04/12/2013 10:18 am ET Updated Jun 12, 2013

5 Lighthouses Worth a Climb This Summer

During the heyday of lighthouses in the late 1800s and early 1900s, close to 900 manned lighthouses dotted the shores of the United States, serving as sentinels for sailors and seafarers long before the advent of high-tech navigation. While American lighthouses have long been automated, a resurgence of interest in these historically significant beacons has made them popular stops on summer vacations. There's no more thrilling way to discover lighthouses than to climb their towers, step-by-step, on the same staircases used by lighthouse keepers and their families a hundred years ago.

If your family loves lighthouses, consider purchasing a lighthouse passport from the United States Lighthouse Society (or pick one up at a participating lighthouse) and get it stamped each time you visit one.

-- Kristi Marcelle, an Orange County-based writer, contributed this to

5 Lighthouses Worth a Climb This Summer