Cape Cod has a number of historic lighthouses for you to visit. Some of the most interesting ones are in our part of Cape Cod, the Lower Cape. We've described some of the most prominent ones near Handkerchief Shoals Inn, below.
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Location: 37 Main Street, Chatham, MA Distance from Us: 6 miles
Chatham Lighthouse was established in 1808, making it the second lighthouse on Cape Cod. It was originally made up of two towers and two lights, the Twin Lights. In the early 1900s, one of the lights was moved to Nauset to create the Nauset Lighthouse. Today, Chatham Lighthouse is an operational lighthouse run by the U. S. Coast Guard, and the grounds serve as a U. S. Coast Guard station.
It's location is the perfect place for a lighthouse. Pleasant Bay is to the north, Nantucket Sound is to the south, and the Atlantic Ocean is to the east. Eventually, however, the structure will need to be moved since the coastline around it is constantly eroding.
On-duty Coast Guard personnel live at the site. Tours are conducted by the Coast Guard Auxiliary, although tours are currently cancelled until further notice due to maintenance. The main structure stands 48 feet tall and is 80 feet above sea level. It's location and height make for great views of the surrounding areas, including the iconic North Beach Break.
Location: 120 Nauset Light Beach Road, Eastham, MA Distance from Us: 16.4 miles
Nauset Light (Nauset Beach Light) was created in 1923 from one of the two lighthouses originally at the Chatham Lighthouse location. It was the first lighthouse built in Eastham, Massachusetts. Because of beach erosion, the lighthouse has been moved more than once over the years. The last move was in 1996, when the lighthouse was moved to its current site.
Today, Nauset Light is maintained and operated by the Nauset Light Preservation Society. The lighthouse and the adjacent oil house are open for tours during the summer months. (A Lightkeeper's House is also on the property, but it is a private home and not part of the tour.)
The best time to tour is in the later afternoon. By that time, crowds at the adjacent beach have cleared out, and parking is available. Note that the Nauset Light site is just a short hike to the Three Sisters Lighthouses, if you want to visit that attraction.
Location: Three Sisters, Cable Road, Eastham, MA Distance from Us: 15.9 miles
The Three Sisters of Nauset (Three Sisters Lighthouses) were originally put into service in 19385. Due to beach erosion, the first structures were replaced with lighter, moveable structures. The three buildings were sold along the way, but, eventually, in the 1980s, the National Park Service restored the three lighthouses and placed them on the current site. Tours began in 1989.
Today, the Three Sisters of Nauset are 1,800 feet from Nauset Light Beach. A paved path runs between the two locations. You can park at either location and visit both sites, if you like. You can simply drop by and visit the Three Sisters site any time during the day, but you can't enter the interiors of the structures without being part of a tour. Guided tours of the interiors are conducted from May until October.
Monomoy Point Lighthouse was originally constructed in 1823. The lighthouse's usefulness decreased over time, and it was deactivated in 1923. Today, Monomoy Point Lighthouse is located on the southernmost tip of Monomoy Island South and is part of the Monomoy National Wildlife refuge.
It is supported by the Lighthouse Preservation Society, the Friends of Monomoy, and the Massachusetts Audubon Society. It is one of the least visited lighthouses in Massachusetts. It is only accessible by boat. Typically, a ferry service is used, and they only go to the island during summer months. The island has no permanent residents, no electricity, and no paved roads.