Rock Talk

5 Historic Northeast Lighthouses that are Worth a Detour

If there’s one thing nearly everyone is willing to stop and snap a photo of, it’s lighthouses. These tall, majestic structures once served as navigational directors, warning boats of dangerous coasts. Today they serve as museums, wedding venues and of course sharable photo ops.

The next time you’re traveling along the coast, be sure to keep an eye out for these historical Northeast lighthouses:

Boston Light in Massachusetts – This was the first lighthouse location in the United States. This light station was first lit in 1716, rebuilt in 1783 and currently serves as a U.S. Coast Guard navigational aid facility. The best way to visit Boston Light is by hopping aboard a Boston Harbor tour.

Montauk Point Lighthouse in New York – If you’ve been looking for an excuse to visit the Hamptons, just plan a trip to see New York’s Montauk Point Lighthouse. Completed in November 1796, and located at the eastern tip of Long Island, this National Historic Landmark is open to the public with regular tours. Not only is this lighthouse decorated with lights during the holidays, but weddings can be hosted on-site!

New London Harbor Light in Connecticut – First constructed in 1761 for roughly $285,000, New London Harbor Light is one of the earliest American lighthouses with a flashing light. From the top, you can see more lighthouses than any other place on earth, according to the Coast Guard. Unfortunately, the lighthouse is not currently open to the public.

Sandy Hook Lighthouse in New Jersey – Just recently reopened to the public, the Sandy Hook Lighthouse is the oldest operating lighthouse in the United States. It is also the only remaining original tower of the 11 lighthouses built in the 13 colonies prior to the American Revolution. Tours occur daily on a first-come-first-served basis between the hours of 1:00 and 4:30PM.  

White Island Light in New Hampshire – With just five lighthouses across the state, New Hampshire actually has more lighthouses on Lake Sunapee (3) than on its oceanic coast (2). But, if you’re looking to see the oldest lighthouse in New Hampshire, head to Rye. Here you’ll find the White Island Light, also known as the Isles of Shoals Light. This lighthouse was built in 1859 and automated in 1986. Since it’s located on an island, the best way to see this lighthouse is aboard a boat.

Have a favorite lighthouse we’ve left off the list? Let us know in the comments below. And, if you’re planning to travel via boat to see a lighthouse near you, spend some time brushing up on boat safety basics.

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