How many New Jersey lighthouses do you think you can visit in just two days? Take the Annual Lighthouse Challenge – October 21-22, 2023 – to experience New Jersey’s majestic beacons of light. This year, with your nominal registration fee, you will receive a souvenir log book with tales from each of the Challenge sites. 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 stretched 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 is another challenge stop. It houses the First Order Flashing Lens from the Barnegat Light Lighthouse, along with artifacts, replicas and photographs depicting the history of Barnegat Light and Long Beach Island.
Cape May Lighthouse
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. So Brilliant: There are eight accessible-by-boat-only lighthouses in the Delaware Bay but you can take a virtual tour right here during the 2023 Lighthouse Challenge.
East Point Lighthouse
Situated at the mouth of the Maurice River and overlooking the Delaware Bay, this charming little lighthouse was built in 1849. Witness for yourself the picturesque site and grounds that have inspired artists, photographers, nature enthusiasts and history buffs alike.
Finns Point Rear Range Light
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.
Sandy Hook Lighthouse
As part of Gateway National Recreation Area, this lighthouse overlooks Sandy Hook Bay and is within walking distance of 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.
Sea Girt Lighthouse
This red brick lighthouse first shined its light in 1896. 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.
Tinicum Rear Range Lighthouse
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.
Tucker’s Island Lighthouse
This reproduction of the original 1848 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.
Twin Lights of Navesink Lighthouse
Perched atop the Navesink Highlands, this unique lighthouse constructed from local brownstone in 1862 features two non-identical towers. 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. The structure stands as a proud reminder of the town’s long maritime heritage – including Congress bestowing station keeper Robert Longstreet with a gold lifesaving medal back in 1903.
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 distinctive 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 outdoor exploration? Check out these listings for parks, forests and nature sites all around New Jersey. To help plan your trip, be sure to download our official Travel Guide and sign up for our e-newsletter for future vacation inspiration.