12 lighthouses on the Massachusetts Lighthouse Trail

New England Travel

“The Lighthouse Trail is a fun way to navigate the Massachusetts coast.”

In this Aug. 17, 2016 photo, Boston Light, America’s oldest lighthouse, sits on Little Brewster Island in Boston Harbor. Elise Amendola / AP

Many historic lighthouses dot the Massachusetts coast, and visitors can even climb and spend the night in some of the storied structures.

The Massachusetts Lighthouse Trail, created by the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism (MOTT), highlights the state’s most iconic lighthouses and beyond.

“We have over 45 lighthouses on the Massachusetts coastline, and that goes from Cape Ann to Cape Cod and the Islands,” said Kate Fox, executive director of the Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism. “They have a diversity of architectural styles. Some are accessible to the public and some are not.”

The Bay State’s “most notable and accessible” lighthouses are represented on the trail, according to MOTT.

“So many people are passionate about lighthouses,” Fox said. “The Lighthouse Trail is a fun way to navigate the Massachusetts coast.”

Ahead, check out 12 notable lighthouses on the trail.

Boston Light in Boston

Boston Light on Little Brewster Island within the Boston Harbor.

Boston Light, built in 1716, is “the oldest continually used lighthouse site in the
United States,” according to MOTT, and “casts a light beam 27 miles into the
Atlantic Ocean.”

Visitors can take a Boston Harbor Lighthouse Tour, which leaves from the Boston Harbor Islands Welcome Center on the Rose Kennedy Greenway. Participants on the two-hour tour can get a closer look at what MOTT calls three iconic lighthouses: Boston Light, Long Island Head Light, and Graves Light.

(Little Brewster Island, Boston)

Scituate Lighthouse in Scituate

Town of Scituate
Old Scituate Light in Scituate. – Town of Scituate

Established in 1811, Scituate Lighthouse, also known as Old Scituate Light, is the 11th oldest lighthouse in the nation.

“Legend has it that Abigail and Rebecca Bates, daughters of the lighthouse keeper, fended off British troops anchored in Scituate Harbor in the War of 1812, becoming known as the ‘Lighthouse Arby of Two,’” MOTT wrote.

“It is so iconic,” Patrice Maye, a resident for 20 years and the founding chair of the Scituate Harbor Cultural District, told Boston.com. “There’s just something that calls to you about that lighthouse. It’s just visceral.”

(100 Lighthouse Rd., Scituate)

Check out our guide of 5 things to do when visiting Scituate.

Bordon Flats Light in Somerset

Borden Flats Light in Fall River. cmh23115fl / flickr

Borden Flats Light in Somerset, established in 1881, allows overnight guests.

“A sparkplug lighthome on the Taunton River, it’s one of only two off-shore lighthouses in the world that offer a Keepers’ Program, where you can stay overnight — just like a lighthouse keeper!” wrote MOTT.

(Taunton River, Somerset)

Annisquam Light in Gloucester

Annisquam Light in Gloucester. – Mass Office of Travel and Tourism

Annisquam Light, built in 1801, is located at the entrance of the Annisquam River at Wigwam Point. The original 1801 wooden keeper’s house is used by the Coast Guard, which maintains the structure.

The lighthouse is closed to the public but can be seen from Wingaersheek Beach, according to MOTT.

(Wingaersheek Beach, Atlantic Street off Route 133 and Concord Street, Gloucester)

Plum Island Lighthouse in Newburyport

Plum Island Lighthouse in Newburyport. Massachusetts Office of Travel & Tourism / flickr

Plum Island Lighthouse is located in Newburyport, a seaport community in northeastern Massachusetts.

“This 35-foot-tall lighthouse has been guiding ships into the mouth of the Merrimack River and Newburyport Harbor since 1898,” wrote MOTT.

(Harbor Street, Newburyport)

Check out our guide of 5 things to do when visiting Newburyport.

Chatham Lighthouse in Chatham

The Chatham lighthouse. – Dina Rudick/Globe Staff

Chatham Light in Chatham is one of the few American lighthouses that is still operational 24 hours a day, according to MOTT.

“It was originally part of a pair that was built in 1808; however, after rotating lenses were introduced, two lighthouses weren’t needed on the spot. Its twin was moved and became Nauset Light, which you can find 30 minutes north in Eastham,” wrote MOTT.

(37 Main. St., Chatham)

Check out our guide of 5 things to do when visiting Chatham.

Nauset Lighthouse in Eastham

Nauset lighthouse.
Nauset lighthouse. – Nauset Light Preservation Society

Constructed in 1877, Nauset Lighthouse‘s iconic red, white, and black lighthouse is featured on bags of Cape Cod Potato Chips and TravelMag.com named it among the 20 most beautiful lighthouses in the U.S.

Boston.com readers named the Eastham lighthouse, part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, the second most beautiful lighthouse in New England (first place went to Portland Head Lighthouse in Maine).

“Such is the exquisiteness of the Nauset Lighthouse that it has become nothing less than the iconic symbol of Cape Cod,” according to TravelMag.com.

(120 Nauset Light Beach Road, Eastham)

Check out our guide of 5 things to do when visiting Eastham.

Highland Lighthouse in North Truro

Highland Lighthouse in North Truro.

Highland Lighthouse in North Truro, part of the Cape Cod National Seashore, has been furnished with a new state-of-the-art LED beacon. Visitors can shop the Highland Light Museum Store.

“The first lighthouse on Cape Cod, it was commissioned by George Washington and established in 1797,” MOTT wrote.

(27 Highland Light Road, North Truro)

Check out our guide of 5 things to do when visiting Truro.

Edgartown Harbor Light on Martha’s Vineyard

Edgartown Harbor Light in Edgartown. Kristi Palma / Boston.com

Edgartown was named the most picturesque small town in Massachusetts by Boston.com readers, in part due to Edgartown Harbor Light.

The original lighthouse, built in 1828, was damaged by storms and replaced by a lighthouse built in the 1880s at Crane Beach in Ipswich and relocated to the Vineyard in 1938.

Visitors can climb the spiral staircase to the lantern room of the lighthouse, which marks the entrance to Edgartown Harbor and Katama Bay, and enjoy spectacular views of Edgartown Harbor, Chappaquiddick, and and Cape Cod.

(121 North Water St., Edgartown)

Check out our guide of 5 things to do when visiting Martha’s Vineyard.

Gay Head Light on Martha’s Vineyard

The Gay Head Lighthouse in Aquinnah, Martha’s Vineyard.

This lighthouse, built in 1799, is the oldest lighthouse on Martha’s Vineyard and located near the beautiful Aquinnah Cliffs.

A documentary made about rescuing the lighthouse from an eroding cliff called “Keeper’s of the Light,” by Liz Witham and Ken Wentworth, went national, wrote the Associated Press.

“I think the story … of a small community getting together and working together to save an iconic landmark is really universal,” the filmmaker told the AP.

(15 Aquinnah Circle, Aquinnah)

Check out our guide of 5 things to do when visiting Martha’s Vineyard.

Great Point Light on Nantucket

Great Point Light on Nantucket. – Kristi Palma / Boston.com

Great Point Light, located at the northermost point of Nantucket within the Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Reserve, was first erected in 1784 and was last rebuilt in 1986.

The lighthouse can be reached by foot or by guests with a permit in a four-wheel drive vehicle. Getting there is half the fun, as the adventure takes visitors past rolling dunes and coastal plant and animal species.

“It’s a wild adventure,” Peter Burke, executive director of the Nantucket Chamber of Commerce, told Boston.com. “And pack your sunscreen because there’s not a lot of shade out there.”

(Coskata-Coatue Wildlife Reserve, Nantucket)

Check out our guide of 5 things to do when visiting Nantucket.

Brant Point Lighthouse on Nantucket

Brant Point Lighthouse, on the north side of Nantucket, was built in 1901.

It has been named the best place to watch the sunset by Boston magazine.

“As the sun sinks into the rocky base of one of Nantucket’s oldest lighthouses, families wave as the ferry chugs by, fish- ermen cast their reels in ankle-deep water, and happy couples celebrate after the occasional surprise proposal,” wrote Boston magazine.

(Easton Street, Nantucket)

Check out our guide of 5 things to do when visiting Nantucket.