Lighthouses of the United States: Eastern Florida and the Keys

Most of the U.S. state of Florida occupies a long peninsula separating the Atlantic Ocean from the Gulf of Mexico; the state's western "panhandle" extends westward along the Gulf coast. As a result, Florida has by far the longest coastline of any state of the eastern United States. Nearly all of the coast is low and sandy, broken occasionally by narrow inlets leading to shallow lagoons. For visibility at a distance, the Florida coast requires tall lighthouses.

Florida has about three dozen traditional lighthouses, including several of the country's most famous light towers. The Florida Lighthouse Association (FLA) works for preservation of all the light stations. Nearly all the onshore stations are now supported by local lighthouse societies, and FLA has helped organize a Reef Lights Association to work for preservation of the offshore lights. Efforts of FLA and local associations have led to restoration projects undertaken or planned at most of the onshore lighthouses. Few states have worked as hard on lighthouse preservation as Florida in recent years.

This page includes lighthouses of Florida's Atlantic coast and the Florida Keys. Lighthouses of the west coast are on a separate page.

Navigational aids in the United States are operated by the U.S. Coast Guard, but ownership (and sometimes operation) of historic lighthouses has been transferred to local authorities and preservation organizations in many cases. Florida east coast lights are the responsibility of the Coast Guard's Seventh District.

ARLHS numbers are from the ARLHS World List of Lights. Admiralty numbers are from volume J of the Admiralty List of Lights & Fog Signals. USCG numbers are from Volume III of the U.S. Coast Guard Light List.

General Sources
Florida Lighthouse Association
The association works hard for the preservation of lighthouses throughout the state and has encouraged the formation of a number of local preservation societies. The web site includes a lighthouse page with information on all the lights.
Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation
This organization promotes the preservation of the six historic offshore lighthouses of the the Florida Keys.
Florida Lighthouses
Excellent photos and visitor accounts for most of the lighthouses, posted by Kraig Anderson.
Lighthouses in Florida
Photos by various photographers available from Wikimedia.
Lighthouses in Florida, United States
Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Online List of Lights - U.S. - Atlantic Coast
Photos by various photographers posted by Alexander Trabas.
Historic Light Station Information and Photography - Florida
Information and historic photos posted by the U.S. Coast Guard.
National Maritime Inventory - Florida
National Park Service inventory of Florida lighthouse data.
Lighthouses of Florida
Photos and information from Stephen Wilmoth's "Beach Bum" web site.
Florida Maritime Heritage Trail - Lighthouses
A site posted by the Florida Division of Historical Resources; it has photos and brief accounts for all the lighthouses of the state, with visitor information.
Florida Lighthouses
This site by Bill Britten, of the University of Tennesee, has some outstanding photos.
Lighthouses of Florida
A nice site by Bryan Penberthy, with photos of many of the lighthouses including some of the offshore lights.
Unstaffed Offshore Lights of the Florida Keys
The Directory's article on this little-known group of minor lighthouses.
Leuchttürme USA auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.
U.S. Coast Guard Light Lists
Current light lists posted by the Coast Guard's Navigation Center.

Ponce Inlet Light
Ponce de Leon Inlet Light, Ponce Inlet, March 2011
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Ebyabe


Hillsboro Inlet Light, Pompano Beach, January 2010
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Jordon Kalilich

Atlantic Coast Lighthouses

Nassau County Lighthouse
** Amelia Island
1838 (Winslow Lewis; reconstruction of the Great Cumberland Island light, built in 1820 on the Georgia side of the St. Marys River). Active; focal plane 107 ft (32.5 m); white flash every 10 s (red sector covering shoals in Nassau Sound). 64 ft (19.5 m) stucco-clad old-style brick tower, painted white; 3rd order Fresnel lens (1903). A photo is at right, there is an official page for the lighthouse, Trabas has a photo, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. The historic keeper's house was demolished in the 1960s after being replaced by modern Coast Guard housing (1950). The brick oil house survives. The lighthouse has a granite spiral stairway, very unusual for a Southern lighthouse. A preservation group, Amelia Lighthouse and Museum, Inc., works for restoration and public access. The city of Fernandina Beach took ownership of the light station in March 2001. In 2002, the state granted $350,000 for restoration, and in 2004 the restoration was carried out by the International Chimney Corporation. Additional restoration work was completed in 2008, and in 2009 the architects received an award from the Florida Trust for Historic Preservation. Located north of Atlantic Avenue in Fernandina Beach. Site open for midday Saturdays, tower open to tours from the Atlantic Recreation Center on the first and third Wednesdays of each month. Owner/site manager: City of Fernandina Beach. ARLHS USA-010; Admiralty J2856; USCG 3-0565.

Duval County (Jacksonville Area) Lighthouses
St. Johns Bar Cut Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 80 ft (24 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only along the range line. 80 ft (24 m) triangular skeletal tower mounted on a 1-story equipment shelter on a square platform supported by piles. Trabas has a photo, and Google has an aerial view. Located in a wetland area about 1.25 mi (2 km) northwest of Mayport. Site open, tower closed. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: U.S. National Park Service (Timucuan Ecological and Historic Preserve). Admiralty J2859.1; USCG 3-7120.
* Fulton Cutoff Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 106 ft (32 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only along the range line. 102 ft (31 m) triangular skeletal tower; the tower carries a daymark colored red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a street view and an aerial view. This is the rear light of a downstream (eastbound) range that guides vessels through a cut below Jacksonville. Located at the edge of a marsh near Ramoth and Milton Drives, off FL 105 in the Little Marsh area. Site probably open, tower closed; there should also be a view from Fort Caroline on the other side of the estuary. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. Admiralty J2862.1; USCG 3-7355.
Amelia Island Light
Amelia Island Light, October 2010
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Ebyabe
St. Johns River (Mayport) (3)
1859 (station established 1830). Inactive since 1929. 81 ft (24.5 m) brick tower, extended from 66 ft (20 m) in 1887 by expanding the top of the tower and adding a taller lantern. Tower painted bright red, watch room white; the lantern is black with a greenish metallic roof. The Navy has raised the ground level so that the tower now appears to be about 65 ft (20 m) tall. Wilmuth's page has good photos, Penberthy's site has an excellent closeup photo by Katja Thomas, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a street view and an aerial view. The Mayport Lighthouse Association hopes to restore the lighthouse on its historic site and open it to the public. In January 2000 the association reached an agreement with the Navy to use a nearby building as a visitor center and museum, but the base has been closed to the public for security reasons since the 9/11 attacks in 2001. Efforts to obtain a state grant for restoration were not successful during 2004. Located about 2 miles (3 km) inland and 1/4 mi (400 m) southeast of the St. John's River Ferry terminal in Mayport. Site and tower closed, but there's a good view from Broad and Palmer Streets just outside the naval station fence. Owner/site manager: U.S. Naval Air Station Jacksonville. ARLHS USA-796.
St. Johns
1954. Active; focal plane 83 ft (25 m); four white flashes every 20 s (there is also a flashing red aerial obstruction light). 64 ft (19.5 m) octagonal cylindrical white cement block tower, unpainted; small cylindrical lantern; VRB-25 aerobeacon (1998). Original keeper's house (barracks) now used by the Coast Guard for offices. The Lighthouse Association also has a page for the lighthouse, Trabas has a fine photo by Anderson, the Coast Guard has a 1955 photo, and Google has an aerial view. Located off Seminole Road and Oakhill Street, about 1 mile south of St. Johns River entrance in Mayport. Site and tower closed. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: U.S. Naval Air Station Jacksonville. ARLHS USA-795; Admiralty J2858; USCG 3-0575.

St. Johns County (St. Augustine Area) Lighthouse
**** St. Augustine (2)
1874 (Paul J. Pelz, architect). Station established 1823. Active; focal plane 161 ft (49 m); continuous white light with a more intense flash every 30 s. 165 ft (50 m) brick tower, painted in a black-and-white spiral similar to Cape Hatteras Light; lantern painted red; original rotating 1st order Fresnel lens. Sibling of Bodie Island, NC. 2-story brick and wood Victorian keeper's house. Donna McCraw's photo is at right, Anderson has a fine page for the lighthouse, Wikimedia has numerous photos, Trabas has a photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a street view and a great satellite view. This lighthouse replaced a 1737 Spanish watch tower that was converted to a lighthouse in 1823. Judging from a Coast Guard photo and Huelse's postcard view, it appears this was done by adding a new section atop the original tower. The old tower collapsed due to beach erosion in 1880. The present light station has been meticulously restored to its 1888 appearance. Lighthouse Digest has an article on the restoration of the lens after it was damaged by a vandal in 1987. A new visitor center opened in October 2000; the tower was painted and the gallery restored by International Chimney. In May 2001 a lightning strike did $10,000 in damage to computers and electrical equipment at the tower. In 2002, the lighthouse was one of the first to be transferred under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. In 2008-09, the exterior of the lantern was restored and its windows were replaced. In 2014, the museum paid $150,000 to purchase the keeper's house and the rest of the light station property, which had been leased previously from St. Johns County. Located on Lighthouse Ave. at Carver St., off FL A1A less than a mile southeast of the Lions Bridge in St. Augustine. During Hurricane Frances in 2004, museum operations director Rick Cain valiantly kept the light on. Site and tower open daily (admission fee). Owner/site manager: St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum . ARLHS USA-789; Admiralty J2866; USCG 3-0590.

St. Augustine Light, August 2006
Flickr photo
copyright Donna McCraw; used by permission

Volusia County (Daytona Beach Area) Lighthouse
**** Ponce de Leon Inlet (Mosquito Inlet) (2)
1887. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 159 ft (48.5 m); six white flashes in 15 s followed by 15 s eclipse. 175 ft (53 m) brick tower, red washed exterior; lantern painted black; 3rd order Fresnel lens (in use 1933-1970 and since 2004). The light station museum includes 3 original keeper's houses, pump house, oil house, and a modern Fresnel lens exhibit hall featuring a variety of lenses, beacons, and lighthouse artifacts. The original 1st order Fresnel lens (1887-1933) and Cape Canaveral's original 1st order Fresnel lens (1860) are on display. A photo is at the top of this page, Anderson has good photos, Wikimedia has numerous photos, Trabas has a closeup photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Huelse has a postcard view, and Google has a street view and an aerial view. This is the second tallest brick lighthouse in the United States. An earlier lighthouse was constructed on the opposite side of the Inlet in 1835 but was never activated and was destroyed by a storm the following year. International Chimney Corporation carried out $1.14 million in tower renovations and repairs during 2000-01. Among other repairs, the gallery was replaced, windows were replaced or reconditioned, and the brickwork was restored. In 2003, the tower's 1st order and 3rd order Fresnel lenses were restored, and in April 2004 the 3rd order Fresnel lens was returned to service in the tower. Recognized as a National Historic Landmark, this is also one of the most complete light station museums in the nation. Located on South Peninsula Drive in the town of Ponce Inlet, south of Daytona Beach. Site and tower open daily (admission fee). Owner: Town of Ponce Inlet. Site manager: Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse Preservation Association. . ARLHS USA-644; Admiralty J2878; USCG 3-0610.

Brevard County (Cape Canaveral Area) Lighthouses
Cape Canaveral (2)
1868 (station established 1848). Active; focal plane 137 ft (42 m) ; two white flashes every 20 s, flashes separated by 5 s. 151 ft (46 m) tapering cast iron tower (brick lining), painted with black and white horizontal bands; DCB-224 aerobeacon (1993). The original 1st order Fresnel lens is on display at the Ponce de Leon Inlet lighthouse museum. The keeper's house was demolished in 1967, but the brick oil house survives. Cliff Lethbridge has posted a history of the light station, and Lighthouse Digest published Alan Headley's article on it in October 2000. Wikimedia has several photos including the one at right, the Digest has another story on life at the station early in the Space Age, a good 2007 photo is available, Trabas has a distant view, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a fine satellite view. The lighthouse was relocated farther from the beach in 1894, but the original foundation survives near Launch Complex 46. The lighthouse was renovated by the Coast Guard in 1995-97; the original copper lantern roof, removed during that project, was preserved as the roof of a gazebo at the Air Force Space and Missile Museum. In December 2000 the light station was transferred from the Coast Guard to the Air Force. In the summer of 2001, the Cape Canaveral Lighthouse Foundation was formed, and in 2002 the Foundation and the Air Force agreed to work for restoration and public access. In 2003, the dilapidated oil house was restored and planning began for restoration of the tower. In December 2005, an agreement with the Air Force was signed, allowing the foundation to manage the site and offer public tours. In early 2006, a major $750,000 restoration was underway. In spring 2007 the restoration was nearing completion as the lantern roof was returned to the lighthouse; work was completed by May. In January 2008, the Air Force discovered that the soil around the lighthouse was contaminated by lead from paint chips; the lighthouse was closed while this danger was assessed. The tower has since reopened. In 2011, a fund drive began to rebuild the station's two keeper's houses, and in 2014 plans for the reconstruction were submitted for air force approval. Located near the Cape, about 1 mile (1.5 km) inland. Site generally closed to visitors, but NASA offers bus tours that pass the lighthouse. For several years the Air Force offered guided tours of the tower, but the tours were suspended indefinitely in 2013 due to budget restrictions. Owner: U.S. Air Force. Site manager: Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. ARLHS USA-108; Admiralty J2888; USCG 3-0625.
* Port Canaveral Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 54 ft (16.5 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. 50 ft (15 m) triangular skeletal tower with gallery and a locomotive style lens. The tower also carries large rectangular daymark painted red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. Located on the north side of the cut through the barrier island providing access to the port facilities, near the south (main) gate of the Cape Canaveral Air Force Station. Site status unknown, but the light is easily seen from the airbase entrance or from the Bee Line Expressway (FL 528). Admiralty J2891.1; USCG 3-9635.
Cape Canaveral Light
Cape Canaveral Light, November 2011
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Danielrener

Palm Beach County Lighthouses
**** Jupiter Inlet
1860 (George G. Meade) Active; focal plane 146 ft (44.5 m); two white flashes every 30 s, flashes separated by 7.7 s. 105 ft (32 m) brick tower, painted brick red; lantern painted black. The original rotating 1st order Fresnel lens remains in use. The principal keeper's house burned in 1927, but there is a small museum in the oil house. A photo is at right, Anderson's page has good photos and a historical account, Trabas has a photo, Marinas.com has excellent aerial photos, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. This lighthouse is the oldest building in Palm Beach County. The state and Coast Guard carried out a major renovation of the tower during 1999-2000, during which archaeologists discovered the light is built on an Indian mound. Lighthouse Digest has a story on the restoration and the history of the light station. In August 2004 the tower was closed to climbing to replace about 50 stairway brackets; it reopened late in the year. However, Hurricane Jeanne sandblasted the paint from the upper portion of the tower, and in October 2005 the light was temporarily extinguished for repairs. It reopened in December. In 2008, the light station and its surroundings were designated an Outstanding Natural Area, and in 2009 the lighthouse received $1 million in federal stimulus funding, roughly half for lighthouse maintenance and improvements and half for habitat restoration in the natural area. The 150th anniversary of the lighthouse was celebrated in January 2010. Located on the east side of US 1 and the north side of Jupiter Inlet. Site and tower open to guided tours daily except Mondays (admission fee). Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Loxahatchee River Historical Society ARLHS USA-411; Admiralty J2922; USCG 3-0725.
Lake Worth Entrance Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 55 ft (17 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. 55 ft (17 m) triangular skeletal tower. Trabas has a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Lake Worth is the name of the lagoon behind West Palm Beach. Located on Peanut Island, a Palm Beach County park. Accessible only by boat, but there is a good view from Peanut Island and from both sides of Lake Worth Inlet. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. Admiralty J2926.1; USCG 3-10190.

Jupiter Inlet Light
Jupiter Inlet Light, November 2010
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Ebyabe


Broward County (Fort Lauderdale Area) Lighthouses
Hillsboro Inlet
1907. Active; focal plane 136 ft (41.5 m); white flash every 20 s (not visible from the land side). 137 ft (42 m) octagonal pyramidal skeletal tower with central cylinder; lantern and upper half of tower painted black, lower half white. The original rotating 2nd order Fresnel lens remains in use. One of only three surviving towers of this design. The original 1-1/2 story wood keeper's house and other light station buildings survive, but an assistant keeper's house was demolished in 2005 despite loud protests from preservationists. Jordan Kalilich's photo is at the top of this page, Anderson has a good page for the lighthouse, Wikimedia has several photos, Trabas has a photo by Capt. Theo Hinrichs, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a beach view and a satellite view. The light station is used as a recreation area for senior military personnel. The Fresnel lens was relit in August 2000, after much hard work to replace the rotating mechanism of the light. In 2003 the gallery was restored. In March 2012, a museum and visitor center for the lighthouse opened on the south side of the inlet in Hillsboro Inlet Park, and in May the Coast Guard repainted the lighthouse. Also in 2012, the Coast Guard asked for comment on whether the light should be extinguished to protect sea turtles nesting in the area. Located on the beach, protected by a riprap jetty, on the north side of Hillsboro Inlet. Site closed (land access is controlled by the private Hillsboro Club), tower closed except for tours offered a few times a year. There's a good view from Pompano Beach's Hillsboro Inlet Park on the south side of the inlet, and the lighthouse is also visible from the FL A1A bridge over the inlet. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society. ARLHS USA-372; Admiralty J2934; USCG 3-0775.
* Port Everglades Range Front
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 85 ft (26 m); continuous green light visible only on the range line. 80 ft (24 m) triangular skeletal tower. The tower also carries a large rectangular daymark painted red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has a photo by Douglas Cameron, and Google has a satellite view. Port Everglades is a major port at Fort Lauderdale, including a large cruise ship terminal, petroleum storage facilities, and a container ship facility. Access to the crowded port area is through a deep, short cut in the barrier island. Located at the foot of Pier 2, at Eisenhower and Spangler Boulevards in Fort Lauderdale. Site open, tower closed. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Port Everglades. Admiralty J2938; USCG 3-10320.
* Port Everglades Range Rear
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 135 ft (41 m); continuous green light visible only on the range line; the tower also carries fixed and flashing directional lights that provide precise information to the pilots of arriving ships. Approx. 120 ft (37 m) triangular skeletal tower. The tower also carries a large rectangular daymark painted red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has a photo by Douglas Cameron, and Google has a good satellite view. Located on the north side of Spangler Boulevard (SE 24th Street) a short distance east of Federal Highway (US 1) in Fort Lauderdale, about 1/2 mi (850 m) west of the front light. Site open, tower closed. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: unknown. Admiralty J2938.1; USCG 3-10325.

Dade County (Miami Area) Lighthouses
*** Cape Florida (2)
1846 (Leonard Hammand). Station established 1825. Reactivated (inactive 1878-1978 and 1990-1996, now operated by the State of Florida); focal plane 95 ft (29 m); white flash every 6 s. 95 ft (29 m) tapering old-style brick tower (raised from 65 ft (20 m) in 1855); 300 mm lens (1996). Lighthouse painted white, lantern and watch room black. The 1-1/2 story brick keeper's house and other station buildings are replicas built in 1970. The lantern in use in the 1870s is displayed near the entrance to the station. Leonard DeFrancisci's photo is at right, Wikimedia has additional photos, Trabas has Michael Boucher's photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, the Coast Guard has a 1923 photo of the lighthouse, which was abandoned at that time, and Google has a beach view and an aerial view. This light station is Florida's oldest; the original tower was gutted by fire during an attack by Seminole Indians in 1836. The present lighthouse was battered by hurricanes and gravely endangered by beach erosion prior to the construction of a stone revetment by the Corps of Engineers in 1968; the revetment was repaired after Hurricane Andrew in 1992. The lighthouse is considered secure, but it remains very close to the water. The tower was thoroughly renovated in 1996-99 and was repainted in 2008. Located at the southern tip of Key Biscayne. Park open daily (entry fee) but the light station is fenced; the light station and tower are open to guided tours (no additional fee) Thursday through Monday. Owner: State of Florida. Site manager: Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. ARLHS USA-118; Admiralty J2956.4; USCG 3-0923.
Cape Florida Light
Cape Florida Light, December 2009
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Leonard J. DeFrancisci
[Boca Chita]
Around 1940. Inactive but charted as a daybeacon. 65 ft (20 m) round coral stone tower with lantern and gallery. The lighthouse is unpainted. Wikimedia has photos, the National Park Service has a page for the key and the lighthouse, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse was built by Mark Honeywell, who owned Boca Chita Key from 1937 to 1945. He intended it to be an active light, but the Coast Guard ordered it extinguished as soon as it was lit. The island and lighthouse were incorporated into Biscayne National Park when the park was established in 1980. The tower has been restored in recent years. As the only tall structure on the Biscayne reef, it has always been a conspicuous daybeacon, and it serves now as a popular observation point. Located on the west side of Boca Chita Key, about 10 mi (16 km) south of Key Biscayne. Owner: U.S. National Park Service. Site open, tower open to guided tours October through March. Site manager: Biscayne National Park.
Fowey Rocks
1878. Active; focal plane 110 ft (33.5 m); white flash every 10 s (two red sectors cover dangerous reefs to north and south). 110 ft (33.5 m) octagonal pyramidal wrought iron screwpile tower with octagonal 2-story Empire style keeper's house on a central platform, solar-powered VRB-25 aerobeacon. Tower and lantern painted brown; central cylinder and keeper's house white. The original Henry Lepaute 1st order Fresnel lens is on display at the Coast Guard Training Center in Yorktown, Virginia. The station also has an array of weather instruments as a NOAA C-MAN station. Tom Friedel's photo is at right, another closeup photo is available, Carlos Osle also has a closeup, Trabas has a distant view, Huelse has a historic postcard view, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, and Google has a satellite view. In 2011 the lighthouse became available for transfer under NHLPA, and the Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation announced its intention to apply for ownership. However, it appears that the lighthouse was withdrawn later from the NHLPA process. In October 2012, it was transferred directly to the National Park Service. Located on a dangerous reef southeast of Key Biscayne, within the boundaries of Biscayne National Park. Accessible only by boat; the lighthouse is distantly visible from Cape Florida. Site open, tower closed. Owner: U.S. National Park Service. Site manager: Biscayne National Park. ARLHS USA-307; Admiralty J2960; USCG 3-0920.

Fowey Rocks Light, July 2008
Wikimedia Creative Commons photo by Tom Friedel

Florida Keys (Monroe County)

Note: The Florida Keys are a chain of some 1700 islands, islets, and sandbars extending in a long arc southwest and south from Miami. Key West, the westernmost inhabited island, is connected to Miami by the 125 miles (200 km) of the Overseas Highway (US 1). Beyond Key West, the last islands in the chain are the uninhabited Dry Tortugas, which are now protected as a national park.

Key Largo and Islamorada Area Lighthouses
Key Largo [Rebecca Shoal (1) (lantern)]
1886 lantern on 1959 faux lighthouse. Active (privately maintained and unofficial). Approx. 33 ft (10 m) square pyramidal tower with lantern and gallery, painted in a red and white checkerboard pattern. The original Rebecca Shoal lighthouse, a 2-1/2 story square wood cottage screwpile, was located 43 miles (69 km) west of Key West (see below). When the lighthouse was demolished in 1953, the lantern was sold for scrap. Saved by a junk dealer in Ocala, it was purchased in 1959 and placed on the faux tower in Key Largo, at the entrance to a short canal. The present owner, David McGraw, renovated the lighthouse for use as private guest house, and it is available for weddings and overnight accommodations. The tower is at right in a photo of the canal entrance, Lighthouse Digest has an article on the lighthouse, and Google has an indistinct satellite view. Located on Oleander Circle at the end of Ocean Way in Key Largo. Site and tower closed (private property); the lantern can be seen from the water. Owner/site manager: Key Largo Lighthouse and Marina.
Pacific Reef (2)
2000 (station established 1921). Active; focal plane 44 ft (13.5 m); white flash every 4 s. 44 ft (13.5 m) 2-stage square steel skeletal tower with gallery. Anderson has an aerial photo, another photo is available (just over halfway down the page), and Google has a satellite view. The Coast Guard has a historic photo of the original light, which was removed in 2000; the lantern room was relocated to Islamorada (see below). Located about 3 miles (5 km) southeast of Elliott Key in Biscayne National Park. Site open; tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-576; Admiralty J2968; USCG 3-0935.
Carysfort Reef
1852 (George G. Meade; I.W.P. Lewis, designer). Active; focal plane 100 ft (30.5 m); three white flashes every 60 s, flashes separated by 10 s (three red sectors cover dangerous reefs). 112 ft (31 m ) octagonal pyramidal wrought iron screwpile tower with an octagonal 2-story keeper's house on a central platform, VRB-25 aerobeacon. Lighthouse painted a deep red, except the lantern roof and keeper's house roof are painted white. The original 1st order Fresnel lens is on display at the HistoryMiami museum in Miami. Ines Hegedus-Garcia's photo is at right, Carol Harrison has a 2008 photo, Matt Whitney has a photo, a third photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. This lighthouse, a historic landmark of civil engineering, is the oldest of the offshore lighthouses of the Florida Keys and the oldest surviving screwpile lighthouse in the nation. The Coast Guard refurbished the tower in 1996. The area is protected as part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Located on the reef in John Pennecamp Coral Reef State Park. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-143; Admiralty J2974; USCG 3-0945.
Carysfort Reef Light
Carysfort Reef Light, June 2012
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Ines Hegedus-Garcia
Molasses Reef
1921. Active; focal plane 45 ft (14 m); red flash every 10 s. 45 ft (14 m) square pyramidal skeletal steel tower on a screwpile foundation, originally with an enclosed lantern. Trabas has a distant view by Klaus Potschien, Joanne Wilson has a photo, Neil Vigliotta also has a photo, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, and Google has a satellite view. The lantern has been replaced by a daymarker and a small navigation beacon; in addition, the tower now carries an automatic National Weather Service station. Located about 8 miles (13 km) southeast of Key Largo at the southern end of the John Pennecamp Coral Reef State Park. Accessible only by boat (popular scuba diving site). Site open, tower closed. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: NOAA National Data Buoy Center. ARLHS USA-507; Admiralty J2982; USCG 3-0960.
Hen and Chickens Shoal
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 35 ft (10.5 m); red flash every 2.5 s. 35 ft (10.5 m) triangular pyramidal skeletal steel tower on a screwpile foundation, originally with an enclosed lantern. Eric Martin has contributed a closeup photo, Anderson has an aerial photo, and Google has a satellite view. The area is protected as part of the Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Located south of Tavernier. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-1227; Admiralty J2986; USCG 3-12195.
Alligator Reef
1873. Active; focal plane 136 ft (41.5 m); four white flashes every 60 s, flashes separated by 10 s (two red sectors cover dangerous reefs). 136 ft (41.5 m) octagonal pyramidal wrought iron screwpile tower with a square 1-story keeper's house on a central platform; solar-powered VRB-25 aerobeacon (1997). Pyramidal tower painted white; lantern, watch room, and pile foundations painted black. The original 1st order Fresnel lens was destroyed by gigantic waves in the Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 (one of the strongest hurricanes ever recorded). Sean Nash's photo is at right, a 2008 photo is available, Pete Lerro has a 2009 photo, Lighthouse Digest has an article on life at the station, and Google has a satellite view. Located about 3 miles (5 km) southeast of Islamorada. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Visible from ocean beaches in Islamorada. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-006; Admiralty J2988; USCG 3-0980.
* Pacific Reef (1) (lantern room)
1921. The lighthouse, a square pyramidal skeletal steel tower on a screwpile foundation, is located about 3 miles (5 km) southeast of Elliott Key (see above). In 2000 the lantern room was relocated to Founders Park in Islamorada, where it is displayed on a square stone pedestal. Zachary Yarnes has contributed a photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located off US 1 at mile marker 86.5 in Islamorada. Site open (entry fee for non-residents). Owner/site manager: Town of Islamorada.
Alligator Reef Light
Alligator Reef Light, Islamorada, April 2010
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Sean Nash

Marathon Area Lighthouses
Tennessee Reef
1933. Active; focal plane 49 ft (15 m); white flash every 4 s. 50 ft (15 m) hexagonal pyramidal skeletal steel tower with lantern and gallery, mounted on a screwpile foundation. Anderson has a photo, an 2008 photo (misidentified as Alligator Reef) is available, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, and Google has a satellite view. Of the eight lights in this series, this is the only one still bearing its lantern. A popular diving site; mooring buoy available. Located south of Long Key. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-841; Admiralty J2990; USCG 3-0990.
Sombrero Key (Dry Banks)
1858 (George G. Meade). Active; focal plane 142 ft (43 m); white flash every 10 s, every sixth flash omitted (two red sectors cover dangerous shoals). 160 ft (49 m) octagonal pyramidal wrought iron straightpile tower with a square 1-story keeper's house on a central platform, solar-powered VRB-25 aerobeacon (1997). Lighthouse painted brown. The original 1st order Fresnel lens is on display at the Key West Lighthouse Museum. Luke Sharrett has a 2007 photo, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, and Google has a satellite view. In 2014 the City of Marathon requested that the lens be moved from Key West to Marathon's new city hall. Located south of Marathon Key on the former Sombrero Key (originally dry land, but the key is now barely awash at low tide). Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Visible from the Seven Mile Bridge on US 1 and from Sombrero Beach in Marathon. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-768; Admiralty J2998; USCG 3-1000.
Sombrero Key Light
Sombrero Key Light, Marathon, June 2013
Flickr Creative Commons photo by John Picklesimer

Key West Area Lighthouses
American Shoal
1880. Active; focal plane 109 ft (33 m); three white flashes every 15 s, flashes separated by 2.5 s (two red sectors cover dangerous shoals). 110 ft (33.5 m) octagonal pyrimidal wrought iron straightpile tower with octagonal 2-story keeper's house on central platform, solar-powered VRB-25 aerobeacon. Lighthouse painted reddish brown, central cylinder white. Tom Royal has a photo, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. Sibling of Fowey Rocks. The lighthouse was repainted and repaired in 2003. Located southeast of Key West (barely visible from the beach). Accessible only by boat; tower closed. Owner/site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-011; Admiralty J3002; USCG 3-1015.
**** Key West (2)
1847 (station established 1825). Inactive since 1969. 86 ft (26 m) old-style brick tower (raised from 66 ft (20 m) in 1894), 175 watt M57 lens. A 3rd order Fresnel lens (1858) is still in the lantern though not in use. The 1825 lighthouse was destroyed by the great hurricane of 1846. The 1-story wood West Indian style keeper's house (1887) is a museum, fully restored with period furnishings. The 1st order Fresnel lens from Sombrero Key Light is on display. (In 2014 the City of Marathon requested that the lens be moved from Key West to Marathon's new city hall. If this is done, a similar lens would replace it in Key West.) Matt Price's photo is at right, Anderson has great photos and a historical account, Lighthouse Digest has an August 2006 feature article by Steve Mirsky, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and Google has a street view and a satellite view. The Coast Guard has historic photos of the lighthouse before and after its height was raised in 1894. The light station was restored in 1987-90 to its appearance about 1900. Located at Whitehead Street and Truman Avenue in Key West. Site and tower open daily (admission fee). Owner: Monroe County. Site manager: Key West Art and Historical Society . ARLHS USA-420.
* Key West Main Channel Range Rear
1969(?). Active; focal plane 75 ft (23 m); green light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on the range line. Approx. 70 ft (21 m) triangular skeletal tower. The tower carries a rectangular slatted daymark painted red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has Douglas Cameron's distant view (the range tower is to the right of the historic lighthouse), and Google has a good satellite view. Replacing the lighthouse, this range guides vessels approaching from the south. Located about 1000 ft (300 m) northeast of Fort Zachary Taylor on the Key West waterfront. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J3014.1; USCG 3-14820.
[Northwest Passage]
1879. Inactive since 1921. The lighthouse, a 2-story square cottage screwpile, burned in 1971. Foundation pilings remain. Located adjacent to the channel entrance 7 miles (11 km) northwest of Key West. Accessible only by boat. ARLHS USA-557.

Key West Light, Key West, March 2006
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Matt Price
Smith Shoal (2)
Date unknown (station established 1933). Active; focal plane 54 ft (16.5 m); white flash every 6 s. 54 ft (16.5 m) triangular skeletal steel tower with a square gallery. This modern light replaced one of the 1930s skeletal towers; the same thing happened at Pulaski Shoal and Cosgrove Shoal (see below). Located in the Gulf about 5 miles (8 km) north of Northwest Passage Light, that is, about 11 miles (17.5 km) north northwest of Key West. Site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-1056; Admiralty J3064; USCG 3-1200.
Pulaski Shoal (2)
Date unknown (station established 1933). Active; focal plane 56 ft (17 m); white flash every 6 s. 56 ft (17 m) triangular skeletal steel tower with a square gallery. The Coast Guard has a historic photo of the original light. Located in the Gulf west of Smith Shoal and about 30 miles (50 km) northwest of Key West. Site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-676; Admiralty J3058; USCG 3-1185.
Sand Key (2)
1853 (George G. Meade; I.W.P. Lewis, designer). Station established 1827. Reactivated (inactive 1989-1998); focal plane 109 ft (33 m); two white flashes every 15 s (two red sectors cover dangerous shoals). 120 ft (36.5 m) square pyramidal wrought iron screwpile tower; solar-powered VRB-25 aerobeacon (1998). Lighthouse painted black; lantern painted white. The original 1st order Fresnel lens is on display at the Coast Guard Academy in Groton, CT. A U.S. Navy photo by James Brooks is at right, John Phillips III has a photo, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, and Huelse has a historic postcard view. This lighthouse replaced an old-style brick tower washed away, along with the island on which it stood, by the great hurricane of 1846. The keeper's house and central cylinder, gutted by fire in 1989, were removed in 1996 while the tower was being restored. Endangered: needs thorough restoration and repair. Located 7 miles (11 km) southwest of Key West on a small sandbar. Accessible only by boat; tower closed. Site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-724; Admiralty J3006; USCG 3-1055.
Cosgrove Shoal (2)
Date unknown (station established 1935). Active; focal plane 54 ft (16.5 m); white flash every 6 s. 54 ft (16.5 m) triangular skeletal steel tower with a square gallery. A closeup 2009 photo is available. Located south of the Marquesas Keys, about 20 miles (32 km) west southwest of Key West. Site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-1055; Admiralty J3052; USCG 3-1070.

Sand Key Light, Key West, May 2005
Wikimedia/U.S. Navy public domain photo by James Brooks

Dry Tortugas Lighthouses

Note: The Dry Tortugas are a small group of uninhabited islands and sandbars located far out in the Gulf of Mexico, about 70 miles (113 km) west of Key West. Garden Key, one of the highest islands, is almost completely covered by Fort Jefferson, a mid-19th century fort that also served as a prison. The islands are now included with the surrounding waters in the Dry Tortugas National Park.
#Twenty-eight Foot Shoal
Date uncertain. Probably demolished; we need current information. 53 ft (16 m) hexagonal pyramidal skeletal steel tower, probably with enclosed lantern originally. In 2009 the light was replaced by a buoy. Located in the Gulf west of Sand Key and south of the Tortugas. Site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-1058; Admiralty J3052.5; USCG 3-1080.
Rebecca Shoal (2)
1985 (station established 1886). Active; focal plane 66 ft (20 m); white flash every 6 s (red sector covers the shoal). 68 ft (21 m) square pyramidal skeletal tower, mounted on a square platform supported by four straight piles. The Coast Guard has a historic photo of the former lighthouse (1886-1985), a square 1-1/2 story wood keeper's house with a round lantern centered on the roof. The 1886 lantern, rescued from a scrap metal dealer in Ocala, is mounted on a faux lighthouse at Key Largo (see above). Located on a shoal in the Gulf of Mexico 43 miles (69 km) west of Key West. Accessible only by boat; tower closed. Site manager: U.S. Coast Guard. ARLHS USA-690; Admiralty J3056; USCG 3-1090.
* Tortugas Harbor (Garden Key, Fort Jefferson) (2)
1876. Inactive since 1921 (a decorative light is displayed). 82 ft (25 m) hexagonal cast iron tower mounted on the walls of Fort Jefferson, the bastion of the Dry Tortugas. Claudia Dominig has a 2007 closeup photo, Robert Parker wrote a Lighthouse Digest article on the light station, and Google has a closeup view and a satellite view. The keeper's house (and part of the fort) was destroyed by fire in 1912. This lighthouse replaced an 1825 lighthouse damaged by a hurricane in 1873; the foundation of the older lighthouse survives inside Fort Jefferson. The Coast Guard has a historic photo of the original lighthouse. Located at the southeastern angle of the hexagonal fort. Accessible by seaplane, passenger ferry or catamaran from Key West. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Dry Tortugas National Park. ARLHS USA-316.
Dry Tortugas (Loggerhead Key)
1858 (George G. Meade?). Active; focal plane 151 ft (46 m); white flash every 20 s. 157 ft (48 m) early classic brick tower, solar-powered VRB-25 aerobeacon. Lower half of tower painted white, upper half and lantern black. 1-story brick keeper's house (1922), original kitchen, and other outbuildings preserved. The 2nd order bivalve Fresnel lens (1909) is on display at the Coast Guard Training Center in Yorktown, Virginia. The keeper's house is used as housing for park service personnel. Don Sampson's photo is at right, the Coast Guard has a 2005 photo and a historic photo, and Google has a walkway view and a satellite view. Located on Loggerhead Key at the far western end of the Dry Tortugas. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Site manager: Dry Tortugas National Park. ARLHS USA-236; Admiralty J3060; USCG 3-1095.

Dry Tortugas Light, April 2008
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Don Sampson

Lighthouses of Inland Lakes

[Volusia Bar]
1885. Light inactive since 1916; fog signal inactive since 1943. The 1-1/2 story square screwpile lighthouse burned in 1974. Foundation pilings remain visible. A photo is available, and Google has a satellite view. About 300 m (330 yd) to the south, a similar square platform carries the Lake George South End Range Rear Light (focal plane 40 ft (12 m); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off) on a square skeletal tower. A page for the lighthouse has a photo of the current light. After deactivation, the historic lighthouse remained in service for some time as a fog signal building; later it was sold and renovated as a private residence. The building burned in 1974. Located on the west side of the upper St. Johns River entrance on the south side of Lake George, about 3 miles (5 km) northwest of Astor. Accessible only by boat. Site open. ARLHS USA-869; USCG 3-8780.
* Kissimmee
1999. Active (privately maintained); focal plane 25 ft (7.5 m); rotating white light. 22 ft (6.5 m) round red brick tower with lantern and gallery; lantern painted black. A closeup photo is available, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. This light is on Lake Tohopekaliga, a large lake in Osceola County linked by canals to several other area lakes. Located at the end of an artificial peninsula extending into the lake in Kissimmee's Lakefront Park, about 1/4 mi (400 m) northeast of the marina. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: City of Kissimmee.
* Mount Dora
1988. Active (privately maintained); flashing red light. 35 ft (11 m) stucco-covered brick tower with hexagonal lantern and gallery, painted with horizontal red and white bands. Donna McCraw has an excellent closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view and a distant street view. The lighthouse was built with citizen contributions. Located on Grantham Point, in Gilbert Park at the south end of Tremain St. on the northeast side of Lake Dora in Mount Dora, about 25 miles (40 km) northwest of Orlando. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: City of Mount Dora.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

  • Amelia Island North Range Rear (1872-ca. 1930), St. Mary's River entrance. ARLHS USA-1054.
  • Dames Point (1872-1913), St. Johns River below Jacksonville. The lighthouse burned in 1913, and nothing remains. ARLHS USA-1022.

Notable faux lighthouses:

Adjoining pages: North: Georgia | East: Bahamas | South: Cuba | West: Western Florida

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Posted 2000. Checked and revised June 17, 2014. Lighthouses: 38. Site copyright 2014 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.