New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge
How many New Jersey lighthouses do you think you can visit in just two days? Take the Annual Lighthouse Challenge—October 16-17, 2021—to not only experience New Jersey’s notable lighthouses, but to help raise funds for the preservation of these majestic beacons of light. This year, your keepsake is a poster you can purchase to collect completion stickers along the way—this is one you’ll want to frame and hang proudly in your home! View this page to plot out your challenge weekend, and learn about the participating lighthouses and related sites below.
At 171 feet tall, this is New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse, and it’s also one of the oldest lighthouses in the country. At the top of a 228-step climb, this beacon offers unmatched views of the glittering Atlantic City skyline.
Located on the northern tip of Long Beach Island, Barnegat Lighthouse State Park provides breathtaking views of Barnegat Bay and stretches of coastline. It takes 217 steps to get to the top of the lighthouse—but visitors don’t have to make the climb to enjoy the scenery stretch out below. Live images from four cameras are projected in the Interpretive Center, where you can also learn about the lighthouse’s history. The nearby Barnegat Light Museum houses the original 1,025 prism lens, along with artifacts, replicas and photographs depicting the history of Barnegat Light and Long Beach Island.
Cape May Point
Built in 1859, this historic lighthouse has welcomed countless visitors to Cape May, as they pass by on ships or visit in person while exploring Cape May State Park. A 199-step climb delivers dramatic ocean panoramas and a Visitors’ Orientation Center and Museum Shop are located inside the nearby Oil House.
Situated at the mouth of the Maurice River and overlooking the Delaware Bay, this charming little lighthouse was built in 1849. Witness the site and grounds that have inspired artists, photographers, nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike. Bright Idea: For the 2021 Lighthouse Challenge, make sure you collect your stickers for East Point Lighthouse and Delaware Bay Lights at this location.
First lit in 1877, this historic iron tower in the Supawna Meadows National Wildlife Refuge reaches 115 feet into the sky. Inside, it takes 130 steps to get to the focal point—with 119 of those steps built into a spiral staircase and another 11 on a step ladder. Brilliant Move: Make sure you retrieve stickers for both the Finns Point Light and The New Jersey Lighthouse Society at this Challenge location.
As part of Gateway National Recreation Area, this lighthouse overlooks Sandy Hook Bay and is walking distance from a number of notable historic sites and nature trails. It is the oldest never-rebuilt, still-operating lighthouse in the country and a must-see in New Jersey.
This red brick lighthouse first shined its light in 1896, and it was the last live-in lighthouse constructed on the Atlantic coast with its tower built directly into the living quarters of the keeper—the third of whom was a woman who kept the light shining for two months in 1910 when she took over as acting keeper following her husband’s death.
Located along the shores of the Delaware River, this lighthouse with its lantern room and watch room now features a modern steel skeletal structure that reaches 85 feet in the air, built upon the 1880 original tower’s base.
This reproduction of the original 1868 lighthouse (which infamously slipped into the ocean in 1927) is the main draw of the Tuckerton Seaport, where you’ll find quaint maritime shops, museums and family-friendly attractions.
Perched atop the Navesink Highlands—the tallest landmass on the Atlantic Coast between Maine and South America—this unique lighthouse constructed from local brownstone in 1862 features two non-identical towers and dual lights: one fixed and one flashing. Learn about the local history by perusing the collection in the on-site museum.
More Stops to See:
Squan Beach Life Saving Station #9
Constructed in 1902, this Duluth-style station showcases iconic architectural features that were popular for the time period, including Colonial Revival elements. In the 1930s, this site served as the Manasquan Coast Guard Station until being decommissioned in 1996.
Tatham Life Saving Station
The oldest existing building in Stone Harbor, this historic structure was built in 1895 and today features a tower to observe the Atlantic Ocean, Hereford Inlet and back bays.
U.S. Life Saving Station 30
Constructed in the U.S. Life Saving Service’s characteristic 1882-type design, this architecturally captivating structure features a gabled roof and lookout tower—and was later expanded to add a boat bay and wrap-around porch.
Best of luck on your illuminating adventure, Lighthouse Challengers! Looking for more outdoors? Check out these listings for parks, forests and nature sites all around New Jersey.