Historic St. Augustine, the oldest city in the U.S., has an endless variety of things to do and see. Iconic St. Augustine Lighthouse, located on the north end of Anastasia Island, is one of the area’s more popular attractions.
St. Augustine Lighthouse was built in 1824, before Florida was a state. This makes it the first lighthouse constructed in Florida by the American government. Despite the rumors, however, St. Augustine wasn’t Florida’s first lighthouse. In fact, it was built upon the remains of a 16th century Spanish tower that was likely also a maritime beacon.
In any case, after nearly 200 years, St. Augustine is still a working light station. The grounds are home to a fascinating maritime museum that offers tours of the tower!
Visiting the Lighthouse and Museum
Visitors to St. Augustine Lighthouse will discover a variety of buildings, exhibits, and activities to explore, not the least of which is the lighthouse tower.
The lighthouse is 165 feet tall with 219 spiraling steps leading up to the lighthouse observation deck, 140 above the ground. Though the climb may seem daunting, the expansive views of Matanzas Bay, Anastasia Island, and the city at the top make it worth the effort. 8 landings and a series of historical story panels posted along the way help to ease the climb.
A number of other buildings on site house fascinating exhibits. These include the 1875 Keeper’s House, Oil Room and Keeper’s Office, a WWII-era US Coast Guard Barracks and Garage, and a Maritime Center.
The museum presents a variety of daily demonstrations and there are hands-on activities for all ages all around the site. See wooden boats being built, the conservation of shipwreck artifacts, and more. You can also explore the grounds via a series of scenic nature trails.
Lighthouse Tours and Experiences
The museum offers a variety of specialty tours that provide a deeper look at the grounds and Florida coast history.
The Lighthouse Keeper’s Tour – is an hour long tour of the station and lighthouse with the current Lighthouse Keeper.
Dark of the Moon Ghost Tours – These are the only tours that will get you into the lighthouse at night. Hear spooky but true tales from the history of the lighthouse on this 1.5 to 2 hour tour, which includes the option to rent an EMF reader. Private Ghost Tours are also available.
Sunset Moonrise View – Come watch the sun disappear and the full moon ascend from the vantage point of the lighthouse tower. Includes complimentary champagne and hors d’oeuvres.
Sunrise, Lens Room Tour – Get a closer look at St. Augustine’s historic and original, 1874, first-order, Fresnel lens with the lighthouse lens room tour. Composed of over 370 handmade prisms, the nine foot tall, two ton lens is a marvel of scientific engineering.
St. Augustine Lighthouse and Museum
Open seven days a week – 9am to 6pm
100 Red Cox Road, St. Augustine, FL 32080
Visit the lighthouse and museum website for more information. You can also follow the lighthouse on Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter.
St. Augustine Lodging
The Club Continental in Orange Park, Florida, is a romantic and intimate Florida coast hotel, private club, and special events venue. Built in 1923 on the banks of the St. Johns River, our selection of rooms and suites will have you relaxing under towering, 300 year old, Spanish moss draped Live Oaks. Book your stay at The Club Continental today!