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Florida Lighthouses

Updated on November 21, 2014
St. Augustine Lighthouse
St. Augustine Lighthouse | Source

A Guide to These Historic Beacons

The state of Florida is a long narrow penisula that separates the Atlantic ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. It also includes a panhandle that stretches along the Gulf. This shape gives the state over 1200 miles of coastline.

The coastline of Florida is mainly low and sandy which requires the lighthouses along the coast to be tall in order to have good visibility away from the shore.

This lens will give you some insight into the thirty remaining lighthouses along the Florida coasts along with some photographs of the lighthouses I have visited.

The light pictured here is St. Augustine lighthouse

photograph by Mary Beth Granger

Lighthouses on the Atlantic Coast

The lighthouses below are on the East Coast of Florida on the Atlantic Ocean.

  • Amelia Island- this lighthouse sits on the northern most barrier island on the Florida Atlantic coast.
  • St. Johns River- built in 1859 the St. Johns River lighthouse is now part of the Mayport Naval Air Station. It is not open to the public.
  • Mayport- The Mayport lighthouse is just one mile away from the St. Johns River lighthouse. It is an unusual looking 64 ft square brick tower lighthouse.
  • St Augustine-Visit this lighthouse and museum to learn about the history of maritime St. Augustine.
  • Ponce Inlet- This lighthouse is the tallest in Florida. It is a stately looking bright red structure. The tower is open to the public.
  • Cape Canaveral- this black and white tower lighthouse sits on the grounds of Kennedy Space Center.
  • Jupiter Inlet-This is a lighthouse that I was able to climb the tower. It gives you wonderful views of the area.
  • Hillsboro Inlet- This lighthouse was originally constructed for the St.Louis World's fair in 1904. It was then dismantled and shipped down to the Florida coast.

Ponce Inlet - Ponce De Leon Inlet Light Station

This is Florida's tallest lighthouse. It is 175 feet tall and is also the second tallest lighthouse in the US. Visitors can climb the 203 steps to the top and enjoy views of the eastern Florida coastline.

This lighthouse is also one of the view lighthouses in the country with all of its original lighthouse keepers' dwelling and other buildings still intact.

Puzzle of Florida Lighthouses - Collage Puzzle

This wonderful 550 piece jigsaw puzzle makes a great gift for the puzzle enthusiast who loves lighthouses. It is a collage of several of the lighthouses on the Florida coast.

A Light in the Night Sky - lighthouse in the evening

I find lighthouses fascinating in the evening when the lantern is shining against the dark sky. I particularly like to photograph Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse at this time. There is a spotlight shining on the lighthouse and the bright red against the nighttime sky makes a great shot!

Framed in Palms - Hillsboro Inlet

Hillsboro Inlet is a fun lighthouse to visit from the park across the bay. Here you will find the perfect place to photograph the lighthouse framed by the palms in the park. We have stopped there a couple of times on our trips to southern Florida and I'm always able to capture another view of the light.

The first time we stopped we had our granddaughter with us and she enjoyed playing on the playground while I took the time to frame the lighthouse in my photo.

Florida Lighthouses operated on Private Funds

There are two lighthouses in Florida that operate completely on private funds.

The first is an inland water light on Lake Dora, just north of Orlando. It is called the Mount Dora Lighthouse. It is a 35 foot tall red and white structure.

The second is the newest lighthouse in Florida, Tierra Verde. It was built in 2005 from private funds and is fashioned after the Boca Grande lighthouse. Tierra Verde is located in the Tampa Bay area.

The lighthouse at St. Joseph Bay is now a personal residence. This lighthouse is not currently operating but the owner is looking to restore a lantern to the tower. This lighthouse was originally build in 1902.

Lighthouses on the Florida Panhandle

  • Pensacola-150 ft early classical brick tower
  • Cape St George- Once known as the leaning tower of Florida this lighthouse, which was built in 1852, collapsed in 2005. It has since been reconstructed and in January of 2008 The St. George Island Visitor Center and Lighthouse Museum opened next to the lighthouse.
  • Cape San Blas-Built in 1885, this square skeletal tower has been inactive since 1996.
  • Crooked River-This skeletal tower built in 1895, has been inactive since 1995.
  • St. Marks-This white brick tower light station was established in 1831.

Lighthouses of the West Coast of Florida

The west coast of Florida is on the Gulf of Mexico and is known for its beautiful white sand beaches. Listed below are the lighthouses you will find on the west coast.

  • Anclote Key-This skeletal tower light is located at the southern end of the Anclote Keys just northwest of Tarpon Springs.
  • Boca Grande-Built in 1890 this lighthouse is a square tower and lantern that is centered on top of a square keepers house. It is located at the southern tip of Gasparilla Island in Gasparilla Island State Park.
  • Cedor Keys- This square brick keepers house is surmounted by a hexagonal cylindrical tower and lantern. It has been inactive since 1915.
  • Egmont Key-This early classical brick tower is painted white and is accesible only by passenger ferry.
  • Gasparilla Island- Gasparilla Island boasts a second light called the Boca Grande Entrance Range Rear. It is a hexagonal pyramidal skeletal tower.
  • Sanibel Island- 102 ft square pyramidal skeltal tower is located on Sanibel Island.

Beacons in the Florida Keys - visit lighthouses in the keys

The Florida Keys are home to a wide variety of lighthouses. There are several that are a structural type made of iron screw pile. These lighthouses, Fowey Rocks, Carysfort, Alligator Reef, Sombrero Reef, and American Shoal are found in the ocean off the keys.

Others such as Key West and Cape Florida are the more traditional lighthouse towers and are on land. Then there is the Garden Key which is a cast iron tower and Rebecca Shoal which is actually a house that is set on an iron screw pile.

It is my hope to one day visit the keys and photograph these lighthouses.

  • American Shoal- 124 ft structure of iron screw pile just off the Sugar Loaf Key.
  • Cape Florida- built in 1825 in Key Biscayne. It is a 95 ft white brick structure.
  • Carysfort Reef- built in 1852 is a red colored structure that stands 112 ft.
  • Dry Totrugas
  • Fowery Rocks- built in 1878 is 125 ft tall
  • Key West- built in 1847 to help ships navigate dangerous reefs off the lower keys
  • Key Largo
  • Sand Key
  • Sombrero Key
  • Totugas Harbor
  • Alligator Reef-built in 1873
  • Garden Key- built in 1876
  • Rebecca Shoal- 43 miles off Key West.


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