The coastline of Cape Cod is dotted with over a dozen lighthouses. These beacons are iconic in New England, so you’ll definitely want to visit some during your stay at Chatham Gables Inn. Not all lighthouses are open to the public, so we’ve put together a list of a few Cape Cod lighthouses that are open for visitors, with several offering guided tours in season.
Perhaps the most popular and photographed of all the Cape Cod lighthouses, Chatham Light is located above the spectacular Chatham Light Beach. The lighthouse was once known as the “Twin Lights” due to its double towers, until one was moved to Eastham and is now Nauset Light. Now, Chatham Light is home to an active Coast Guard Station with enlisted housing on-site. This means that there are only select times for the public to visit. To find out when tours of Chatham light are available click here.
The Nauset Light was once the second light of Chathams “Twin Lights” before being moved to Nauset Light Beach to replace the decommissioned Three Sisters of Nauset in 1923. Since then it has become one of the most iconic Cape Cod lighthouses. It’s signature white and red tower serves as the logo Cape Cod Potato Chips and is featured on Massachusetts’ Cape and Islands license plate.
Local legend has it that these lights were nicknamed the Three Sisters because to those at sea they resembled ladies in white dresses and black hats. After a history of being torn down, moved and sold, these historic Cape Cod lighthouses are now owned and maintained by the National Park Service and are located in a small field about a third of a mile from Nauset Light. Access them via a short hike on a trail on Nauset Light Beach. The Three Sisters site is open year-round and park rangers give tours from spring to fall.
This lighthouse, sometimes called Cape Cod Light, is the oldest and tallest of the Cape Cod lighthouses. This point on the cape was originally established as post by George Washington in 1797 to warn ships of the dangerous coastline. Of course, the original wooden structure is no more, but the current structure dates back to 1847 and is only 450 feet from the original site. The grounds are open to the public year round with guided tours of the light available from May to October.
Race Point Light was the third of the Cape Cod lighthouses to be established. The iron tower lined with brick that stands today was built in 1875 and restored by the American Lighthouse Foundation. Also on the grounds are a keeper’s house and a whistle house which have also been restored by the foundation. For more information on tours click here.
Nobska Point Light sits on the southern tip of Cape Cod and overlooks Martha’s Vineyard. The grounds are open to the public year round but the light is only open for tours on scheduled dates because it is another of the Cape Cod lighthouses that functions as an active Coast Guard Station. The keeper’s house on the grounds is occupied by the Commanding Officer of United States Coast Guard Sector Southeastern New England.
Chatham Gables Inn is the perfect place to stay when visiting Cape Cod lighthouses. Our rooms and suites have classic New England style with modern, luxurious amenities and furnishings. There isn’t a better place to relax after a day of sightseeing.
Photo courtesy Rick Harris.