6 Historic and Tourable Lighthouses in Florida

L. Cane

There's something alluring about lighthouses to many people. The idea of a beacon that can guide vessels into a safe harbor is a comforting thought. Many people think of places such as Cape Cod and Michigan when they think of lighthouses, but Florida not only has some lovely, historic lighthouses, some are tourable. Below is a list of six:

Amelia Island Lighthouse: Built in 1831, this is the state's oldest lighthouse, and it has survived without major rebuilding. The beacon still guides boats into the channel toward the Fernandina Harbor today. The lighthouse's stairs are unique because they spiral to the top and are made of granite. Tours are available on the 1st and 3rd Wednesdays of each month and cost $5. One can view the property at 215 O'Hagan Lane on Saturdays from 11 to 2, but this only includes the grounds. Access to the inside of the lighthouse requires a tour. This lighthouse's photo is at the top of this article.

St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum: This lighthouse has historical significance because it dates back to the 1500s when a watchtower was built by the Spanish Crown on the current site. The lighthouse that stands today was built in 1874. According to Visit St. Augustine, the lighthouse has 219 steps and offers a view of the Atlantic Ocean. Tours include a visit to the Keeper's House and information about the site's colorful history. General admission is $14.95. The lighthouse is located at 81 Lighthouse Avenue in St. Augustine.

Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse is not only Florida's tallest lighthouse (at 175 feet), but it is also a National Historic Landmark, having been constructed in 1887. The tower and grounds are open most days, and adult admission is $6.95, but group tours are sometimes offered for free for Volusia County public school students who are part of a school group. The address for this lighthouse is 4931 South Peninsula Drive in Ponce Inlet.

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse and Museum was constructed between 1859 and 1860 and is on the National Register of Historic Places. The tower is 153 feet above sea level, and its light can be seen for 24 nautical miles. The site itself has a nature pathway, but be aware that, according to the lighthouse's website, uneven surfaces are common on the grounds, and current maintenance means the pathways may include gravel and an upward slope. General admission is $12, and the site is located at 500 Captain Armour's Way in Jupiter.

Key West Lighthouse: This structure was originally built in 1848 and was originally 66 feet tall. 20 additional feet were later added. This lighthouse has historical significance because a woman was the original keeper, which was very rare in the 19th century. Although the structure is no longer a working beacon, it is a working museum. The attraction is open to visitors and is 88 steps to the top. Admission is $17, and its location is 938 Whitehead Street in Key West.

Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse: This is the youngest lighthouse on the list, but it has historical significance as it was originally exhibited at the 1904 St. Louis Exposition. The tower is 132 feet tall, includes175 steps to the top, and can be seen for 25 miles. While the lighthouse isn't open to the public, tours that include boat rides are available in advance, with dates posted on the Lighthouse's website. You can view the lighthouse from a distance at Hillsboro Inlet Park.

Please note that it is always a good idea to call of check the website of any Florida destination you wish the visit as some areas can be affected by maintenance or other issues.

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