Florida Lighthouses

Lighthouses played an historic role in making it possible to explore, settle and develop Florida using its 1350 miles of coastline (second only to Alaska in shoreline lengths among states). Most Floridians live within 50 miles of one of the 30 remaining lighthouses.

Click on a lighthouse label for more information.

Loggerhead Key Lighthouse

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: Flashing white light every twenty seconds.

Height: 157 feet, 204 steps

DayMark: Conical brick tower, lower half white, upper half black.

History: Constructed 1857-58. First Lighted July 1, 1858

Visit Status: Grounds only, access by boat or sea plane from Key West. Periodically opened by park rangers.

Garden Key Lighthouse

 

Active:  Yes

Characteristics: Red and white flashing light (originally); Current: flashing white every 6 seconds with 1 red sector

Height: 82 feet

DayMark: White dwelling on brown pile foundation with black lantern

History: Constructed in 1886. First Lighted November 1, 1886.

Visit Status: Accessible by boat only out of Key West.

Key West Lighthouse

 

Active: No

Characteristics: Fixed, white light.

Height: 86 feet, 98 steps

DayMark: White-washed conical brick tower with a black lantern

History: Constructed 1847. First Lighted January 15, 1848. On National Register Listing. Deactivated: December 1, 1969. Restored in 1989-91.

Visit Status: Open to Public. Museum, Gift Shop, handicap accessible. Admission includes restored keeper’s dwelling with museum, and displays of several Fresnel lenses, including the first-order fixed lens from the Sombrero Reef Lighthouse.

Key West Lighthouse Web Site »

Sand Key Lighthouse

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: Two-group flashing white every 15-seconds.

Height: 132 feet, 112 steps

DayMark: Brown, square pyramidal skeletal tower with white lantern

History: Constructed 1852-1853. First Lighted July 20, 1853. Active, but deactivated 1989-1996 during restoration. On National Register Listing.

Visit Status: Closed to public. Approachable by boat from Key West.

Sand Key Lighthouse Web Site »

American Shoals Lighthouse

With the completion of the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse in 1878, five offshore lighthouses stood guard over Florida’s reefs between Miami and Key West. In this chain of lights, the greatest distance between any neighboring two was a 50-mile gap between the Sand Key and Sombrero Key Lighthouses. Establishing a light there would reduce the largest inter-lighthouse distance to 36 miles, a space that could be covered by a first-order lighthouse.

As early as 1859, markers were in place to warn ships about the dangerous reef,  and while they were helpful in daylight hours, they offered no assistance to a vessel transiting the area at night.

American Shoal was funded on June 20, 1878. The Lighthouse Board adapted plans from the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse and hired the Phoenix Iron Company of Trenton, New Jersey fabricate the tower, which was shipped to Florida in late 1879.

To create a work platform at the site, piles of mangrove wood tipped with iron were driven into the coral reef and then topped by wooden decking.

The first-order Fresnel lens used in the American Shoal Lighthouse

The American Shoal Lighthouse received several enhancements over the years. Its light source was upgraded to an incandescent oil vapor system in 1912, eliminating the need to keep a wick meticulously trimmed. Red glass panes were added to the lantern room to indicate the sectors where dangerous reefs were located. In 1931, a generous woman in Key West gave radio sets to the keepers at the American Shoal, Sombrero Key, Alligator Reef, and Carysfort Reef lighthouse as a Christmas present.

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: Three-group flashing white every 15-seconds with two red sectors.

Height: 124 feet

DayMark: Brown octagonal pyramidal skeletal tower enclosing white staricase and brown octagonal dwelling; screwpile foundation.

History: Constructed 1879 - 1880. First Lighted: July 15, 1880.

Visit Status: Closed to public. From Sugarloaf Key the lighthouse is approachable by boat and can be seen from shore

American Shoals Lighthouse Web Site »

Sombrero Key Lighthouse

Located on a partially submerged reef near Key Vaca, Sombrero Key is the tallest skeletal lighthouse of the six currently in the Florida reefs.

The name Sombrero Key goes back to the time of early Spanish explorers, whose charts show a small island at the location. By the late 1800s, the island had eroded away leaving only the high points in the reef exposed at low tide.

After construction delays caused by a hurricane in 1856, the 142-foot, cast iron lighthouse was put in service in 1858. The foundation is iron pilings with 8-foot diameter disks that secure it to the reef. The lower platform, about 15 feet above the water, was used for water and fuel tanks, the generator, supplies and a workshop. The keeper’s quarters were located on the upper platform, 40 feet above the water. Unlike many of Florida’s lighthouses, the Sombrero Key stayed lit through the Civil War.

After the lighthouse was automated in 1960, the keepers were no longer need on the site. The original first order Fresnel lens is now on display in the Key West Lighthouse Museum.

The Sombrero Key lighthouse is still in operation today and can be seen from land at Sombrero Beach State Park.

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: Five-group flashing white every 60-seconds with three red sectors.

Height: 156 feet, 133 steps

DayMark: Brown, octagonal, pyramidal skeletal tower

Visit Status: Closed to public. Approachable by boat from Marathon and can be seen from land at Sombrero Beach State Park.

Sombrero Key Lighthouse Web Site »

Alligator Reef Lighthouse

Alligator Reef and its lighthouse are named for the USS Alligator, which ran aground nearby during an anti-piracy mission in Cuba.

After efforts to mark the dangerous area with daymarkers failed, increased shipping traffic in the 1850s justified a more permanent solution. Initial plans were waylayed by the Civil War, but construction on the iron pile structure began in 1870 in Cold Spring, New York. The lighthouse was secured to the reef by large iron disks which stabilized the foundation piles and was finished in 1873. 

The lighthouse was fully automated in 1963 and still operates today, visible from Islamorada.

 

 

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: Four-group flashing white every 60-seconds with two red sectors.

Height: 150 feet

DayMark: White octagonal, pyramid skeletal tower enclosing stair cylinder and square dwelling; black pile foundation

Visit Status: Closed to public

Alligator Reef Lighthouse Web Site »

Carysfort Reef Lighthouse

Carysfort Reef, the oldest reef lighthouse, lies six miles off Key Largo and is named for the twenty-eight gun frigate HMS Carysfort, which ran aground near the site in 1770.

After several ill-fated attempts to mark the dangerous reef with lightships, Congress allocated funds to build a permanent lighthouse in 1848. The original plans for a masonry tower were abandoned when it was discovered that the coral was a just a thin layer over soft sand. To stabilize the structure, each foundation pile was threaded through the center of a large cast-iron disk. This method distributed the weight of the tower over a large area of coral.

The tower became active on July 31, 1852. The lighthouse was originally outfitted with eighteen lamps set in twenty-one-inch reflectors. In 1855, they were replaced by a first-order Fresnel lens.

In 1962, the Coast Guard automated the light. At that time, the first-order lens was replaced by a fixed, third-order lens. The third-order lens was removed in 1982, when a modern beacon was placed in the tower.

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: Three-group flashing white every 60-seconds with three red sectors.

Height: 112 feet

DayMark: Dark red octagonal, pyramidal skeletal tower enclosing stair cylinder and conical dwelling; black screwpile foundation.

Visit Status: Closed to public. Cannot be seen from land. Boats can be chartered out of Key Largo to go out to the light or from John Pennekamp Coral Reef State Park.

Carysfort Reef Lighthouse Web Site »

Fowey Rock Lighthouse

Named for a famous 1748 shipwreck of the HMS Fowey, the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse has been in place on Florida’s reef since 1878.

Fowey Rocks Light is located seven miles southeast of Cape Florida on Key Biscayne. The skeletal tower lighthouse was part of an effort to more directly mark the hazardous reefs along the coast. It replaced the Cape Florida Lighthouse, which was located on the mainland roughly four miles from the reefs.

A circular area offshore with a radius of 235 ½ feet was deeded by the state of Florida to the federal government in January 1875 for the construction of the lighthouse. The light stands 110 feet above the water on a cast iron structure is built on a screw-pile foundation secured to the hard coral reef. The skeletal tower framework is brown and the dwelling and enclosed circular stair is white. The original first-order drum Fresnel lens stood about 12 feet high and weighed about a ton. The lamps were lit for the first time in June 1878.

The isolated lighthouse was manned by keepers until the Coast Guard automated the light in 1974. Red panels have been added to the lantern room to warn mariners of the reefs located north and south of the tower.

The lighthouse is still in operation today, and the site is a popular spot for fishing, snorkeling and scuba diving.

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: Flashing white every ten seconds with two red sectors.

Height: 125 feet

DayMark: Brown octagonal, pyramidal skeletal tower enclosing white stair cylinder: octagonal dwelling with green trim and shutters.

Visit Status: Closed to public. Can be seen from Cape Florida but approachable only by boat.

Fowey Rock Lighthouse Web Site »

Cape Florida Lighthouse

Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park is home to the oldest standing structure in Miami-Dade County: a historic lighthouse built in 1825 and reconstructed in 1846. 

While the original construction contract called for a 65-foot-tall tower with walls of solid brick, it was soon discovered that the contractor had scrimped on materials and built hollow walls. In 1835 a major hurricane struck the island, damaging the under-built lighthouse and the keeper's house, and submerging the island under three feet of water.

The lighthouse was attacked and burned in 1836 during the Second Seminole War. Two keepers trapped in the tower had to flee to a narrow platform outside the lantern when the hundreds of gallons of lamp oil inside the tower went up in flames. One man died during the attack and the other was rescued by the United States Navy schooner Motto, which had been alerted by the sound of an exploding keg of gunpowder inside the tower.

The threat of further attacks delayed repairs for 10 years. Finally, in 1846, the tower and keeper’s house were restored using a mix of original bricks and new materials. In 1855 the height of the tower was increased to 95 feet in order to extend the reach of the light beyond the offshore reefs. The extended tower with a new, more powerful light was re-lit in March 1856.

Confederate sympathizers destroyed the lighthouse lamp and lens in 1861. Although the light was repaired in 1866, it was deemed insufficient for warning ships away from offshore reefs. When the Fowey Rocks Lighthouse, seven miles southeast of Cape Florida, was completed in 1878, the Cape Florida lighthouse was taken out of service.

The historic compound in Bill Baggs State Park and Recreation Area now includes the newly restored, 95-foot white-brick tower and a replica of the lighthouse keeper's 1825 cottage.

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: Flashing white every five seconds.

Height: 95 feet, 112 steps

DayMark: White-washed conical brick tower with black lantern.

Visit Status: Open to Public: Museum, Gift Shop, handicap accessible

Cape Florida Lighthouse Web Site »

Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse

The Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse structure was built in Detroit in 1906 and shipped through the Great Lakes, down the Illinois and Mississippi Rivers, through the Gulf Mexico and Key West, making a 4,000 nautical-mile trip to get to the site on the Atlantic coast. The lighthouse was lit for the first time in March 1907, illuminated with one vaporized kerosene lamp.

The southern tip of the island at Hillsboro inlet is vulnerable to storms, and in the 1920s several major hurricanes weakened the lighthouse structure, but it remained standing. In 1930 a heavy stone breakwater, 260-feet long, was installed at base of the lighthouse to stabilize the land against the sea. The light was electrified in 1932 with three 250-watt bulbs.

For safety purposes, the light was extinguished from 1941 to 1945 during World War II.

In 1966, the light was upgraded, increasing the lighthouse signal range to 28 nautical miles. In 1974, the lighthouse was fully automated – while a photocell switch turns the bulb on and off, the lens rotates 24 hours a day.

The lighthouse underwent a number of equipment and cosmetic upgrades in the late 1990s.

In August 2000, the community held a re-lighting ceremony to celebrate completion of the refurbishment.

The U.S. Postal Service issued a commemorative Hillsboro Lighthouse stamp in 2003.

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: Flashing white every twenty seconds.

Height: 142 feet, 175 steps

DayMark: Bottom half painted white; top half, including lantern, painted black.

Visit Status: Limited access to the public. This iron-skeletal lighthouse is in a restricted area and normally closed to the public. It can be viewed by boat, or from Hillsboro Inlet Park at the A1A drawbridge.

Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse Web Site »

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

Construction for the Jupiter Inlet lighthouse was approved in 1853 and a site was chosen near the junction of the Loxahatchee and Indian Rivers. Here the planners found an unusual feature: a hill with an elevation of 46 feet, which was later found to be part of a centuries-old Native American settlement. It was the perfect place to add additional height and visibility while keeping the structure away from the encroaching sea.

In 1855, the Third Seminole War suspended work on the lighthouse, but in 1858 the conflict was resolved and construction resumed. The 108-foot-tall lighthouse began operating in 1860. Just over a year after it was first lit, the lighting apparatus was stolen and the lighthouse remained dark after the end of the Civil War.

The tower was electrified in 1928.

Public tours of the Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse were first offered by the Loxahatchee Historical Society in 1994.

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: Currently: 1.2 second flash, 6.6 second dim, 1.2 second flash, 21 second eclipse

Height: 108 feet built on a 48 foot natural parabolic dune topped with Indian oyster shell, 105 steps

DayMark: Red-washed brick conical tower with black lantern

Visit Status: Open to Public. Museum in restored WWII Building, Gift Shop, Snack Shop, Outdoor Exhibits, Wedding Gazebo, Nature Trail, ADA accessible.

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse Web Site »

Sanibel Island Lighthouse

Sanibel Island’s lighthouse was almost derailed by a shipwreck.

Residents of Sanibel Island began petitioning for a lighthouse in 1833, but it wasn’t until 1877 that government workers surveyed the eastern end of the island and reserved it for a lighthouse. Congress appropriated the construction funds in 1883 and the foundation for the new lighthouse was completed in early 1884.

The superstructure was fabricated in the north and shipped to the site, but just two miles from Sanibel Island, the ship carrying the lighthouse material for both the Sanibel and Cape San Blas lighthouses sank. A crew of divers from Key West recovered all but two of the pieces for the tower. Construction continued quickly, and the lighthouse was lit later that year. Just like its twin at Cape San Blas, the central column of the Sanibel Island Lighthouse stops about ten feet from the ground and must be accessed by an external staircase.

The Coast Guard electrified Sanibel Island Lighthouse in 1962. In the process of electrifying the light the Coast Guard removed the tower's third-order Fresnel lens and installed a 300-millimeter drum lens that had been used on a lightship. A 190-millimeter beacon was placed in the lantern room in the 1980s.

In 1972, the Coast Guard proposed discontinuing the lighthouse, but the community and mariners rallied behind keeping the historic structure in service and convinced the Coast Guard to keep it lit. It was placed on the National Registry of Historic places in 1974 and the City of Sanibel assumed management of the lighthouse property, except the tower, in 1982. 

The lighthouse itself was transferred from the Coast Guard to the Bureau of Land Management in 2000, and officially transferred to the city in 2010.

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: Flashing white twice every six seconds.

Height: 112 feet, 101 steps

DayMark: Brown square pyramidal skeletal tower enclosing stair cylinder

Visit Status: Grounds Only, Museum, Gift Shop. The lighthouse is on the grounds of a city park. Lighthouse is closed; keepers’ dwellings are residences for city employees.

Boca Grande Lighthouse

Port Boca Grande Light was first lit on December 31, 1890. It is a two-story frame dwelling raised on iron screw-piles, with the lantern placed in a cupola at the peak of the roof. The keeper lived in the lighthouse. A similar house (without a lantern) built next to it was the assistant keeper's dwelling.

The Port Boca Grande Light originally served ships transporting cattle from ports on Charlotte Harbor to Cuba. Phosphate ore from the Peace River area became an important cargo in the 1890s, and an extension of the Seaboard Air Line Railroad to Port Boca Grande in 1909 resulted in increased traffic. Ship traffic to Port Boca Grande peaked at more than 30 ships a day during World War II, when Port Boca Grande served as a safe harbor for shipping in the Gulf.

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics:  White light flashes every four seconds.

Height: 44 feet, 60 steps

DayMark: White frame dwelling with green shutters and a black lantern tower

Location: Inside Gasparilla Island State Park, and managed and operated by Barrier Island Parks Society.

Visit Status: Open to Public

Boca Grande Lighthouse Web Site »

Egmont Key Lighthouse

After Florida achieved statehood in 1845, industry, trade and maritime traffic began to boom. A lighthouse at Egmont Key was requested to assist ships traveling along Florida’s Gulf Coast between Key West and the Panhandle.

Work began on the 40-foot, brick tower lighthouse during the summer of 1847, and the lamps were to be lit by January 1, 1848. However, the supply ship Abbe Baker, transporting bricks from New York, ran aground on Orange Key, and half the bricks had to be tossed overboard to refloat the ship. Work was halted until a new shipment of bricks arrived. The tower was officially certified in April 1848. At that time, the lighthouse was the only one between Key West and St. Marks.

The structure was soon compromised by both a hurricane and a lightning strike. By 1857 it had to be demolished and a new 80-foot tower was completed about 90 feet inland from the previous site. The new tower was lit in 1858.

In 1861, in the throes of the Civil War, keeper George V. Rickard fled to Tampa with the tower’s Fresnel lens, and the lighthouse fell under Union control. The Union army reactivated the tower using a makeshift light. After the war, the lighthouse resumed service with a new lens.

In 1944, the upper portion of the lighthouse was removed along with the Fresnel lens, and a rotating beacon was placed on top of the capped tower.

Egmont Key became a National Wildlife Refuge in 1974 and the island was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1978 thanks to the lighthouse and remains of Fort Dade. The lighthouse was automated in 1989. Today, the island and lighthouse are managed by Florida Park Service and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: Fixed white light (originally; flashing white every fifteen seconds (currently).

Height: 76 feet, 99 steps

Day Mark: White conical tower (no lantern).

Visitor Info: The grounds are open to the public daily, base of tower open occasionally.

Egmont Key Lighthouse Web Site »

Boca Grande Rear Range Lighthouse

Cheaper and more mobile than stone structures, pyramidal skeleton towers like the one at Boca Grand Rear Ridge became popular in the late 1800s. This tower originally served as the Delaware Breakwater Rear Range Light. It was dismantled and shipped to Florida by rail in 1921. In 1927 it was reassembled and rechristened the Boca Grande Rear Range Lighthouse. The transplanted tower was lit in 1932.

Rear range lights work with front range lights located offshore. A captain positions his vessel so the rear range light is directly above the light of the front range, placing the vessel in the middle of the shipping channel. The Boca Grande Rear Range Light remains in operation today as the Gasparilla Island Light, maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard Station St. Petersburg Aids to Navigation Team.

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: Flashes every six seconds.

DayMark: White steel skeletal tower.

Height: 105 feet

Visit Status: Located within the Gasparilla Island State Park. The tower is not open to the public, but visitors can walk up to it.

Anclote Key Lighthouse

The Anclote Key lighthouse sits on the southern tip of Anclote Key, off the coast of Tarpon Springs at the mouth of the Anclote River. Although the name Anclote appears on maps dating as far back as 1715, the area wasn’t settle until the 1860s.

A growing population and increased trade created the need for a lighthouse. The lighthouse tower was prefabricated in the north and shipped to the island, arriving in June of 1887. It took just three months to assemble the cast-iron structure and it was lit for the first time on September 15, 1887.

Unlike so many of Florida’s lighthouses, the Alcote Key lighthouse tower still stands on its original site, surviving hurricanes and safe from erosion. The beaches surrounding the lighthouse were a popular attraction for the residents of Tarpon Springs, and far from being isolated, it was considered a true part of the community for many decades.

The lighthouse was automated in 1952 and was still in use until 1984 when the light was finally extinguished. Its duties were assumed by tall smokestack in Tarpon Springs, which was equipped with strobe lights. After the light went out, the island became a haven for vandals and the tower and the surrounding buildings were damaged and suffering from neglect.

A massive restoration effort was launched in January 2003 to preserve the lighthouse and what remained of the surrounding structures. By September of that year, the light was on at the Alcote Key Lighthouse again. In November 2004, the temporary modern beacon was replaced with an accurate replica of a fourth-order Fresnel lens. Today the Anclote Keys State Preserve envelops Anclote Key and the area is accessible only by private boat or ferry service.

 

Active: Yes

Height: 96 feet, 138 steps

Day Mark: Rust-colored, square, pyramidal skeletal tower with black top (originally all black)

Visit Status: Private Aid to Navigation, No Access

Anclote Key Lighthouse Web Site »

Cape Canaveral Lighthouse

The smaller, original Cap Canaveral lighthouse was built in 1848 on a site about very near the shore. From the start, mariners complained that the 65-foot brick tower was insufficient. A new tower was authorized in 1860, but put on hold until after the Civil War. When the war ended, a unique tower composed of metal plates with a brick lining was erected not far from the original lighthouse. The 160-foot tower was lit in May 1868.

The two towers stood side-by-side for two decades. Erosion prompted the decision  to relocate the metal-lined tower further inland. The original brick lighthouse was blown up and used as fill material. The light was relit in July 1894. The site where the two lighthouses stood was never lost to the sea and can still be seen about 400 feet from the ocean.

The Cape Canaveral Lighthouse was automated in 1967. The lighthouse became property of the U.S. Air Force in December of 2000. After a massive restoration, it was relit in April 2007. It is the only fully operational lighthouse owned by the United States Air Force.

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: 2 flashes in 5 seconds followed by a 15 second eclipse.

Height: 145 feet, 179 steps

DayMark: Conical iron tower with black and white horizontal bands.

Visitor Info: The Cape Canaveral lighthouse is now open to the public.

Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Web Site »

Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse

The Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse began as the Mosquito Inlet Lighthouse in 1883. The tower was first lit in November 1887 and could be seen 20 miles to sea. Mosquito Inlet was renamed Ponce de Leon Inlet 1927 to draw more visitors and residents.

In 1933, the tower light was electrified with a 500-watt electric lamp and the original first order fixed lens was replaced by a third-order revolving, flashing lens. 
The Lighthouse was transferred from the abolished Lighthouse Service to the Coast Guard in 1939. During World War II, the buildings were used as barracks for the Coast Guardsmen who stood watch against enemy submarines.

The lighthouse was completely automated in late 1953. In 1970, the Coast Guard abandoned it and established a new light on the south side of the Inlet. The original light station was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1972 and designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998.

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: Flashing white 6 times in 15 seconds, then a 15 second eclipse.

Height: 175 feet, 213 steps

DayMark: Red-washed brick with a black lantern

Visit Status: Open to Public. Museum, Gift Shop, handicap accessible

Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse Web Site »

Cedar Keys Lighthouse

Unlike many of Florida’s traditional tower lighthouses, Cedar Keys light station is a seventy-foot-square building with a hipped roof. At the center a spiral staircase leads to the lantern room. The lighthouse was built on a mound that rises 52 feet above sea level, which helped make the light visible 15 miles at sea. While the importance of the Cedar Keys as a military and shipping port was establishing during the Second Seminole Indian War (1835-1842), the light station on Seahorse Island wasn’t completed until August 1854.

Equipped with a lighthouse, the Cedar Keys began to attract commercial investors and industry. The area's plentiful cedar trees drew pencil magnate Eberhard Faber to the coast, where he established a pencil mill on Atsena Otie Key in 1855.

The Cedar Keys Lighthouse was extinguished at the onset of the Civil War, and in 1862, Union forces blockaded the keys, destroyed the port and rail terminus at Cedar Key and all structures of military value at Seahorse Key.

The lighthouse returned to service in 1866 as the Cedar Keys renewed its post-war industry and trade.  But in the 1890s, a railroad was built to Tampa, siphoning off maritime shipping traffic from the Cedar Key port. The mills and factories we all but destroyed by a hurricane in 1896, and by 1915 the light was no longer required for shipping vessels and was extinguished.

The Cedar Key National Wildlife Refuge was established in 1929 and expanded to encompass Seahorse Key in 1936. Since 1952, a three-acre parcel that includes the lighthouse has been leased to the University of Florida for use as part of its Seahorse Key Marine Laboratory. The lighthouse now serves as a dormitory for scientists and students.

 

Active: No

Characteristics: Fixed white light (originally).

Height: 33 feet, 35 steps

Day Mark: White house-style structure with white lantern.

St Augustine Lighthouse

The St. Augustine lighthouse is the city’s oldest surviving brick structure.

But 50 years before it went into service, St. Augustine was the site of the oldest aid to navigation in North America. It was originally proposed that an old, Spanish watchtower located near the current site be converted into a lighthouse, but the watchtower was deemed unsound. In 1824, the city’s first brick lighthouse, rising to a height of 73 feet, was placed in service.

The light was extinguished during the Civil War, and erosion became a threat to the lighthouse structure. A breakwater was built to protect it, but new lighthouse was needed further inland.

The lighthouse that is still standing today was built in 1871. It rises 165 feet above sea level and contains 219 steps. It was originally equipped with a first order Fresnel lens made up of 370 hand-cut glass prisms in a construction towering twelve feet tall and six feet in diameter. The new lighthouse commenced operation in October 1874. The light was converted to kerosene in 1855.

In 1880, the old 73-foot tower crumbled into the sea during a storm.

Light keepers lived and worked at the lighthouse until the tower was automated in 1955. The light was fully automated in 1971, when a sun relay was installed to activate and deactivate the light.

The tower has been open to the public since 1993. In July 2002, the U.S. Coast Guard, through the General Services Administration, transferred the deed for the tower to the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum, Inc. through the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act of 2000. The original Fresnel lens can be seen in the museum.

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: Fixed white light with a flash every 30 seconds.

Height: 167 feet, 219 steps

DayMark: Black & white spiral stripes with a red lantern

Visit Status: Open to Public. Museum, Gift Shop, handicap accessible.

St Augustine Lighthouse Web Site »

St Johns Lighthouse

St. Johns Lighthouse replaced the St. Johns River Lighthouse and its successor the lightship St. Johns. Built in 1954, the 64-foot concrete tower is square with beveled corners. The light is located on top of the flat-roofed tower and a pulley system lowers the light into the tower for cleaning or repair. The lighthouse was automated in 1967.

While the original light was under a Plexiglas dome, today’s solar-powered beacon is fully exposed atop the tower where it can be seen from up to 22 miles at sea.

The lighthouse is located on the Mayport Naval Base and is closed to the public.

 

 

 

Active: Yes

Height: 66 feet

Characteristics: Group flashing white every 20 seconds

Daymark: Square tower with beveled corners, white tower on building

Visit status: Closed to the public.

Amelia Island Lighthouse

Amelia Island is the state's oldest lighthouse to have survived without major rebuilding. The original site on Cumberland Island was the southernmost site on the U.S. Atlantic coast, as Florida was then under Spanish rule. The lighthouse was completed in 1820.

In 1838, the lighthouse was moved to the highest spot on Amelia Island. It was taken out of service during the Civil War, but escaped unscathed and quickly returned to service after the war’s end.

The tower was electrified in the 1930s and fully automated in 1970. In 2001, the lighthouse was officially handed over to the city.

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: Flashes every 10 seconds; has red sector on the southeast.

Height: 64 feet, 69 steps

DayMark: White conical tower with black lantern

Visit Status: Lighthouse grounds are open to the public every Saturday between 11am and 2pm.

Amelia Island Lighthouse Web Site »

St Johns River Lighthouse

The existing St. Johns River lighthouse is the third at the site. The previous towers, built in 1830 and 1835, were felled by erosion.

The current tower originally stood 63-feet tall and was lit for the first time in 1859. It remained in operation during the Civil War until a Confederate sympathizer shot out the light in 1864. The lighthouse was relit in 1867.

Despite increasing its height to 80 feet, the tower was insufficient for the site and in 1929, a Georgia lightship was reassigned to a position offshore. The lighthouse proved redundant and was extinguished in 1930. The lightship was replaced by the St. Johns Lighthouse in 1954.

 

 

 

Active: No

Characteristics: Fixed white with a red sector.

Height: 80 feet, 90 steps

DayMark: Red-washed conical brick tower with white lantern

History: Constructed in 1858. First Lighted January 1, 1859. Deactivated 1929. Tower was repainted by the Navy in 2000.

Visit Status: The tower is located on the Mayport Naval Station and is not open to the public. The lighthouse can be seen from the road east of the Mayport ferry.

Cape St George Lighthouse

Plagued by storms, St. George Island has been the site of three lighthouses. The first lighthouse on Cape St. George was built in 1833 on the western edge of the island, which is located eight miles offshore of Apalachicola in the Gulf of Mexico. Ships approaching from the eastern side of the light found it insufficient, and when the 65-foot tall light was destroyed by storms in 1846, a new site was chosen at the more visible southern tip of the island.

The second light was 10 feet taller and was constructed reusing many of the materials from the original lighthouse. Completed in 1848, it lasted just three years, before it was destroyed by a hurricane in August 1851. The third light was built in 1852, 500 yards inland with a stronger structure using pine pilings driven deep into the sandy soil. In 1949, the Coast Guard installed an automated light, and by the 1950s lighthouse keepers were no longer needed, although the keeper’s house and oilhouse remained on the island.

Beginning in 1992, storms and natural erosion had once again placed the lighthouse in peril. That year, Hurricane Andrew washed away a large part of the beach near the lighthouse. With the structure in peril, the Coast Guard deactivated the light in 1994.

During Hurricane Opal in 1995, the tidal surge pushed the lighthouse off its foundation. The lighthouse settled into the sandy ground and developed a seven-degree lean. A rescue effort kept the lighthouse from tipping into the gulf, but the reinforcements weren't enough to save the lighthouse from Hurricane Wilma in 2005. The lighthouse toppled into the Gulf of Mexico. 

A volunteer effort was launched and the original plans were obtained from the National Archives. Local volunteers chipped the mortar from thousands of the salvaged bricks. The lighthouse was reconstructed on St. George Island, using as much of the original materials as possible. The reconstructed lighthouse opened to the public in 2008.

 

Active: Yes, November through April (Off May through October to accommodate the nesting sea turtles per the U. S. Coast Guard)

Characteristics: Flashing white every 6-seconds (1977-1994).  Reactivated November 1, 2009 by the U. S. Coast Guard.

Height: 74 feet

DayMark: White conical tower with black lantern

Cape St George Lighthouse Web Site »

Crooked River Lighthouse

For more than 100 years the Crooked River Lighthouse, also known as the Carabelle Lighthouse, has guided timber ships and local fishermen. The iron tower was built to last following a series of three Dog Island lighthouses that were destroyed by storms in 1842, 1851 and 1873. 

After those failed attempts, there was a long wait before a lighthouse was considered for the treacherous pass between Dog and St. George islands at the mouth of the Crooked River. Then, in the 1880s, a lumber boom rekindled interest in building a lighthouse to guide the increased number of large ships using the port.

A new 103-foot iron tower built on the mainland to the west of Dog Island and was first lit in October 1895. The light was electrified in 1933, and then automated in 1952. As the tower no longer required daily attention, the keeper’s dwellings were sold at auction in 1964.

The Crooked River Lighthouse was decommissioned by the U.S. Coast Guard in 1995.  The Carrabelle Lighthouse Association several grants to restore the Crooked River Lighthouse and create a public park. The refurbished tower was reactivated in 2007 with a new lens that produces the flash sequence of the original Fresnel lens. The Crooked River Lighthouse Keeper's House Museum opened in 2009.

 

Active: No

Characteristics: Two-group flashing white, flashes every twelve and a half seconds.

Height: 103 feet, 138 steps

DayMark: Square, pyramidal, skeletal tower; lower half white; upper half dark red with a black lantern.

Crooked River Lighthouse Web Site »

St Marks Lighthouse

As early as the 1820s St. Marks was a busy shipping port, serving a long expanse of the Gulf Coast from what is now central Florida to the panhandle and the southern reaches of Georgia.
To serve the busy corridor, The St. Marks lighthouse project was initiated in 1828 by Florida's territorial Governor William P. DuVal. The first design, which had hollow walls, was rejected and a new structure with solid walls was built in its place and completed in 1831. This structure was threatened by erosion and was moved further inland in 1842. The tower survived several hurricanes in the ensuing decades, but in 1865 it came under threat from Union troops as the Federal fleet shelled the lighthouse from ships in Apalachee Bay. Confederate troops attempted to blow up the lighthouse during their retreat but only succeeded in damaging the structure. It was completely rebuilt after the war to a height of 82 feet and the original lighting apparatus was restored. The lighthouse was automated in 1960 and remains active today in the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge.

 

Active: Yes
Characteristics: Occulting white light every four seconds (electric flasher)
Height: 88 feet, 85 steps
Day Mark: White-washed conical brick tower with a black lantern

St Marks Lighthouse Web Site »

St Joseph Point Lighthouse

The town of St. Joseph was established in 1836 on St. Joseph Bay, where railroads connected the prosperous port to the Appalachicola River. The area grew quickly, and soon shipping traffic warranted a lighthouse at the entrance of the bay. The first lighthouse at the location, a 50-foot tower, was constructed during 1838 and activated for the first time in early 1839.

In 1841, yellow fever all but wiped out the community. Then, just two years later, a hurricane destroyed what remained of the city, leaving it a ghost town. But the lighthouse remained active until 1847 when it was replaced by a new lighthouse at Cape San Blas.

The town remained largely abandoned until the turn of the century, when the city of Port of St. Joe was established about two miles north of the original St. Joseph site. Another lighthouse was built on the mainland at Beacon Hill in 1902. Instead of a tower, a lantern room was mounted on a square watch room atop a hipped-roof keeper’s dwelling. A second beacon was established 600 feet seaward and together the beacons functioned as range lights. During World War II the lower area of the main house was enclosed providing sleeping quarters for the Coast Guard beach patrol.

In 1960, the lighthouse was replaced with a 78-foot iron tower and the dwelling was sold to a private buyer who moved the structure inland and used it as a dwelling and a barn. In 1979, the lighthouse was sold again and moved back to St. Joseph Bay. The ensuing 43-year restoration project was guided by the original blueprints for the St. Joseph Point Light Station and was completed in 2011.

The lighthouse is a private residence, but can be viewed from the road.

 

Cape San Blas Lighthouse

Cape San Blas has the distinction of having had the most lighthouse towers on it's site of any location in Florida, the present tower being the fourth at this location. You might say that the Cape San Blas was the hard luck light. The original 65 foot brick tower was built in 1848 and was destroyed by a hurricane only three years later. A second brick tower was completed in 1855 and fell to a hurricane only 10 months later. A third brick tower equipped with a third order lens was completed and lit in May of 1859. During the Civil War the Confederate Army burned the keepers quarters and all the other buildings to prevent their use by the Union forces, but the light tower survived. The Confederate lighthouse superintendent had removed the lamp and clockwork apparatus before the attack. The lamp was reinstalled and relit on July 15, 1866. The Gulf waters eroded the land from around the tower until it stood in 8 feet of water, and the lighthouse keeper had to row out to the light. On July 3, 1882 the tower fell into the sea.

It was decided to replace the light with a steel skeletal tower, however, the ship delivering the supplies sank off Sanibel Island. Fortunately, the ship went down in shallow waters and the tower was reclaimed. On June 30, 1885 the new tower was lit using the third order lens from the previous tower. Incessant erosion continued to threaten the tower, and in 1918 it was dismantled and moved about a quarter mile to it's present location. The light was discontinued on January 18, 1996.

 

Height: 96 feet, 138 steps

History: Contructed in 1885. First Lighted: June 30, 1885. Deactivated Jan 18, 1996.

Cape San Blas Lighthouse Web Site »

Pensacola Lighthouse

Climb 177 steps up the historic Pensacola Lighthouse & Museum for one of the most beautiful views on the Gulf Coast. Built in 1859, the lighthouse is located on board NAS Pensacola.

The top of the tower offers stunning views of Pensacola Pass (where Pensacola Bay meets the Gulf of Mexico), three forts, the Pensacola skyline and the historic Navy Yard. The fully restored Keepers' Quarters, built in 1869, is home to a museum and a gift shop.

Visit this historic spot in America's First Settlement, established in 1559. Make a day of it and visit the National Naval Aviation Museum and Fort Barrancas while you're here. Our nature walk takes you to the white sands of beautiful quiet-water beach–a perfect beach for kids. Bring the family and a picnic lunch and stay a while.

 

Active: Yes

Characteristics: White flashing every twenty seconds.

Height: 150 feet, 177 steps

History: Constructed 1856 -1858. First Lighted January 1, 1859. On National Register Listing.

Pensacola Lighthouse Web Site »