A Tour of Cape Cod Lighthouses

Written by Posted On Wednesday, 03 September 2014 09:14

Perhaps one of the most iconic images of Cape Cod is that of a picturesque lighthouse jutting from a lonely shore or rocky outcropping. The Cape’s lighthouses have a storied history in the Cape’s seafaring past. A scenic drive around the Cape can take tourists and locals alike on a jaunt through history.

Starting at bay side of the Upper Cape and traveling clockwise, visitors can make a circuit that includes many of the Cape’s lighthouses.

Wing’s Neck Lighthouse in Pocasset dates back to 1849. Although the original lighthouse and keeper’s house can be viewed from a distance, they are both now privately owned.

Continuing around the Cape, the next lighthouse visitors will see is Sandy Neck Light. The light is now private property and is most easily visible by boat – visitors can join a whale watching excursion from Barnstable Harbor to catch a glimpse of it.

Located in Eastham are the three lighthouse towers known as The Three Sisters, named such because they resembled girls dressed in black hats and white dresses. Although they are no longer in operation, they can still be visited.

Moving along up the bayside coast toward the tip of the Cape, Long Point Light sits at the entrance to Provincetown’s harbor. Its green light is unmanned. Long Point was built in 1875 and is accessible only by boat or on foot.

Wood End Light is located near the very tip of the Cape. Accessed only by a lengthy hike, visitors should be prepared for bugs and hot sun. Also located near the Cape’s tip, Race Point Light is visible from Wood End Light. Visitors can actually spend the night at its keeper’s house.

Moving along down the Outer Cape from Provincetown, Highland Light is also known as Cape Cod Light and bears the look of a quintessential New England lighthouse. The light was actually relocated to save it from cliff erosion and a plunge to the sea.

Nauset Light is familiar to anyone who has ever eaten a bag of Cape Cod Potato Chips, as the chip packages bear the recognizable red-and-white light tower. The light itself can be reached only by climbing a circular staircase clinging to the interior walls of the building.

Farther down the coast is Chatham Light with views of a beautiful, sandy beach. The waters off Chatham were treacherous for sailors until the original double-towered light was built in 1808, and the light was rebuilt several times over the years. In 1923, the north light tower was moved up the coast, leaving just one tower. Today, the light is easily accessible by car.

Since Chatham is one of the foggiest areas on the East Coast, in 1880, Stage Harbor Light was constructed to aid Chatham Light. The light is now private property but is visible from Harding’s Beach in Chatham.

Journeying back toward Bourne, visitors will encounter Bass River Light, which is now an inn and restaurant operating during the summer months.  Continuing along the coast, the final lighthouse on our tour around the rim of the Cape is Nobska Point Light in Woods Hole. It was initially built to provide protection to boaters in Buzzards Bay and Vineyard Sound.


While this tour doesn’t include all of the Cape’s lighthouses, it’s a great start for those wishing to sample a slice of New England’s storied past. There’s a lot of great information available online about the history of Cape Cod’s lighthouses for those interested in photographing or touring them.

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Kim Clark

As a Real Estate broker, a former pediatric nurse, and a resident for 35 years, Kim Clark knows Cape Cod! She specializes in residential real estate, waterfront homes, dock homes, golf homes, 1031 tax exchange, and at this point works mostly by referral. She also has a team member that specializes in commercial real estate if that is your need. As the owner of Bayside Realty Consultants, Kim services these areas: Cape Cod, Orleans, Dennis, Brewster, Harwich, Chatham, Yarmouth, Barnstable, Eastham, Wellfleet,Truro, P-Town, and Sandwich.

Kim has been married for 27 years and has two children, two dogs and a cat. She enjoys water sports, classic cars, hockey, basketball, volleyball, and car racing. She owns a pro-4 race car that races all over New England.


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