The St. Augustine Lighthouse is standing tall in St. Augustine, Florida, and I love the story of this beauty.
When the St. Augustine Lighthouse was built in 1874, it was one of the tallest lighthouses in the country at 165 feet tall.
Why You Should Visit
Listed as one of the best lighthouses in Florida, St. Augustine Lighthouse stands on a foundation of coquina rock. The lighthouse is constructed of granite, cast iron, brick, and bronze.
As with most lighthouses, there was a keeper living on the property at one time. The last keeper resigned in 1955, and the lighthouse deteriorated over the next 15 years.
Sadly, in 1970, a suspicious fire gutted this majestic structure. Fortunately, that was not the end of the story of the St. Augustine Lighthouse.
A group of women in the local Junior Service League prevented a bulldozer from destroying this historic landmark in 1980.
A small group of these women signed a 99-year lease with St. John's County and raised hundreds of thousands of dollars over the next nine years.
The restoration was finished in 1988. That same year, the museum opened to the public. As I always say, put a group of women on a task and you'll have success!
The Lighthouse provides a wonderful educational opportunity. We learned about the Fresnel lens and how the signature lighthouse beam of light is created, as well as how heavy the fuel bucket was at the beginning and again on one of the landings as we climbed to the top.
Can you imagine carrying that hot oil up that many steps?
It wasn't until the 1920's that a pully system was designed to make the job easier. Toting the oil was only one of the many jobs that had to be done.
In fact, in a journal from over the years, keepers had to deal with birds damaging windows and lenses, earthquake damage, and many other weather-related issues.
The view from the top was worth the climb, which was not as bad as I thought it would be.
The view looking down the St. Augustine Lighthouse steps showed how far we had climbed. Yikes.
What to See at the Lighthouse
Touring the St. Augustine Lighthouse museum, we were fascinated with the shipbuilding section. The gentleman who was working on a replica was kind enough to show us around, taking a break from his work.
The replicas were so beautiful. You can't imagine the hours that go into it.
Children of all ages will enjoy seeing the Lighthouse dollhouse.
How Many Steps to the Top of the Lighthouse?
There are 219 steps to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse. It sounds like a lot, but the climb is not bad as long as you don't have any issues that would prevent the little bit of exertion.
For the youngest children, there are some interactive exhibits they will also probably enjoy. They must be able to climb the lighthouse with no help, so be sure they are ready for that.
For the younger kids, the playground may be a better idea.
Be sure to visit the gift shop, featuring local fudge, Lighthouse wine, decor items, and beautiful architectural drawings of the Lighthouse and home.
We spent some time just browsing, leaving with one of the drawings.
I can't get the fudge out of my mind, so please let me know how it is if you go!
St. Augustine Lighthouse is open from 9a.m.-6p.m. 7 days a week. Tickets are $9.75 for adults, $7.75 for children 12 and under and seniors. Visit the website for more details and special tours.
For golfers (or wanna-be golfers!) check out the World Golf Village St Augustine. It's a gorgeous resort with so much to do for everyone.
The two championship golf courses are amazing to play, and the World Golf Hall of Fame is truly a must-see.
I could have spent all day looking through the old photos of Jackie Gleason, Frank Sinatra, Arnold Palmer, U.S. Presidents, and more.
Please come back and let me know about your visit!