From the Sandy Hook Lighthouse to the north, Cape May Lighthouse down south, and Finns Point Range Lighthouse to the west—New Jersey lighthouses give a peek into our state’s seafaring history. Start at the base, where you can peruse museums and information centers to learn about these beacons of light, and then climb up the stairwells to the top to see the fantastic coast views. Scroll down to discover more about these unique structures, and don’t miss out on other NJ attractions to visit with the family. (featured photo credit: istock/EduardMoldoveanuPhotography)
New Jersey Lighthouses to Visit with Kids
Travel to Atlantic City to visit New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse. At 171 feet, the lighthouse is the third tallest in the country and the only lighthouse in New Jersey with its original first-order Fresnel Lens at the top (still lit every evening, though it’s been decommissioned since 1933.) You can climb the 228 steps and view the Atlantic City skyline at a breathtaking height, then stop by the historic museum and gift shop while visiting.
31 S. Rhode Island Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
When you climb the top of Barnegat Lighthouse, you’ll be rewarded with a panoramic view of Island Beach and Long Beach Island. The Interpretive Center showcases the story of the historic lighthouse, lit initially in 1859, and the park also boasts picnic tables, fishing, nature observation, and trails. With 217 steps, it’s steep, but the interpretive center has four live stream cameras so that small children and families who may not make it to the top can still see the same views. Open daily from Memorial Day to Labor Day, weather permitting.
208 Broadway, Barnegat Light, NJ 08006
Cape May Lighthouse
Sitting at the southernmost tip of New Jersey, the towering and iconic Lighthouse stands 157 feet high and has 217 steps leading to the top. Kids will enjoy learning about how the lighthouse has operated in the past and remains an active aid to navigation. Stop by the museum shop at the Lighthouse’s bottom after your climb.
215 Lighthouse Avenue, Cape May, NJ 08204
Sandy Hook Lighthouse
The 250-year-old Sandy Hook Lighthouse is the oldest working lighthouse in the United States. It stands tall, just one mile from the tip of Sandy Hook in the National Gateway Recreation Area. Tours inside the lighthouse are first come, first serve, and you can learn about this imposing and historic beacon at the Lighthouse Keepers Quarters and Visitor Center.
85 Mercer Rd, Highlands, NJ 07732
East Point Lighthouse
Formally known as the Maurice River Lighthouse, the East Point Lighthouse was built in 1849 and lit for the first time in 1911. It’s the second oldest lighthouse in New Jersey and the only remaining New Jersey land-based lighthouse on the Delaware Bay. And with its interesting structure (the beacon is in the center of the cape-cod-style house), you can tour the museum and then go up to the top to see beautiful views of Delaware Bay.
10 Lighthouse & E. Point Rds., Heislerville, NJ 08324
Finns Point Range Light
Located in Pennsville, the Finns Point Range Lighthouse stands at 94 feet and operated beginning in 1876. The light was deactivated in 1950, and there are 130 steps to the top. Although it’s only open for special events, you can still go and admire this spectacular and historical New Jersey Lighthouse and then walk on the adjoining Supawna Meadows Wildlife Refuge.
Old Fort Mott Rd, Pennsville, NJ 08070
Hereford Inlet Lighthouse
Several different gardens and incredible history surround this magnificent lighthouse on Hereford Inlet. The Lighthouse was first used in the 17th century and does not look like your average lighthouse—more like a gingerbread cottage. The light can still be seen each night, as it gets dark, and is still a working navigational aid for ships and sailors.
111 North Central Avenue, North Wildwood, NJ 08260
Navesink Twin Lights
With a history dating back to the Revolutionary War, this spot on the Highlands of Navesink is home to two lighthouses separated by a few hundred feet. You can climb the North Tower at your leisure, but to see the inside of the South Tower, you need to book a tour. After, check out the renovated Seeing Stars museum, which follows America’s flags from their creation to the present.
Lighthouse Road, Highlands, NJ 07732
Sea Girt Lighthouse
The Sea Girt Lighthouse was built in 1896, halfway between the Navesink Lighthouse and the Barnegat Lighthouse. This pretty house structure stands 60 feet above the water and has 42 steps from the bottom to the lantern room. Take a tour of the main house (fun fact: photos of the families who lived here over the years line the mantle), and the tower is open for climbing and ocean views.
9 Ocean Ave., Sea Girt, NJ 08750
Unlike a typical lighthouse, the Tinicum Lighthouse is a steel structure that stands 85 feet tall. With 112 steps to the top, families can see a beautiful view of the Delaware River. There are special events for climbing to the top, and if you can’t make it, a video tour of this NJ lighthouse is available on the website.
Second Street and Mantua Avenue, Paulsboro, NJ 08066
Tucker’s Island Light
Even though this New Jersey Lighthouse’s original structure has been lost, you can find what it looked like at Tuckerton Seaport. Though it’s not an active lighthouse, Tucker’s Island Lighthouse is still lit every night and can be climbed to the top for beautiful views. Inside, there’s a gallery highlighting folk art and a gift shop at the base.
120 W. Main Street, Tuckerton, NJ 08087
Which New Jersey lighthouses have you visited?
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