Lighthouses of the United States: Georgia

This page is for the lighthouses of the U.S. state of Georgia, and not for the former Soviet republic that coincidently has the same name. Located just north of Florida, Georgia has a relatively short Atlantic coastline with six surviving historic lighthouses (3 active). The coastline is low, featuring a series of sandy islands known in Georgia as the Sea Islands. Savannah is the largest port in the state.

Although there is no state preservation society, there has been excellent public support in Georgia for lighthouse preservation. Three tall coastal towers have all been beautifully restored, and efforts are beginning to save the endangered Cockspur Island lighthouse.

Aids to navigation in the U.S. are maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. However, the historic lighthouses in Georgia are all in private, state, or National Park Service ownership. Georgia navigational aids are the responsibility of the Coast Guard's Seventh District.

Special thanks to Ron Schooling for his research on the marina lighthouses of northern Georgia.

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 Vol. III of the U.S. Coast Guard Light List.

General Sources
Georgia Lighthouses
Fine photos and descriptions by Kraig Anderson.
Beach Bum's Lighthouses: Georgia
This site by Stephen Wilmoth has accounts and photos of recent visits to most of the lighthouses.
Lighthouses in Georgia, United States
Aerial photos posted by Marinas.com.
Online List of Lights - U.S. - Georgia
Photos posted by Alex Trabas; many of them were taken by Capt. Peter Mosselberger or Capt. Theo Hinrichs.
Lighthouses in Georgia (U.S. state)
Photos available from Wikimedia.
Coast Guard Lighthouses - Georgia
Historic photos with notes.
National Maritime Inventory - Georgia
National Park Service inventory of Georgia lighthouse data.
Leuchttürme USA auf historischen Postkarten
Historic postcard images posted by Klaus Huelse.

Tybee Island Light
Tybee Island Light, Tybee Island, March 2013
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Doug Kerr

Atlantic Coast Lighthouses

Chatham County (Savannah Area) Lighthouses
* [Savannah Harbor Range Rear (Beacon Range, Old Harbor Light)]
1858. Inactive (a decorative gas light is displayed). Ornate 25 ft (7.5 m) cast iron tower, rather like a giant streetlight, painted dark green. Butch Petty has a 2009 photo with historical notes, and Google has an aerial view. Although this structure is not a lighthouse by anyone's definition, it is a unique and historic beacon built by the U.S. Lighthouse Board. Originally it was the rear light of a range, the front light being on Fig Island downstream. In 1999 the Savannah Morning News and CSX Real Property contributed $125,000 to restore the rusting tower as part of a larger city effort to spruce up historical monuments. The restoration began in August 2000 and the light was relit on 11 January 2001. Located in Savannah's Emmet Park, off East Bay Street. Site open. Owner/site manager: City of Savannah. ARLHS USA-1387.
[Tybee Knoll Cut Range Front (3?)]
Date unknown (station established 1878). Active; focal plane 40 ft (12 m); quick-flashing white light. 40 ft (12 m) skeletal mast mounted on a square wood platform supported by piles. Trabas has a photo by Capt. Peter, and Google has a satellite view. The Coast Guard has a historic photo of the original lighthouse, a square cylindrical wood tower centered on a 1-story wood keeper's house. This lighthouse was replaced by a skeletal tower and demolished sometime in the late 1920s or early 1930s. The Tybee Knoll Cut is the first long reach through the Savannah River estuary for vessels arriving in the river. Located on the north side of Daymark Island in the Savannah River estuary. Site and tower closed, although the tower can be seen from nearby. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Fort Pulaski National Monument. ARLHS USA-863; Admiralty J2792; USCG 3-4710.
Tybee Knoll Cut Range Rear (3?)
Date unknown (station established 1878). Active; focal plane 23 m (75 ft); white light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only on or near the range line. 24 m (79 ft) square pyramidal skeletal tower with gallery. The tower carries a large rectangular daymark, painted red with a white vertical stripe. Trabas has a photo by Capt. Peter, and Google has a satellite view. Located on the south side of Daymark Island in the Savannah River estuary. Site and tower closed, although the tower can be seen from nearby. Owner: U.S. Coast Guard. Site manager: Fort Pulaski National Monument. Admiralty J2792.1; USCG 3-4715.
Cockspur Island (2)
1857 (station established 1849). Reactivated (inactive 1909-2007, now maintained by the National Park Service); focal plane about 41 ft (12.5 m); white flash every 4 s. 46 ft (14 m) round brick tower with lantern and gallery, painted white. The keeper's house (formerly located at Fort Pulaski) has been destroyed. Dan Castleberry's photo is at right, the National Park Service has a page for the lighthouse, and the Coast Guard has a historic photo, and Google has a satellite view. The tower is a reconstuction of the 1849 tower. Despite being transferred to the National Park Service in 1958, the lighthouse was greatly endangered by high water and years of neglect. Bryan Penberthy has a photo of the lighthouse before it was restored. A Park Service restoration project completed in 2000 addressed the tower's immediate problems, but it remains vulnerable to wave damage during hurricanes or other severe storms. Lighthouse Digest has an August 2000 article on the restoration and a September 2003 article on the history of the light station. In March 2007 the park service relit the lighthouse. Later in that year it was discovered that shipworms have invaded the foundation, threatening to topple the tower. The Park Service has requested $1.4 million for a complete restoration. The Tybee Island Historical Society is coordinating other fundraising efforts. In November 2008, the Georgia Trust for Historic Preservation placed the lighthouse on its Places in Peril list. In October 2012, the Corps of Engineers began installing a rip rap barrier to protect the lighthouse, and the park service was planning a more extensive restoration to begin possibly in 2013. Located on a sandbar covered by water at high tide, on the north side of the entrance to the south channel of the lower Savannah River. Accessible only by boat, but there's a view from paths at Fort Pulaski. Site and tower open. Owner: U.S. National Park Service. Site manager: Fort Pulaski National Monument. ARLHS USA-181; Admiralty J2803.4; USCG 3-4661.

Cockspur Island Light, Savannah River, July 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Dan Castleberry
**** Tybee Island (Range Rear) (4)
1867 (station established 1736). Active; focal plane 144 ft (44 m); continuous white light. 145 ft (44 m) tapered octagonal brick tower attached to workroom; upper and lower portions painted black, center white. The 1st order Fresnel lens has been in use since 1867. Doug Kerr's photo is at the top of this page, Anderson has a great page with many photos, Trabas has Capt. Peter's view from the sea, Wikimedia has many photos, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Marinas.com has fine aerial photos, Huelse has a postcard view, and Google has a satellite view. This light station, the oldest in the South and second oldest in the nation, was established less than four years after the colony of Georgia was founded. The lower section of the lighthouse incorporates 60 ft (18 m) of the 100 ft (31 m) octagonal tower built in 1773. A major restoration in 1998 restored the tower to its original appearance and its black and white 1916 daymark. This is a remarkably well preserved light station with three keeper's houses and other historic buildings; the restoration of these buildings is continuing. The 1881 principal keeper's house has been restored recently and furnished as a museum. The second assistant keeper's house was built in 1861 as a Confederate Army barracks. The brick summer kitchen, built in 1812, is the oldest building preserved. Ownership of the station was transferred to the Tybee Island Historical Society in 2002 under the National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act. The lighthouse is the rear light of a range; the front light is on a square platform 1/2 mi (800 m) east of the lighthouse. Located on the south side of the Savannah River entrance, off US 80 in Tybee Island. Site and tower open daily (admission fee for buildings). Owner/site manager: Tybee Island Historical Society. ARLHS USA-864; Admiralty J2776.1; USCG 3-0345.

McIntosh County Lighthouses
** Sapelo Island (1)
1820 (Winslow Lewis). Reactived (inactive 1905-1998, now privately maintained and unofficial). 65 ft (20 m) round old-style brick tower, painted with horizontal red and white bands; lantern and gallery painted black. The keeper's house has been demolished, but the brick oil house (1890) survives. Larry Myhre's photo is at right, a 2009 closeup is available, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, and a Google satellite view is available. This is the nation's second-oldest brick lighthouse and the oldest survivor of Winslow Lewis's many lighthouse projects. The light was moved in 1905 to a pyramidal skeletal tower, which was deactivated in 1933 and relocated in 1934 to South Fox Island, Michigan. The original lighthouse was restored to its 1890 appearance in 1997-98, thanks to more than $200,000 in donations matched by federal and state grants. Matt Barnett has a 1990 photo showing how deteriorated the tower had become before the restoration. The lighthouse formerly marked the entrance to Doboy Sound, but the entrance has migrated southward, making the light useless for navigation today. Located near the southern tip of Sapelo Island. The island is a nature reserve, accessible by passenger ferry Monday through Friday. Tours are available from the Sapelo Island Visitor Center in Meridian on Wednesdays and Saturdays all year and also on Fridays in the summer. Site and tower open. Owner: Georgia State Parks. Site manager: Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve. ARLHS USA-738.
Sapelo Island Range Front (2)
1877 (range established 1868). Inactive for many years. 25 ft (7.5 m) square pyramidal cast iron skeletal tower with enclosed square lantern room, painted white. Larry Myhre has a closeup photo, and Google has a satellite view. It's not known how long this lighthouse remained in use; it had been inactive for years when it was used as an observation tower during World War II. Restored in 1997, it is a rare survivor of a once-common class of range lights. Located 200 yards (180 m) southeast of the 1820 lighthouse. Site open, tower closed. Owner: Georgia State Parks. Site manager: Sapelo Island National Estuarine Research Reserve. ARLHS USA-1014.
[Wolf Island (2)]
1868. Inactive since 1898. 55 ft (16.5 m) wooden beacon destroyed by the hurricane of 1898; its pilings can be seen in the surf off the north end of Wolf Island across the entrance to Doboy Sound from the Sapelo Island Light. No photo available. Accessible only by boat. Site open, but the adjacent shoreline is closed as a federally-protected wilderness area. Owner: U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Site manager: Wolf Island National Wildlife Refuge. ARLHS USA-1015.

Sapelo Island Light
Sapelo Island Light, March 2013
Flickr Creative Commons photo by Larry Myhre


Glynn County (Brunswick Area) Lighthouses
**** St. Simons Island (2)
1872 (Charles Cluskey) (station established 1810) . Active; focal plane 104 ft (32 m); continuous white light with a more intense flash every 60 s. 104 ft (32 m) round brick tower, painted white. The original 3rd order Fresnel lens is in use. Unusual 2-story brick Victorian keeper's house is now the Museum of Coastal Georgia. Brick oil house (1890) and a Victorian gazebo also preserved. John Peltier's photo is at right, Anderson has a fine page for the lighthouse, Trabas has Capt. Theo's view from the water, the Coast Guard has a historic photo, Marinas.com has aerial photos, Huelse has a historic postcard view, and a Google aerial view is available. This lighthouse replaced a 75 ft (23 m) early federal octagonal lighthouse built in 1810 and destroyed during the Civil War. The tower was restored in 1989-91 and again in 1997-98. On 26 May 2004, ownership of the lighthouse was transferred to the Coastal Georgia Historical Society under NHLPA. In late September 2009, the light was temporarily extinguished for several months of repairs and restoration. In February 2012, Glynn County received a $250,000 grant to restore the keeper's house. This was a key piece in raising $1.3 million to restore and endow the structure. The project began in late 2013. Located at the end of 12th Street off Beachview Street, on the southern end of St. Simons Island. Site and tower open daily (museum admission fee). Owner/site manager: Coastal Georgia Historical Society. ARLHS USA-805; Admiralty J2842; USCG 3-0520.
St. Simons South Tower
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 150 ft (46 m); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only along the approach to St. Simons Sound. 150 ft (46 m) square skeletal steel tower, painted white. Trabas has Capt. Theo's photo, and Google has an aerial view. This tower and the companion north tower define the two sides of the St. Simons Entrance Channel; if both lights are visible vessels are in the channel. We need information on their history. Located in St. Simons Sound off the west coast of St. Simons Island, about 500 ft (150 m) south southeast of the north tower. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J2843.2; USCG 3-6125.
St. Simons North Tower
Date unknown. Active; focal plane 150 ft (46 m); red light, 3 s on, 3 s off, visible only along the approach to St. Simons Sound. 150 ft (46 m) square skeletal steel tower, painted white. Trabas has Capt. Theo's photo, and Google has an aerial view. Located in St. Simons Sound off the west coast of St. Simons Island. Accessible only by boat. Site open, tower closed. Admiralty J2843; USCG 3-6120.
St. Simons Island Light
Saint Simons Island Light, December 2007
Flickr Creative Commons photo by John Peltier

Camden County Lighthouse
Little Cumberland Island
1838 (Joseph Hastings). Inactive since 1915 (a decorative light is now displayed). 60 ft (18 m) round old-style brick tower, painted white. The keeper's house and all other light station buildings were demolished in 1968. The Coast Guard has a historic photo, and Marinas.com has aerial photos, and Google has a satellite view. The tower was renovated in 1994-98, but it needs a more thorough restoration. Sand dunes are migrating toward the light, and as a result the tower is now barely visible from the water. Roger Bansemer has a good account of current conditions, and Sandra and Bob Shanklin report on the 1990s renovation. Located on the north end of Little Cumberland Island. Site and tower closed; the island is privately owned and closed to the public. Owner/site manager: Little Cumberland Island Association. ARLHS USA-439.

Inland Lighthouses

Lake Allatoona Lighthouses
Note: Lake Allatoona is a large reservoir on the Etowah River near Cartersville, northwest of Atlanta. The lake is at an elevation of 840 ft (256 m).
* Allatoona Landing
1980s. Active; focal plane 45 ft (14 m); flashing white light. 35 ft (10.5 m) round steel tower with a small lantern and gallery, painted white; lantern dome is green. No photo available, but Google has a good satellite view. Located at a marina off Old Allatoona Road in Allatoona, on the southern arm of the lake near exit 283 of the I-75 expressway. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Allatoona Landing Marina.
* Park Marina Lake Allatoona
1980. Active; focal plane 70 ft (21 m); flashing white light. 40 ft (12 m) octagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-story marina office and store building. Lighthouse painted a light blue with darker blue trim. Karen Marr has a photo, Kendrick Shackleford has a closeup of the lantern, and Google has a satellite view. Located off Red Top Mountain Road across the lake from the Allatoona Dam. Site open, tower closed. Owner: Park Marina Allatoona Lake. Site manager: Red Top Mountain State Park.

Lake Lanier Lighthouses

Note: Lake Lanier is a very large reservoir on the upper Chattahoochee River northeast of Atlanta. The lake is at an elevation of 1071 feet (326 m).
* Lanier Harbor
2008. Active; focal plane 27 ft (8 m); continuous white light. 25 ft (7.5 m) 2-story wood office and store building with a square wood lantern centered on the roof. Building painted gray with white trim. A 2011 photo is available, J.C. Wren has an aerial photo, and Google has a satellite view. Located at the Lanier Harbor Marina, off Buford Dam Road at the south end of the lake. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Lanier Harbor Marina.
Aqualand
1997. Active; focal plane 31 ft (9.5 m); flashing white light. 25 ft (7.5 m) square steel tower, painted with black and white horizontal bands. J. Fleming has a photo, and Google has a distant satellite view. This light marks the end of a breakwall built for the 1996 Olympic Games, when this part of Lake Lanier was the site of the rowing competition. Located at the Aqualand Marina off Lights Ferry Road on the southeast side of the lake. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Aqualand Marina.
* Port Royale
2009. Active; focal plane 40 ft (12 m); flashing white light. 45 ft (14 m) octagonal wood tower with lantern and gallery, attached to a 2-1/2 story restaurant. No photo available, and the lighthouse is too new to appear in Google's satellite view. Located at a marina off Brown's Bridge Road (GA 369) on the west central side of the lake. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: Port Royale Lake Lanier.

West Point Lake Lighthouse

Note: West Point Lake is a large reservoir on the lower Chattahoochee River, extending for about 35 mi (56 km) above the city of West Point. Most of the lake is in Georgia, but some of the western shore is in Alabama. The lake is at an elevation of 625 ft (191 m).
* Burnt Village (West Point Lake)
Date unknown. Active; light pattern unknown. Approx. 10 m (33 ft) hexagonal tower with lantern and gallery, painted with red and white horizontal bands. Mike Sussman has a photo, and Bing has a satellite view. This lighthouse is on the Georgia side of the state line, but access to it is through Alabama. Located on the north side of the entrance to the Burnt Village Marina, off Stateline Road about 5 km (3 mi) north of the West Point Dam. Site open, tower closed. Owner/site manager: unknown.

Information available on lost lighthouses:

  • Savannah (1964-1996), off the mouth of the Savannah River. This "Texas Tower" light was destroyed by a collision with the freighter Neptune Jade in November 1996. ARLHS USA-1320.

Adjoining pages: North: South Carolina | South: Eastern Florida and the Keys

Return to the Lighthouse Directory index | Ratings key

Checked and revised June 19, 2013. Lighthouses: 15. Site copyright 2013 Russ Rowlett and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.