The other day a guest asked me how many light houses there were on Cape Cod. I knew of many of them but did not know the exact answer. For all of those wondering- we have 14 historical light houses on Cape Cod. Some are active and some are historic and available for tours. Shown below is a summary of each. Also check out a previous blog about our lighthouses being a beacon of light for all to follow.
- Woods End Light House– is located on the southwest side of Provincetown. It is still in operation and guides boats into the beautiful P’Town harbor. It was first lighted in 1872 and was converted to solar in 1981.
- Highland Light was previously referred to as the Cape Cod Lighthouse and offers guided tours:
May 26 through October 8
Lighthouse Climbs: 10 AM to 5:30 PM
Keeper’s Shop: 10 AM to 6 PM
October 9 through October 21
Lighthouse Climbs: 12 PM to 4 PM
Keeper’s Shop: 12 PM to 4 PM
Must be 48″ tall to climb.
The Lighthouse is operational and is owned by National Park Service with the current structure being a replacement of two earlier ones that had been constructed in 1797 and 1831. The current lighthouse was constructed in 1857 and it is the oldest of the Cape Code Series of lighthouses.
Nauset Light– one of our favorites and is located in Eastham, Massachusetts! It is a 15 meter tall tower that was a restored in 1923 from an 1877 cast iron plate. It sits adjacent to an oil house which was used to store fuel in a bygone era. Today, the beacon on the lighthouse is fully automated for use as a private navigation aid. It is part of the National Register of Historic Places. You can get private tours during summer and is operated by the Nauset Light Preservation Society.
Race Point Light located in Provincetown, Massachusetts, is one of the historical building in the National Register of Historic Places. It was first built in 1816, with the current building being built in 1876. Today, it is operated by the American Lighthouse Foundation for overnight stays. To access the lighthouse, you will have to walk for 45 minutes on beautiful coastline sand. Alternatively, you can get a permit from the National Parks Service Oversand to use a 4-wheel vehicle.
- Three Sisters are a series of 3 historic lighthouses located near Nauset light. Due to erosion, the original buildings fell into the sea around 1890 but were later restored in 1911. We always tell out guests to google the history before you go as there is much historical significance to these three lighthouses that have found a safe resting place away from the sea.
- Sandy Neck Light – Just love the story behind this historic light house. Built in 1826, the Sandy Neck Lighthouse was replaced in 1857. The use of the tower was discontinued in 1931 and replaced with a skeleton tower in ’52. The lighthouse is privately owned and is not open to the public. It is best seen by boat and can be seen from whale watches leaving Barnstable Harbor. As a private navigation tower, the lighthouse was restarted in 2007.
- Long Point Light graces the southwest entrance of the Provincetown Harbor. Described as “White Square Tower” by the US Coast Guard, this light house emits a green light every 4 seconds that is visible for 8 nautical miles. When visibility is low, it sounds the fog horn every 2 seconds looking for response from its neighbor, the Wood End Light.
- Wings Neck Light is located in Buzzards Bay and is nestled on the southwestern tip and was in operation between 1889 and 1945. Today, it is a private residence and a popular tourist site.
- Nobska Point Light is nestled between Vineyard Sound and Buzzards Bay. It was opened in 1826 as a simple tower above the keepers house and then replaced by a 42-feet cast iron tower. It was entered into the National Register of Historic Places in 1987. Until 2013 the light keeper’s house served as the residence for the Commanding Officer of United States Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England. It is currently opened for tours in the summer.
- Lewis Bay Light is named after Admiral Sir Lewis Bayly of the Royal Navy and a hero of the WWI and is located at the inner entrance to Hyannis Harbor. Privately built, the white conical 26-foot light tower is a near replica of Brant Point Light on Nantucket. The tower is an active, private navigational aid that features a flashing green light. The light tower can be seen while walking along North Street and Lewis Bay Road, but the best views are from boats entering and leaving the harbor. The ferries that travel from Hyannis to Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard pass right by the lighthouse.
- Bass River Light perfectly epitomizes the beauty of Cape Cod and it’s history. This lighthouse is owned and operated by the Lighthouse Inn on whose property the tower rises. It is today a seasonal hotel. The lighthouse has been dark for 75 years. and is only lit when the inn is open i.e. between May 1st and October 31st.
- Stage Harbor Light was established in 1880 and discontinued in 1933 to be replaced by a 60 meter high skeleton tower. The skeleton tower remains active while the original structure serves as a private residence.
- Monomoy Light was founded in 1823 as a wood tower and a small brick lantern room atop the Keeper’s House. It was later replaced with a cast iron tower in 1849. The lighthouse’ demise would be brought about by the construction of the Cape Cod Canal in 1914 which provided a safer and a shorter route to the Boston Area. It was discontinued in 1923 and added into the National Register of Historic Places in ’79. The Keeper’s house is today a guest house and gives an access to the Monomoy Wilderness.
- Last but not least one of our favorite Lighthouses on Cape Cod-the Chatham Light, a currently active lighthouse was previously referred to as Twin Lights. It is located on the edge of Cape Cod’s ‘Elbow’. The lighthouse was first built in 1808 with wood and later replaced by another two wooden towers in 1841. In 1877, two new cast iron towers were built, one of which would be transferred to Eastham to become Nauset Light Today, the former keeper’s house is an active U.S. Coast Guard station, and on-duty personnel living quarters. Search and Rescue, maritime law enforcement, and Homeland Security missions are carried out here
When we first start inn keeping many years ago, we had a guest stay with us that was on a mission to see and to take pictures of all the lighthouses on Cape Cod- both historic and in current use. We were tickled when they mastered their goal and saw all 14 lighthouses.
Lighthouses on Cape Cod come with a documented knowledge of our past and thankfully there are many preservations societies to preserve this history for all to see. During your stay at the Captain Freeman Inn visit some of our historic lighthouses. We guarantee you will not be disappointed.
So how many light houses are on Cape Cod- 14!
For more information on our Cape Cod lighthouses check out the following page by William Peace. It’s filled with some great photos as well as information about some lighthouses that have been lost over time and the history of Lighthouse lighting.