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Cape Cod Lighthouses
Tours, Photo Ops and Lots More!

Updated: September 11, 2021

Wondering which Cape Cod lighthouses are open to the public for tours? Looking for the best lighthouse photo ops? I'll show you! 

I'll also tell you about a super-cool, little-known lodging option for lighthouse lovers. :-)

Close-up view of Cape Cod LighthouseCape Cod Lighthouse ("Highland Light") in North Truro, MA

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Lighthouses on Cape Cod
Need to Know Info

  • Tours: May - Oct., grounds open to the public year round

  • Best For: Everyone 
  • Time to Allot: 1/2 hour+

  • Food/Restrooms: No

  • Reservations: Not required

More details below


Nobska Point Lighthouse

 

Nobska Point Light


Nobska Light sits high on a bluff in Woods Hole - a village in the town of Falmouth.

Originally built in 1828, Nobska Point Lighthouse's original Fresnel lens is still in use. The nearby island of Martha's Vineyard is visible in the distance.

The organization Friends of Nobska Light recently undertook the daunting task of preserving and protecting this wonderful lighthouse, the keeper's house and the grounds. Donations toward this worthy cause are gratefully accepted!

*FYI: If you're a fan of Cape Cod Potato Chips, you might recognize Nobska Light. It's the lighthouse pictured on Cape Cod Chips bags. :-)


2021 Nobska Lighthouse Tour Schedule: 


Tuesdays and Thursdays from 10 am to noon.

Only the first floor of the Tower is accessible during the tours.

*Note: Masks are required inside the tower, regardless of vaccination status.

Admission: Free. Donations are appreciated!

Driving to Nobska Point Lighthouse:

Route 28 in Falmouth, to Woods Hole Road, to Church Street, to Nobska Point Lighthouse.

If you're biking along the Shining Sea Bikeway in Falmouth, you can also reach the light house by turning off the Bikeway at Church Street, or turning off at Oyster Pond Road then onto Nobska Road.

More Info: Friends of Nobska Light FB page

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Chatham Lighthouse

 

Chatham Light


For more than two centuries, mariners have relied on beacons from Chatham to safely navigate the treacherous waters around the "elbow" of Cape Cod.

Chatham Light, as you see it today, is one of two lighthouse towers that stood here in the mid-1800s.

In 1923, the second tower was dismantled and transported up the coast to Eastham where it became "Nauset Lighthouse" (see below).

Chatham Lighthouse is perhaps the most often-photographed of all Cape Cod lighthouses, thanks to its impressive setting overlooking Lighthouse Beach - one of the most beautiful beaches in Chatham.

2021 Chatham Light Tour Schedule: 

Interior tours of the tower have been postponed during lighthouse maintenance. But you'll still have great views of the lighthouse from ground level!

Admission: Free  

Driving to Chatham Light House:

Take Main Street to Shore Road.

Parking near the Lighthouse is extremely limited and often impossible to find. It's best to park in town and walk, bike or take the trolley (seasonal) to the light house.

More Info: USCG Auxiliary 

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Nauset Light

 

Nauset Light

Nauset Light was moved from Chatham to Eastham in 1923 to replace the last-standing of Eastham's "Three Sisters" - a trio of Cape Cod lighthouses that had, over time, succumbed to the elements and erosion of the cliffs on which they stood. (More about Three Sisters, below.)

Nauset Lighthouse, along with its Keeper's House and Oil House, sit on a knoll overlooking Nauset Light Beach and the Atlantic Ocean. Not surprisingly given it's gorgeous setting, this is the most often-photographed lighthouse on Cape Cod!

2021 Nauset Lighthouse Tour Schedule: 

Interior tours postponed until further notice.

The grounds are open every day from dawn to dusk.

Admission: Free

Driving to Nauset Lighthouse:

Route 6 to Brackett Road, to Nauset Road, to Cable Road, to Nauset Light Beach Road.

*Note: You'll find vehicle parking at the adjacent Nauset Light Beach parking lot. Cape Cod National Seashore parking fees apply in season until 4:30 p.m.

(See my Guide to Beaches in Eastham for more info about parking at Nauset Light Beach, National Seashore parking passes, etc.)

More Info: Nauset Light Preservation Society

Three Sisters Lighthouses

Built in 1892 to replace the original brick towers that were damaged by coastal erosion, the "Three Sisters" are now located just a short walk down Cable Road from Nauset Light.

These towers have a fascinating history! After ending their service as beacons for mariners, the lighthouses were sold to a private party in the 1920s. At times they were made part of a summer home - and one was once used as living space for a New York City ballet school.

2021 Three Sisters Lighthouses Tour Schedule: 

Mondays from June through September, 11 a.m. to noon. Tours meet at Three Sisters parking lot on Cable Road.

The grounds are open daily from dawn to dusk.

Admission: Free

Driving to Three Sisters: See directions above for driving to Nauset Light. Then follow the signs from Nauset Light to walk to the Three Sisters.

*Park in the Nauset Beach lot (fee/pass required in season). Or park in the small Three Sisters lot on Cable Road - if a space is available.

More Info: Cape Cod National Seashore events calendar


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Highland Light (a/k/a Cape Cod Lighthouse)

 

Inside Highland Light


The first light house on Cape Cod was built on the cliffs of North Truro in 1797.

Over the centuries, Highland Lighthouse has been re-built, re-fitted and even moved a number of times to save it from toppling off the eroding cliffs into the ocean.

The latest move took place during the summer of 1996, in an amazing process that involved sliding the 430-ton structure more than 450 feet along steel beams lubricated with Ivory Soap!

FYI: Although its formal name is "Cape Cod Lighthouse", we all know and refer to it as "Highland Light".

2021 Highland Light Tour Schedule:

Due to ongoing structural repairs, the lighthouse tower is currently closed to interior tours.

Directions to Highland Lighthouse:

Route 6 to Highland Road, then right onto South Highland Road, and left onto Highland Light Road.

More Info:
Highland Light

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Race Point Lighthouse


Race Point Light


Race Point is the most remote of all Cape Cod lighthouses accessible by land.

To get there, you'll need some good walking shoes and a lot of stamina. It's nearly a 2-mile hike from the nearest parking lot through soft, shifting sand. (A very tough trek if you're wearing flip-flops!)

Or, if you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle that's equipped to travel over sand, and you buy the required permit, you can drive out to the lighthouse.

Find out about oversand driving to Race Point here.

2021 Race Point Lighthouse Tour Schedule:

Earlier this year, Covid-19 restrictions were still in place. So the decision was made to cancel interior tours at Race Point Light for the 2021 season.

Fingers crossed that tours will be able to resume in spring of 2022!

Admission: Suggested donation of $5 per adult (ages 8-60) to climb the tower.

Directions to the beach parking lot:

Route 6 to Race Point Road, then follow the signs to Race Point Beach parking lot. A parking fee or National Seashore parking pass may be required.

More Info: Race Point Light

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Map of Lighthouses on Cape Cod MA

The blue icons indicate where each lighthouse is located. To see how to get there, click on "Map" view and zoom around with the (+ and -) buttons.



View Cape Cod Lighthouses - Open to the Public in a larger map

 

Lighthouse lovers and history buffs, this book's for you! 

The Lighthouse Handbook - New England is filled with the fascinating stories and vintage photos of our local lighthouses and their "keepers" throughout the centuries. 

It's a wonderful read! Check it out!


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Lighthouse Vacations

For true lighthouse aficionados, what could be better than vacationing in a keeper's house?

Staying at Race Point Light

Getting away from it all" takes on a whole new meaning when you stay here!

The renovated keeper's house has 3 bedrooms, shared kitchen and bathroom, and very few modern conveniences.

Bring your own food, cook it yourself, and have the time of your life swimming, beachcombing, and watching the sun set from the lantern room.

*Update: Race Point Lighthouse stays have been paused until 2022.

Click here for more photos and rental information >>




Staying at Wings Neck Light

Located on Wings Neck Point in the village of Pocasset in the town of Bourne, this is the perfect spot for a unique family getaway!

Swim and sun at the beach. Fish from the rock jetty. Or just lounge the day away on the lawn, watching ships come and go from the nearby Cape Cod Canal.

Whatever your pleasure ... it's all good!

Click here for more photos and rental information >>


* Keep This Info for Later * 
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Lantern room at Nauset Lighthouse on Cape Cod

 


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NOTE: Tour schedules, hours of operation, entrance fees, etc. may change at any time, without prior notice. Please confirm all information on your own before making any travel plans.