Cape Cod is famous for its picturesque lighthouses that dot the coastline. These lighthouses served as beacons of light for sailors, warning them of dangerous shores and guiding them safely to harbor.
Today, these Cape Cod lighthouses are popular tourist attractions that offer stunning views of the ocean and a glimpse into the Cape’s rich maritime history. In this article, we’ll explore some of the most iconic lighthouses on Cape Cod and learn about their fascinating histories.
The Cape Cod lighthouses include:
- Bass River Light in Dennis
- Chatham Light in Chatham
- Highland Light (aka Cape Cod Light) in North Truro
- Hyannis Harbor Light in Hyannis
- Long Point Light in Provincetown
- Monomoy Lighthouse in Chatham
- Nauset Light in Eastham
- Nobska Point Light in Woods Hole
- Race Point Light in Provincetown
- Stage Harbor Lighthouse in Chatham
- Three Sisters Lighthouses in Eastham
- Wings Neck Light in Pocasset
- Wood End Light in Provincetown
Like many Massachusetts lighthouses, some of the lighthouses of Cape Cod are still actively in use. If you’re looking to do a Cape Cod Lighthouse tour, be aware that some require reservations and others aren’t open to the public so it’s best to plan ahead.
Bass River Light
Bass River Light is a beautiful lighthouse situated on the eastern bank of Bass River in South Yarmouth. The lighthouse was first constructed in 1856 and played an important role in guiding ships into the busy Bass River harbor. The lighthouse stands tall at 40 feet and is made of brick and cast iron, making it a distinctive landmark on Cape Cod.
Today, Bass River Light is no longer in operation and is maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard as a historical landmark. The lighthouse is open for public tours during the summer months and visitors can climb to the top to enjoy stunning views of the surrounding area.
It’s a great lighthouse to view on a kayak trip on Bass River. The nearby park also provides a great spot for picnicking, sunbathing, and enjoying a relaxing day by the river. If you’re a fan of lighthouses or just looking for a peaceful spot to spend a summer day, Bass River Light is definitely worth a visit.
If you’re looking for a Cape Cod lighthouse that’s easier to access, consider Chatham Lighthouse. It is located in Chatham right next to a free parking area which can get busy during the summertime. Chatham Lighthouse has been warning sailors of dangerous waters since 1808. The current tower was built in 1877 and stands at 80 feet tall. Chatham Light was originally a pair of lighthouses, called the “Twin Lights.”
Visitors can climb to the top of the tower for panoramic views of the Atlantic Ocean and the Cape Cod coastline. You need to book tours through the US Coast Guard Auxiliary website.
This area is also home to the Chatham Lighthouse Beach, a popular spot for swimming and sunbathing. Really nice beach. Tons of great white shark activity here though, don’t swim out too far.
Highland Lighthouse, aka Cape Cod Lighthouse
Highland Lighthouse, also known as Cape Cod Lighthouse, is located in North Truro and is one of the oldest lighthouses in the United States. The tower was first built in 1797 and was moved back several times due to erosion. In 1857, the current tower was built, standing at 66 feet tall.
Highland Lighthouse is the oldest and tallest lighthouse on Cape Cod. Like many Massachusetts lighthouses, it has a very rich history. Visitors can climb the tower and learn about the lighthouse’s fascinating history, including how it played a role in warning ships during World War II.
Visiting Highland Light is a great way to cap off a beach day if you’re at nearby beaches like Head of the Meadow Beach or Coast Guard Road beach. It’s also located right next to the Highland Links golf course. While leashed dogs are allowed on the Highland Lighthouse property, they’re not allowed in the lighthouse itself or in the adjoining museum.
Hyannis Harbor Light aka Lewis Bay Lighthouse
Hyannis Harbor Light, also known as Lewis Bay Lighthouse, is a charming lighthouse located on the east side of the Hyannis Harbor in Barnstable. Lewis Bay Lighthouse was first constructed in 1849 and underwent several reconstructions before its current structure was erected in 1929. The lighthouse stands at 24 feet tall and features a white conical tower with a black lantern on top. Hyannis Harbor Light played an important role in guiding ships into the busy harbor and was vital to the local fishing industry.
Today, Hyannis Harbor Light is no longer operational and is maintained as a historical landmark by the town of Barnstable. Visitors can enjoy views of the lighthouse from the harbor or take a short walk to the nearby pier for an up-close look.
The surrounding area features a variety of shops, restaurants, and other attractions, making it a great spot for a day trip. If you’re interested in lighthouses or simply looking for a picturesque spot to enjoy the Cape Cod scenery, Hyannis Harbor Light is definitely worth a visit.
Long Point Lighthouse
One of the most iconic and picturesque lighthouses on Cape Cod is the Long Point Light in Provincetown. This lighthouse has been guiding sailors safely through the treacherous waters off the coast of Provincetown for over 200 years. The lighthouse was first built in 1826 and was operated by a series of dedicated lighthouse keepers who were responsible for keeping the light burning bright through all kinds of weather.
Today, the Long Point Light is a popular destination for visitors to Provincetown. The lighthouse is located on a narrow strip of land that extends out into the harbor, providing stunning views of the surrounding water and coastline. It can be seen from the harbor beaches off of Commercial Street. Visitors can reach the lighthouse by taking a leisurely walk along the beach at low tide on the Provincetown causeway (a sometimes-submerged dike), renting a boat or kayak, or by taking a ferry or water taxi.
In addition to its scenic beauty, the Long Point Light also has a fascinating history. During the Civil War, the lighthouse was used as a lookout post by the Union Army, who were stationed in Provincetown to protect against Confederate raiders. Today, the lighthouse is a beloved landmark and a symbol of Cape Cod’s rich maritime history.
If you visit Long Point Lighthouse, watch out for poison ivy on the narrow paths! It’s everywhere. This is an awesome spot to bring a picnic, and it’s really quiet with few visitors even in the summertime due to the remote location.
Monomoy Light is a unique lighthouse located off the coast of Chatham, at the southern end of Cape Cod. The lighthouse was first established in 1823 and has since played an important role in guiding sailors through the dangerous waters around Monomoy Island. In addition to its rich history, the lighthouse is also known for its stunning location, which offers unparalleled views of the surrounding seascape.
Visitors to Monomoy Light can reach the lighthouse by taking a scenic boat ride or kayak paddle from Chatham. Once on the island, visitors can explore the lighthouse and its surrounding area, which is home to a variety of unique wildlife species. Visitors may also spot a variety of seabirds, seals, and even the occasional whale in the surrounding waters.
One of the highlights of a visit to Monomoy Light is the opportunity to climb to the top of the lighthouse and enjoy the breathtaking views of the surrounding coastline. From the top, visitors can see miles of pristine beaches, as well as the historic fishing villages that dot the coastline
Nauset Lighthouse, aka Nauset Light, is one of the most recognizable lighthouses on Cape Cod. It is located in Eastham and is known for its distinctive red and white stripes.
The lighthouse was first built in 1838 but was moved back several times due to erosion. In 1923, the current tower was built using the tower erected in 1877 at Chatham lighthouse, and stood at 48 feet tall. Visitors can climb to the top of the tower for breathtaking views of the Atlantic Ocean.
One of the biggest draws of Nauset Lighthouse is its proximity to some of the most beautiful beaches on the Cape. Nauset Light Beach, which is located just a short walk from the lighthouse, is a popular spot for swimming, surfing, and sunbathing. The beach is known for its towering sand dunes, wide expanse of sandy shore, and stunning ocean views. The parking lot fills up fast in the summertime. In addition to Nauset Light Beach, nearby Coast Guard Beach is another must-visit spot, known for its pristine white sand and crystal-clear water.
Visitors to Nauset Lighthouse can take a free tour of the lighthouse and climb to the top for spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding area. Visit nausetlighthouse.org for tour dates and times. The lighthouse museum offers a fascinating glimpse into the history of the area, including the story of the original Nauset Light which was swept into the sea during a storm in 1911. For those looking for a fun day trip filled with history, natural beauty, and outdoor adventure, a visit to Nauset Light and the nearby beaches is a must. While you’re at it, check out the nearby Three Sisters Lighthouse area.
Nobska Point Light
Nobska Point Light, aka Nobska Light, is an iconic lighthouse located in the charming town of Woods Hole. The lighthouse has been standing for over 150 years, guiding sailors through the treacherous waters around Martha’s Vineyard since the 19th century. It was originally known as originally called Nobsque Light, and is also known as Nobska Point Light. It’s located near Nobska beach, not far from the Woods Hole Ferry Terminal.
One of the most popular activities for visitors to Nobska Light is to climb to the top of the lighthouse and take in the panoramic views of Vineyard Sound and the surrounding area. From the top, visitors can see miles of pristine coastline, as well as the historic villages and towns that dot the landscape. The lighthouse also features a museum where visitors can learn more about the important role it played in the region’s past.
In addition to exploring the lighthouse itself, visitors can also enjoy a variety of outdoor activities in the surrounding area. The nearby beaches offer great opportunities for swimming, sunbathing, and beachcombing, while the surrounding trails are perfect for hiking and biking.
Race Point Lighthouse
Race Point Lighthouse is located at the northernmost tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown. The lighthouse was first built in 1816 and was reconstructed several times over the years.
Today, visitors can stay overnight in the lighthouse keeper’s house, which has been converted into a cozy bed and breakfast. The lighthouse offers stunning views of the ocean and the surrounding landscape, making it the perfect place to relax and unwind.
Race Point Lighthouse is easy to access if you have an ORV sticker to Race Point Beach. You can practically reach out the car window and touch it on the drive by. Otherwise you’re going to have to take a very long hike on the ORV trail from the main beach parking lot. It’s a cool lighthouse but not sure it’s worth that long walk.
Sandy Neck Light
Sandy Neck Light is a picturesque lighthouse located on the Cape Cod Bay side of the Cape in the town of Barnstable, at the entrance to Barnstable Harbor. The lighthouse was originally built in 1826 and has since been rebuilt several times, with the current structure dating back to 1857. Sandy Neck Light stands at 48 feet tall and has a white conical tower that is made of brick and capped with a black lantern. The lighthouse was an important navigational aid for mariners in the 19th century.
Sandy Neck Lighthouse was relit in 2008. Today, Sandy Neck Light is still operational and is maintained by the United States Coast Guard. While the lighthouse itself is not open for tours, visitors can enjoy the beautiful scenery and peaceful surroundings at the nearby beach and nature reserve.
The surrounding area offers opportunities for hiking, fishing, and birdwatching, making it a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts. If you’re looking to escape the crowds and experience the natural beauty of Cape Cod, a visit to Sandy Neck Light is a must.
Stage Harbor Lighthouse
Stage Harbor Lighthouse, located in Chatham, was first built in 1880 and stands at 48 feet tall. The lighthouse was used to guide ships into Stage Harbor and served as a navigational aid for sailors. Today, the lighthouse is privately owned and is not open to the public, but visitors can enjoy views of the lighthouse from Stage Harbor Road.
Today, the Stage Harbor Lighthouse is a popular attraction for visitors to Chatham. The lighthouse is located on a small island that can be reached by a short boat ride or kayak paddle. It is a charming red and white striped lighthouse, which has been beautifully restored and maintained over the years. It is currently privately owned, so you aren’t able to visit.
Aside from its scenic beauty, the Stage Harbor Lighthouse also has a fascinating history. During World War II, the lighthouse was used as a lookout post by the Coast Guard, who were on the lookout for enemy submarines in the waters off Cape Cod. Today, the lighthouse serves as a reminder of Cape Cod’s rich maritime history and is a popular spot for taking photos, enjoying a picnic, or simply taking in the stunning views of Stage Harbor.
Three Sisters Lighthouses
The Three Sisters Lighthouses are a group of three iconic lighthouses located in Eastham on Cape Cod. They’re part of the Cape Cod National Seashore and are located a quarter mile from Nauset Light Beach on Cable Road.
These lighthouses have a unique history and are a must-visit attraction for anyone on vacation in the area. The lighthouses were first built in 1838 and served as navigational aids for sailors traveling along the Cape Cod coast. At the time, the lighthouses were spaced 200 feet apart, each with its own distinctive appearance. Because there already was one light (the Cape Cod Light) in Truro, and two lights (the Twin Lights) in Chatham, it was decided that there should be three lights at the location halfway up cape cod so sailors could easily distinguish between the other lights.
Over the years, the Three Sisters of Nauset lighthouses were moved several times due to erosion, and by 1911, they had become obsolete and were decommissioned. However, local residents fought to preserve the historic landmarks and succeeded in having replicas of the lighthouses built on the original site. Today, visitors can see the three identical replicas standing in a row, giving a glimpse into Cape Cod’s maritime history.
The Three Sisters Lighthouse location is a favorite spot for photographers and history buffs alike. Located in a beautiful coastal setting, they’re surrounded by sandy beaches and picturesque dunes. Visitors can take a leisurely stroll along the nearby Cape Cod Rail Trail or enjoy a picnic on the nearby beach while taking in the stunning views of the lighthouses. The Three Sisters Lighthouse site is a great way to follow up a visit to Nauset Lighthouse after a day at Nauset Light Beach.
Wings Neck Light
Wing’s Neck Light, located in Pocasset, is a beautiful lighthouse located a few feet from the shore on a small point of land overlooking Buzzards Bay, so it offers stunning views of the surrounding coastline. Visitors to Wing’s Neck Light can climb to the top of the lighthouse for a panoramic view of the bay, or explore the nearby trails and beaches for a closer look at the local wildlife.
One of the unique features of Wing’s Neck Light is that visitors can actually stay in the lighthouse keeper’s cottage, which has been beautifully restored and converted into a vacation rental. The cottage offers all the modern amenities that you would expect, while still retaining the historic charm of the original lighthouse. Imagine waking up to the sound of the waves crashing on the shore, and spending your days exploring the beautiful beaches and coastline of Cape Cod.
In addition to the lighthouse itself, the surrounding area is home to a variety of attractions and activities. Visitors can enjoy hiking and biking on the nearby trails, fishing or kayaking in the bay, or simply relaxing on the nearby beaches.
Woods End Lighthouse
Woods End Lighthouse is a charming lighthouse located at the tip of Cape Cod in Provincetown. First established in 1872, the lighthouse has a rich history of guiding sailors safely through the treacherous waters off the coast of Cape Cod. During World War II, the lighthouse was used by the U.S. Navy to monitor enemy ships and submarines. Today, the lighthouse is an iconic landmark and a testament to Cape Cod’s rich maritime history.
Visitors to Woods End Lighthouse can reach the area by taking a short boat ride or kayak paddle through Provincetown harbor and then a short walk. Or you can walk over the Provincetown Causeway at low tide for a nice day-trip walk on a beautiful, very secluded beach.
Once you arrive you will be greeted by the charming red and white striped lighthouse, which has been beautifully maintained over the years. There are stunning views of the surrounding waters, which are teeming with marine life.
One of the highlights of a visit to Woods End Lighthouse is the beautiful remote beach nearby. The beach is accessible only by boat or by hiking through the sand dunes, which means that it is never crowded and always peaceful (until the crowded boat of tourists arrives, anyway). A perfect day trip. Visitors can enjoy a relaxing day soaking up the sun and taking in the beautiful views of the surrounding coastline without the hassle of summer tourist crowds.
Summary: Cape Cod Lighthouses
Cape Cod’s lighthouses offer a glimpse into the region’s rich maritime history and provide stunning views of the ocean. Whether you’re interested in history or just want to take in the natural beauty of Cape Cod, a visit to one of these iconic lighthouses is a must. So the next time you’re on vacation on Cape Cod, be sure to stop by one of these lighthouses and experience their charm and beauty for yourself.