A lighthouse tower is meant to serve as a location beacon for those navigating the waterways. Given that we live among a multitude of waterways in Northeast Florida, we are gifted with many lighthouses to serve our maritime pilots as well as provide historic background to tourists and locals alike.
As a former New Yorker from Long Island I had visited Montauk Point with my family more times than I can count on both hands and was always fascinated by the Montauk Point lighthouse. In fact, the day after prom in 1986 (yes, I’m dating myself) I chose to drive out to Montauk from my Brentwood, Long Island home to visit the one place that brought me such peace and perspective in life. No, I wasn’t much of the “party animal” on prom weekend as you can tell! Just four years later when I chose to leave my New York roots behind and move to sunny Florida, I landed in St. Augustine, Florida where my fascination for lighthouses continued on Anastasia Island.
These days there’s a “National Day” for nearly everything imaginable. With National Lighthouse Day being August 7 every year, there’s no better time to chat about the lighthouses in Northeast Florida. Did you know you can climb to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse on Anastasia Island in St. Augustine? Weather permitting, visitors to the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum can climb the 219 steps to the observation deck of the lighthouse to relish in the views of the Salt Run, The Atlantic Ocean and the St. Augustine Inlet. It’s actually a fun adventure to share with the family when visiting the Ancient City and perfect day trip for those living in Ponte Vedra Beach since it’s just a short, relaxing drive down historic A1A.
In 2011 when my kids were tiny versions of their now adult selves, we took the trip from our home in Mandarin down to St. Augustine to do some touristy things, including a climb to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse. My daughter, just 9 at the time, broke out in tears after just one flight and about 190 steps more to climb. She eventually headed back down, refusing to traverse the climb to the top convinced she would meet her eminent demise. I did what every mom would do! No, not leave her behind, although the thought did cross my mind (don’t mom shame me), instead we headed back to the car. She didn’t like that the steps were grated and see through. It scared her to death but she immediately regretted not being brave when we got back in the car and decided she was going to do it …. and she did! She was in awe of the view and braved the edge of the observation deck railing for some photos.
I highly recommend making this adventure happen with the kids and family. It was an incredibly amazing view from atop the lighthouse. You could literally see for miles. This kids had a blast, I mean look at their cute tiny faces and smiles. Afterward be sure to tour the museum for a short history of the St. Augustine Lighthouse. If you’re feeling REALLY adventurous, take the evening lighthouse ghost tour too. It’s to DIE for (see what I did there?)
If you’re up for a longer trip, why not check out some of these other amazing lighthouses in Northeast and Central Florida as well as Southeast Georgia.
Amelia Island Lighthouse
Ponce Inlet Lighthouse & Museum
St. Simons Lighthouse & Museum