The St. Augustine Lighthouse is one of the iconic structures of the city, standing tall above the beautiful shores of Anastasia Island. Visitors to the St. Augustine lighthouse can enjoy some of the best views of the city, learn more about the Nation’s oldest port, and learn how this incredible monument to history played a pivotal role in St. Augustine’s maritime history.
Though the St. Augustine Lighthouse is currently closed during the COVID-19 pandemic, it’s taken its program online. For the time being, you can now visit the Nation’s Oldest Port online. You can even enjoy a virtual sunset from the top of this spectacular building. While this is all wonderful, we look forward to the day when we can watch a sunset from the top in person. There’s nothing that compares!
If you’d like to see this historic building and watch a magical sunset from the top, then it’s time to start planning your trip to St. Augustine. There’s only once place to stay that offers you access to both the Old City and the St. Augustine Beach, and comes with all the fine value-added amenities you could possibly need, and that is the St. Francis Inn. Book your room at our Historic luxury St. Augustine Boutique Hotel today!
Your Guide to the St. Augustine Lighthouse
The Port of St. Augustine has been strategically important since it’s earliest days as a Spanish territory in the 1500s. The first St. Augustine Lighthouse was actually built originally as a wooden watchtower. At that time, it was used to both protect the Spanish settlement from potential invaders and to guide ships into the busy port.
The watchtower only lasted until 1586 before burning down, at which time it was replaced by a new structure. By 1683, a new lighthouse had been built, and that one stood for 200 years before toppling thanks to shoreline erosion. Before that tower fell, however, a new lighthouse had already been constructed in 1874 further inland, and that is the tower that still stands today. Today, the St. Augustine Lighthouse is the oldest surviving brick structure in the city, and it serves as a living reminder of this city’s incredible history.
The St. Augustine Lighthouse stands a majestic 165 feet above Anastasia Island, overlooking Matanzas Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. The St. Augustine Lighthouse is still actively used as a navigation aid for maritime vessels today. Even so, inside the lighthouse, you’ll find a dedicated museum with a variety of exhibits, and stairs to the top. To reach the top, there are an impressive 219 stairs to climb. The climb may seem daunting, but the 360-degree view of the city and the ocean that you’ll enjoy from the top is absolutely breathtaking and entirely worth the journey.
There are a number of educational exhibits at the Keeper’s House and the Maritime Education Center worth examining. There are also daily guided tours of the lighthouse, included with the cost of admission. On the tour, you’ll learn more about the role this lighthouse played in St. Augustine’s early years, and you’ll also learn about the extensive preservation work being carried out today.
Aside from the standard daily tour, the St. Augustine Lighthouse also offers a series of specialty tours throughout the year.
- The Lighthouse Ghost Tour, otherwise known as the Dark of the Moon Tour, is an exclusive guided paranormal tour. It is the only after-dark tour of the lighthouse. Guests can learn the ghostly history behind the light station and the keeper’s house, conduct their own paranormal investigation, and ascend the 219 steps for a nighttime view of the nation’s oldest city.
- The Lighthouse Keeper’s Tour is a personalized visit with the St. Augustine’s Lighthouse Keeper. You’ll tour the station, climb a working lighthouse, and get all of your questions answered.
- Sunset/Moonrise Tour, where guests can enjoy drinks and appetizers while they watch the sunset and the moonrise over the ancient city from the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse. Tickets to this once a month event often sell out well in advance, so make sure you plan well ahead of time.
- Sunrise Lens Room Tour offers visitors a personal tour behind the scenes of the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum, complete with special access to the Lens Room, where the original 1874 first-order, Fresnel lens still shines. This tour is the only way to get inside the lens room.
The Best Boutique Hotel in St. Augustine
There’s so much to explore in St. Augustine that one day is just not enough. From spending time visiting attractions like the St. Augustine Lighthouse and meandering the pedestrian-friendly streets of Old Town to lounging on the beach, you’ll soon find out that there’s nothing quite like historic St. Augustine.
Our luxury boutique hotel offers you the chance to see St. Augustine from every angle, and it’s what makes us the best choice for lodging in the city. Now only are we close enough for Old Town for you to walk and explore to your heart’s content, but we offer exclusive and free access to the St. Augustine Beaches via our beach cottage property. It’s one of the many perks of staying with us at the St. Francis Inn.