Lighthouses have guided mariners landing and going from South Florida’s coast for more than a hundred years. Most of these magnificent structures are still standing still serving as guiding points for small boats without modern navigation systems. The oldest lighthouse dates back to the 1820’s. Currently, these lighthouses have become family tourist attractions providing great spots for family picnics and other events.
Cape Florida Lighthouse
This lighthouse is located at 1200 Crandon boulevard, Key Biscayne, Dade County. This is the oldest lighthouse on the Miami coastline, the original one having been built in 1825. It was burnt down in an attack by Seminole Indians in 1836.
The lighthouse is built as a tapering brick house. The original height was 65 feet (20 meters) that was later raised to 95 feet (29 meters) in 1855. There are 109 steps. The lantern house itself is painted black. The lantern that was used up to the 1870s is still on display. The current lamp flashes a white light every 6 seconds with electric light reflected on a 300mm lens.
Tourists can access the lighthouse and the park Thursday through Monday. There is a guided tour on these days for no additional fee.
Hillsboro inlet lighthouse
This lighthouse was built in 1906 and started working in 1907. The interesting thing about this lighthouse is that it was built 4,000 miles away in Detroit and shipped on water down to Florida. The route it took was Lake Erie to Lake Michigan, the Mississippi river, the Gulf and finally Key West.
Unlike other older lighthouses that were made of brick, this one is made of a skeletal structure of metal supporting a lantern house at the top. It is 147 feet (41.5 meters) high. It has 175 steps to the top. The lantern house is painted black and the pyramid white. There is a lamp flashes a white light every 20 seconds. The original Fresnel lens is still in use.
Tourists can get to this lighthouse by boat that departs from Sands Harbor Resort boat dock located at 125 N. Riverside Drive, Pompano beach. Tours are organized periodically.
Jupiter Inlet lighthouse and museum
This lighthouse was built in 1860. Interestingly, archaeologists discovered that it was built on an Indian mound. Visitors can still see the original 1st order Fresnel lens in use. The lighthouse recently commemorated 150 years of existence.
This lighthouse is made of a lantern house at a height of 146 ft. (44.5 meters) supported by a brick house. There are 105 steps. The lower lighthouse is painted dull red while the lantern house is black. The lamp flashes two white flashes every 30 seconds, the flashes are separated by 7.7 seconds.
Tourists can visit the lighthouse Tuesday through Sunday. The lighthouse is located at 500 Captain Armour’s Way, Jupiter. Photos of Jupiter Lighthouse by Stephen Ippolito