouse itself or the adjacent keeper’s cottage is one of the most memorable travel experiences you can have, complete with the chance to tap into local history, ecology, and culture while enjoying spectacular sunsets and delicious food. These nine spots are going to leap to the top of your travel bucket list.
1. Quirpon Island Lighthouse Hotel
Located in restored lighthouse keeper’s quarters at the base of a lighthouse, this hotel is a registered heritage building that dates to 1922. The Quirpon Island Lighthouse Hotel features 10 rooms, a combination of en suite and shared baths, and superb ocean views.
You and the other guests will have the run of the island to explore, hike, and do some whale watching. Quirpon boasts the longest whale-watching season of any area in Newfoundland and it’s smack in the middle of “Iceberg Alley”. Transportation to and from the mainland and all meals are included with your stay.
2. Monroe Point Lighthouse
Some lighthouses are shoreline giants, massive monoliths that are both literal and metaphorical beacons. But others are more petite, keeping watch over quiet coves and little fishing villages. The Monroe Point Lighthouse is very much the latter. Constructed in 1905 and decommissioned in 1962, it’s situated in the village of St. Anns and part of the world-famous Cabot Trail. The lighthouse accommodates just two people in its small space but it’s comfortable, offering a king-sized bed, lots of light, and a gorgeous aqua and turquoise color scheme.
3. Cape D’Or Lighthouse Keeper’s Inn
Set among dramatic cliffs with unparalleled views of the Bay of Fundy, a visit to Cape d’Or may well be one of your most memorable moments in Nova Scotia. The Cape d’Or Lighthouse Keeper’s Inn features four rooms with double beds (one has an additional single bed) with a shared bathroom, kitchen, and living room.
However, the simple, comfortable accommodations aren’t the main attraction here. It’s the food! The casual, family-friendly dining room offers a $55 fixed menu with a choice of appetizer, main course, and dessert. With gorgeous views, a remote location, and incredible home-cooked food, Cape d’Or Lighthouse has been a regular feature in Where To Eat In Canada for years.
Pro Tip: If you want to eat here, you’ll have to make a reservation and bring cash. No credit cards are accepted.
4. West Point Lighthouse Inn and Museum
Prince Edward Island
Lighthouses keep much more than nautical lights. They’re also keepers of history and nowhere is that more true than at PEI’s West Point Lighthouse Inn and Museum. Dating to 1875 and towering at 69 feet tall (making it the province’s tallest lighthouse), there’s plenty of history to capture here and the lighthouse’s museum is spread out over five stories.
Guests have unlimited access to the exhibits during their stay but, happily, they won’t be sharing their bedroom with tourists! The private, guest-only spaces include bedrooms in the tower and the keeper’s quarters, plus 11 additional seaside motel units with balconies. Guests also enjoy continental breakfast, a gorgeous beach, a barbecue pit, and even free laundry services.
5. Swallowtail Lighthouse
Getting to Swallowtail Lighthouse isn’t easy, and staying there is even trickier, but both are possible for dedicated travelers! Located on New Brunswick’s Grand Manan Island, you first have to travel to the rural mainland community of Blacks Harbour to catch a ferry (reservations strongly recommended) and then proceed to the lighthouse. Anyone can drop by to visit but to stay, you’ll have to make an application.
The lighthouse says: “We accept applications from individuals or couples to help preserve and promote the history of light keeping and to help run the light station. Individuals live on site from as early as late May until the end of September or even into October and may be involved in all activities to manage and maintain the property, buildings and activities. Applicants need to be physically fit, outgoing and able to work both independently and within a team during the summer when students are also working on the property.”
If you envision hosting a workshop or artist retreat or field course on Grand Manan and think that the lighthouse keeper’s home might be the perfect home base, that’s possible too! However, all programs are under threat because of the need for extensive repairs to the lighthouse and surrounding properties. Like many lighthouses in Canada, Swallowtail needs extensive support for repairs and restoration.
6. Auberge Du Phare Du Pot À L’eau-De-Vie
Part of an archipelago of three islands that are famous for watching seabirds, this lighthouse has been turned into a cozy inn by Société Duvetnor. A registered heritage building that was restored in 1989 after a period of being abandoned, it now features three rooms with a shared bath.
There are some important rules for visitors to take into consideration. You’re only allowed to bring one piece of luggage (as you’ll be taken to the island via a boat). Children under the age of ten aren’t allowed unless you reserve the entire lighthouse. Finally, you do have full access to explore the entire island but only after the seabirds have finished nesting, which is usually in late July.
7. Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve
The Île aux Perroquets lighthouse (part of the Mingan Archipelago National Park Reserve) likes to say that it offers “4-star accommodation in the heart of a lighthouse station.” The word “heart” is very apt! All of the rooms, set in the lighthouse keeper and assistant lighthouse keeper’s cottages, are named and decorated for the former staff and their family members.
Virtually everything you see is handcrafted by residents, from the decorative embroidery to the quilts to the lighting fixtures. Finally, you’ll be feasting on local food, including a welcome cocktail with appetizers and breakfast. If that wasn’t enough, guests have access to seabird watching, hiking, art activities, and even national park interpretation services from Parks Canada.
8. McKay Island Lighthouse
Dream of sleeping in a lighthouse but not keen on taking a boat to get there? The McKay Island lighthouse might just be your perfect destination, as it’s the only housekeeping lighthouse in Ontario that’s accessible by car. Built in 1907 along the shores of Lake Huron, its future was uncertain after the last of the lighthouse keepers left in 1955 but thanks to the efforts of the Peterson family, the building was restored and given new life, first as a family cottage and now as an inn. The property can accommodate six people and has three bedrooms (including a set of bunk beds). With prices starting at $165 a night, this is one affordable adventure.
9. Porphyry Island Lighthouse
Have you ever imagined what it was like to live and work in a lighthouse? If you visit Porphyry Island through a program with the Canadian Lighthouses of Lake Superior, you might just catch a glimpse of the experience. At select times of the year, the CLLS offers week-long opportunities for “Host Keepers” to live in a shared environment with a private bedroom. Couples, families, and individuals are all invited to apply for this unique experience that includes hiking around the island, working on volunteer projects, and more. There’s even an artist-in-residence program!
Honorable Mention: “Lighthouse” Glamping
Canada has plenty of reproduction lighthouses serving as accommodations but none are so cute as the lighthouse-themed glamping cabin at Broadleaf Ranch. The lovely views include water, forest, and even an actual lighthouse off in the distance! You can also choose from a chuck wagon or covered bridge-inspired unit, making this a fun and imaginative destination.