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Lighthouses on the Jersey Shore

Updated on August 12, 2014

Visiting Six New Jersey Lighthouses

I love photographing lighthouses and now that we are retired, my husband and I love to travel. What a great combination! In the past 8 years we have traveled to over 100 lighthouses and I have photographed each one.

During the summer of 2014 we traveled to the New Jersey shore and I was able to photograph six of the historic beacons that dot the shoreline. We stayed in Atlantic City and took day trips up and down the shore to see each of the lighthouses. At the northern tip of the Jersey shore we were able to visit the oldest continuously operating lighthouse in the US, Sandy Hook. The photo in this section shows the top of the light at Sandy Hook.

On this page, I will share with some photos I took of each of the lighthouses and share a bit of information that I learned about each of the lights.

Historic Beacon at the Northern Tip of the Jersey Shore

Sandy Hook Lighthouse
Sandy Hook Lighthouse

I had read a bit about Sandy Hook lighthouse and was very interested in photographing this wonderful piece of history. My husband and I traveled from Atlantic City about 2 hours and made our way to the tip of the Jersey shoreline and into the Sandy Hook National Park to photograph this historic light. Sandy Hook is the oldest lighthouse in the US that is still standing and operating. It has operated continuously since 1764.

The lighthouse was first called the New York lighthouse because it was built and paid for by New Yorkers who wanted to make their harbor safe. Although located in New Jersey it is directly across the harbor from New York city.

When visiting the lighthouse we were able to see the historic buildings of Fort Hancock. This is a fort established in the late 1800's to protect the New York harbor from attack by sea. The fort was deactivated and transferred to the National Park Service in 1975.

For More Information

If you would like to learn more about the lighthouses of New Jersey this book would be a good starting point. It gives you stories and history on 11 of the lighthouses that dot the New Jersey coastline.

Touring New Jersey's Lighthouses
Touring New Jersey's Lighthouses

This book covers 11 of the lighthouses in New Jersey.

 

Navesink

Navesink is a very interesting lighthouse structure that has twin towers. It is located at Highlands New Jersey just south of Sandy Hook. The lighthouse sits high atop a hill and I was able to get the photograph of the twin lights by using by 300 mm lens and taking the photo from the first parking area when entering the Sandy Hook Park. By taking it from that distance I was able to capture the entire structure on the hillside.

Navesink was constructed to help guide freighter traffic in and out of the Hudson river. I think it looks rather like a European castle or fortress. It certainly is one of the more interesting lights that I have photographed.

Barnegat

Barnegat lighthouse is found at the northern end of Long Beach Island. This light was first placed into service in 1835 and operated until 1927 when it was replaced by Barnegat Lightship.

Today visitors can come to Barnegat Lighthouse State Park where they can climb the 217 steps to the top of "Old Barney". They will enjoy a magnificent view of the coastline. There is also a museum where you can stop and learn a bit about the history of this and other lighthouses.

I enjoyed photographing the lighthouse and walking out to the boardwalk to the sea to try to capture the best shot. The clouds cooperated by moving behind the lighthouse just as I was taking my shot.

Absecon

Absecon lighthouse is located in Atlantic City. This lighthouse, with a 171 foot tower, is the tallest on the Jersey shore. It was first lit in 1857 and still has its original first-order Fresnal lens. If you climb the 228 steps to the top of the tower I am told you will get a breathtaking view of the Atlantic City skyline.

When we stopped at the lighthouse it was closed, but I walked around the wrought iron fence to photograph the light from various vantage points. This shot was taken by sticking my camera between the fence to capture this photo. In the photo below, I took the lighthouse from the other side to get the buildings of Atlantic City in the background.

Atlantic City and Lighthouse

Hereford Inlet

South of Atlantic City about 30 miles we came to the lighthouse in North Wildwood called Hereford Inlet light. This lighthouse is a charming Victorian house with a lighthouse coming out of the roof. All around the house are beautifully manicured gardens with lots of benches and places to sit and reflect. I really enjoyed photographing this light and the grounds.

The lighthouse was first put into operation in 1874. I think this would be a great place for a lighthouse keeper and family to live. It is a beautiful house and grounds. Today the light and grounds are open to the public.

Gardens at Hereford Inlet

Click thumbnail to view full-size

Gifts from the Jersey Shore

Here are some great gifts from the lighthouses along the Jersey Shore. They would make a great remembrance of your visits or perhaps a gift for a lighthouse enthusiast.

Lighthouses of New Jersey Jigsaw Puzzle by Donna Elias 24" X 18"
Lighthouses of New Jersey Jigsaw Puzzle by Donna Elias 24" X 18"

Have fun putting together this puzzle of several historic jersey lighthouses.

 
Sandy Hook, NJ Lighthouse - 3.5"
Sandy Hook, NJ Lighthouse - 3.5"

This is a great little lighthouse miniature of Sandy Hook.

 

Cape May

At the southern tip of the Jersey Shore we visited the historic lighthouse of Cape May. The current lighthouse was built in 1859 and is the third of the lighthouses that have been at that location. The first two lighthouses are now underwater due to erosion.

Today the lighthouse is still operational, although automated, and guides ships along the coast and into Delaware Bay. Visitors may climb the 199 steps to the top of the tower.

Have you ever visited a lighthouse? - tell us about your favorite

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    • esmonaco profile image

      Eugene Samuel Monaco 

      4 years ago from Lakewood New York

      Thanks for taking me on your tour, as always I enjoy your beautiful pictures. My wife and I traveld Rout 5 from Erie Pa.up into New York along Lake Erie, we stopped at every light house along the way. Thanks :)

    • JoanieMRuppel54 profile image

      Joanie Ruppel 

      4 years ago from Keller, Texas

      Well now I want to go to the Jersey shore! Lighthouses are one of my life's fascinations and I visit them every chance I get. Last summer on a road trip to Martha's Vineyard (from Indiana) we counted 13 different lighthouses and while we didn't get up close and personal to all 13 of them, we enjoyed seeing them nonetheless. Great lens, thank you!

    • PAINTDRIPS profile image

      Denise McGill 

      4 years ago from Fresno CA

      What great pictures. Thanks so much for sharing your sightseeing tour. In California we have very few lighthouses and most look like houses and not traditional tower type like some of these.

    • tracy-arizmendi profile image

      Tracy Arizmendi 

      4 years ago from Northern Virginia

      Yes, but the one I visited was closed so you could not go inside. However, we did get cool pics of the structure from outside. Great lens and awesome pictures!! Thanks for sharing!!!

    • profile image

      RinchenChodron 

      4 years ago

      No, not yet - I live in the center of the US in Colorado - no light houses here. Looks like you have a great hobby for retirement.

    • Sylvestermouse profile image

      Cynthia Sylvestermouse 

      4 years ago from United States

      You photos are always stunning and all of these lighthouses are fascinating. I really love that Victorian home lighthouse of Hereford Inlet and the Navesink lighthouse reminds me of a castle in Scotland. Totally awesome!

    • DawnRae64 profile image

      Dawn 

      4 years ago from Maryland, USA

      I have not yet been inside of a lighthouse. I have visited the one at Elk Neck park in Maryland a few times. I have not yet made it to the Jersey shore, so thank you so much for taking me along.

    • profile image

      Ruthi 

      4 years ago

      You really captured my interest with your photo of Navesink. What a fabulous lighthouse image, one I would surely enjoy visiting.

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