The present tower, which is the third documented lighthouse at the southern tip of New Jersey, has always been an attention-getting landmark as well as an aid-to-navigation for mariners. Because it is adjacent to the community of Cape May Point and just two miles from the city of Cape May, it has drawn visitors throughout its history. Located in Cape May Point State Park, Lower Township. Built in 1859.
Nearly 100 thousand visitors a year now experience a visit to the top of the lighthouse, participating in a century-old rite of a visit to the Jersey Shore. Over 2.5 million visitors have climbed to the top of the lighthouse since opening to the public in 1988.
Visiting the Cape May Lighthouse
Visiting the Cape May lighthouse is both a historical and exciting day trip idea. Visitors can climb the 199 spiral stairway steps to the top of the 1859 Cape May Lighthouse. The spiral staircase is only part of the climb, as the total number of steps to the top is 217. At the top, the view includes areas of the Delaware Bay and the Atlantic Ocean, Cape May Point State Park nature trails, and Cape May Point Borough.
This will not be your average climb through a lighthouse. You will be sure to enjoy a history lesson, as there are interpretive exhibits throughout the inside detailing the lighthouse’s history, maritime history of Cape May, and even some information about the lighthouse’s former keepers. One of the coolest things about the lighthouse is that it is still used to aid navigation to this day!
The Cape May Lighthouse address is 215 Light House Ave., Cape May, NJ 08204.
The lighthouse is open to visitors every day. The lighthouse's open hours are 10 AM until 5 PM. One of the best times of the day to climb the lighthouse is right at sunset. In the fall and winter months when the sun sets early, you can catch a view of Cape May turning golden yellow.
In October, the Cape May Lighthouse participates in the New Jersey Lighthouse Challenge, which is a statewide event that is held each year.
Admission is $12 for adults and $8 for children ages 3-12. Cape May MAC members can visit the lighthouse for free!
You can purchase tickets online.
History of the Lighthouse
The lighthouse’s construction began in 1823 and was completed in 1859. It was owned and operated by the Coast Guard, up until it was given to the state of New Jersey in 1992. The state allows the Mid-Atlantic Center for the Arts & Humanities (otherwise known as MAC) to lease the lighthouse as they raise funds for restoration and general upkeep of the lighthouse as visitors climb up and down the steps each day.
Just down the street from the lighthouse is a World War II Lookout Tower known as Fort Miles that served as one of the main points of defense for the Delaware Bay harbor. If history is something that interests you, it is worth checking out during your day trip!
Design of the Lighthouse
The tower stands 157 feet and 6 inches tall when measuring from the ground up to the top of the cast iron spiral staircase. There are two separate walls of the lighthouse, with the outside wall being cone-shaped and the inside wall being a cylinder that supports the spiral staircase. Both double walls were designed to be able to withstand hurricane winds and even worse weather conditions.
If you do not want to climb the lighthouse…
No worries! For those who do not want to or are not able to climb the lighthouse, there are plenty of other activities to take part in at the Cape May lighthouse! The nearby Oil House contains a visitor center for the lighthouse that is fully accessible for all visitors. There is also a Museum Shop that sells accessories, memorabilia, and other fun souvenirs.
One of the nicest lighthouses in New Jersey!
|215 Lighthouse Ave, Cape May, Cape May County, New Jersey 08204
Tel : 732-298-6015
Mail : [email protected]
Business Hours : 9:00 AM - 6:00 PM