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Lighthouses in Boston, Massachusetts

Updated on January 25, 2012

Lighthouses in and Around Boston, MA

As one of the oldest cities in America, Boston has a lot of history. Like any city with a rich history, there are going to be historic structures backing up those stories. There's the Old North Church in the North End, the parked USS Constitution which sits in Boston Harbor, and Fenway Park. Standing much as they did hundreds of years ago, the Boston lighthouses are still largely intact, functioning, and even visited by tourists every year.

These lighthouses are best seen via a lighthouse tour of Boston Harbor, or through one of the many harbor tours offered from Long Wharf. From these cruises, you can often times spot most of the lighthouses that surround the city of Boston, including Boston Light, Grave's Ledge, and Deer Island Lighthouse.

Have you visited any of these lighthouses? Be sure to leave your review or experience in the comments section to tell us what you thought upon seeing them in person.

Boston Light

Located on Little Brewster Island, the lighthouse that stands on the outer edges of Boston Harbor is viewed from several spots around the state. On the south shore, you can catch a glimpse from Hull at the northernmost point. From East Boston, if you are up high enough, you can see the lighthouse in the distance on the water, along with Logan International Aiport. You'll also pass near this lighthouse on many Boston Harbor cruises. It's part of the Boston Harbor Islands National Park area, which includes many of the other old lighthouses the city has to offer. Built in 1783, the light tower has been automated since 1998.

Photo by David Paul Ohmer, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.
Photo by David Paul Ohmer, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

Boston Light

Graves Lighthouse

The Graves are not as ominous as they sound. This area of outer Boston Harbor is a bunch of rocky shoals, which was named after Thomas Graves, an original settler of Charlestown. The lighthouse was built in 1903, and automated in 1976. There's an interesting history to this lighthouse which you can read about here. The light can easily be seen when taking off from Logan Airport, you can't miss it. It's the only lighthouse that's standing in the middle of the water, and it is pale gray. From the inner harbor, you can view both Boston Light and Graves Light in a straight view.

Photo by Nantaskart!, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.
Photo by Nantaskart!, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.
Nantasket Beach, with Boston Light in the far distance on the left.
Nantasket Beach, with Boston Light in the far distance on the left.
Photo by flickr user Paul-W, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.
Photo by flickr user Paul-W, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

Long Island Head Light

The current Long Island Head Lighthouse of Boston's was built in 1901 on the harbor's largest island, Long Island. Home of the now abandoned Fort Strong, the lighthouse was fixed up in the 1985 and 1998 to give it a new life. The lighthouse can be seen from many parts of the harbror, and even from parts of Deer Island. Long Island is not accessible to the public, but does have a bridge that goes to the island from Quincy, Massachusetts. Long Island contains a drug and alcohol abuse center, which is closed off to anyone else unfortunately.

Deer Island Light

What once stood on the rocky banks of Deer Island has now been placed by a much more impersonal and less charming fiberglass tower. It's not very photogenic, but is in the approximate area of where the old large metal structure used to sit. Deer Island is visible from nearly anywhere along the water of Boston, as it blocks the view of the outer harbor and has grown in size and height due to it being a waste water treatment plant.

Photo by David Paul Ohmer, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.
Photo by David Paul Ohmer, licensed under Creative Commons 2.0.

Have you visited or seen any of these lighthouses in person?

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    • mbgphoto profile image

      Mary Beth Granger 

      4 years ago from O'Fallon, Missouri, USA

      I've never seen these lighthouses, but I will have a stop in Boston on a cruise this fall, perhaps I will be able to view them then. Thanks for the great information.

    • beccas90 profile image


      8 years ago from New York

      The Boston Harbor Park where some of these lighthouses are located is a gorgeous area to visit. I love lighthouses and New England has so many scenic ones.

    • ethel smith profile image

      Ethel Smith 

      9 years ago from Kingston-Upon-Hull

      Lighthouses are wondeful inventions, aren't they? Used to visit one at Flamborough Head England as a child. Of course back then it looked huge.


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