No trip to Cape Cod would be complete without checking out the historic lighthouses of Cape Cod. Overlooking the Atlantic ocean, these lighthouses on Cape Cod give visitors the opportunity to learn more about Cape Cod history while enjoying striking views of the ocean. Just like the Martha’s Vineyard lighthouses and the Nantucket Lighthouses, some of the Cape Cod lighthouses are still in use today, while others are historical landmarks open to visitors.
Lighthouses on Cape Cod
How Many Lighthouses on Cape Cod?
There are 14 lighthouses scattered around the Cape among the various towns of Cape Cod. Most of them are situated near the water on the Mid, Lower, and Outer Cape, although there are a few on the Upper Cape. Visiting a lighthouse on Cape Cod is a fun family activity and an easy way to break up a beach day on a Cape Cod beach.
Must-See Lighthouses of Cape Cod
Visiting some of the Massachusetts lighthouses is on many people’s New England things to do, and these are our favourite lighthouses on Cape Cod. Even if you are a major lighthouse lover, you will want to do the many other cool things to do in Cape Cod.
Located in Truro, the Highland Lighthouse is commonly referred to by locals as THE Cape Cod Lighthouse. Commissioned by George Washington in 1797, it was the first lighthouse ever built on the Cape. Although it was remodeled in 1857, it remains the oldest of the 14 lighthouses in the area.
It’s important to note that the Highland lighthouse is also not at the original location where it was initially built. Many lighthouses were in danger of slipping into the water due to cliff erosion, and the Highland Lighthouse was no exception. To avoid falling off the cliff, the lighthouse was moved 450-feet to the west.
The lighthouse is open to the public, and visitors can climb 69 steps to the top of the beacon. There’s also an on-site keeper’s shop as well as an information exhibition.
If you’re looking for panoramic views and jaw-dropping coastal surroundings, look no further than the Nobska Lighthouse in Falmouth MA.
Out of all the Cape Cod lighthouses, Nobksa has some of the best lookout points over the Vineyard Sound. Since it was constructed in 1876, Nobska was manned by dozens of lightkeepers, although it became fully automated in 1985.
Next to the lighthouse, you’ll find the keeper’s house, which was also built in 1876. There are plans to turn the keeper’s house into a maritime museum, which will offer permanent and rotating exhibits about Cape Cod’s history.
Standing almost 50-feet tall, the Chatham Lighthouse is one of the best in Cape Cod. Operated by the US Coast Guard, it is one of the last remaining lighthouses in the United States that operates 24 hours a day.
The original station consisted of two lighthouse towers, both of which were built in 1808. These two towers were rebuilt several times with different materials throughout the 1800s.
In 1923, one of the towers moved to Eastham and became the Nauset Lighthouse, while the other tower stayed to become the Chatham Lighthouse that you see today. Visitors can come for the US Coast Guard operated tours, or simply to admire the spectacular views of the Atlantic.
Race Point Light
The trek to Race Point Light is almost as impressive as the lighthouse itself. Located in Provincetown, Race Point can only be accessed by walking 45-minutes across the sand or renting a four-wheel-drive ATV or vehicle. Due to its remote location, it’s one of the most secluded Cape Cod lighthouses.
The original lighthouse tower was built in 1816 and was one of the first lighthouses to have a rotating light beacon. The original 25-foot tower was replaced just 50 years later by a larger and more stable iron-plated tower. There is also a keeper’s house and whistle house on the property, both of which were updated in the mid-1990s.
During your visit to Race Point, you’ll have the opportunity to tour the current beacon. For a truly unique and authentic New England experience, you can spend the night at the Race Point station. The keeper’s house and whistle house have both been remodeled to accommodate overnight visitors.
The bright white and red Nauset Lighthouse is easily one of the most recognizable lighthouses in Cape Cod, Massachusetts. Not only does it have a designated spot on the National Register of Historic Places, but it’s also the famous logo for Cape Cod Potato Chips.
Before it moved to Eastham in 1923, it was used for almost 50 years in Chatham, along with the current day Chatham Lighthouse. In the 1940s, the top part of the beacon was painted red, so incoming boats knew they were specifically coming towards Eastham.
Now, the Nauset Lighthouse is completely automated and is used by the Nauset Light Preservation Society, who offer tours of the beacon and neighboring oil house during the summer.
Map of Lighthouses on Cape Cod
Here are the 5 lighthouses mentioned above.
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