3 of the nation’s 100 most amazing lighthouses are right here in NJ
It's no secret that New Jersey is full of amazing gems. So much so, that many often get recognized on national lists. From our beaches to our food, and everything in between. And sometimes those lists include our beacons that shine bright guiding ships along our waterways.
The team at SI Yachts has just compiled a list of the 100 most amazing lighthouses in the United States and three of those that made the cut are right here in New Jersey.
What's more, there's a fourth from New Jersey on this list that once served as a lighthouse. So which ones made the list? Let's dive in and check it out. We'll start in the south and work our way north.
1) Cape May Lighthouse
Cape May Lighthouse was built in 1859 with amazing views of both the Atlantic Ocean and Delaware Bay. Located in Cape May Point State Park, the lighthouse consists of 199 stairs spiraling to the top with a light that is still active to this day.
And while you're climbing, take note of those stairs. They are the cast iron stairs originally installed in the lighthouse way back in 1859.
Here's a fun fact. Even though the Cape May Lighthouse dates back to 1859, it's not the original. According to capemaymac.org, "The Cape May Lighthouse is the third beacon at this location" and is "still an active aid to navigation." An absolutely beautiful lighthouse to take a road trip to end enjoy.
Next up on the list, we go from Cape May County to Ocean County for the second New Jersey Lighthouse with national recognition.
2) Barnegat Lighthouse
Perhaps one of the most visited in the state. Barnegat Lighthouse stands proud overlooking Barnegat Bay and the Atlantic Ocean. Referred to by locals as Old Barny, this active beacon sits right on the water's edge and stands tall with a total of 217 steps to the top.
Although we can see the beacon shining bright at night, that wasn't always the case. It was in 1927 when the first lens used to illuminate the lighthouse was removed. But alas, that's not the case today.
According to nj.gov, The lighthouse was once again "Illuminated on January 1, 2009 - exactly 150 years to the day that it was originally lit in 1859 - the beloved Barnegat Lighthouse is shining again!"
If you're wondering what the first lens looked like, the Barnegat Light Museum has it on display for all to see. Plus more history of the iconic lighthouse that calls the Jersey Shore home.
Many climb the steps of Old Barny every year. And who can blame them? This lighthouse is absolutely beautiful to see.
So as the sun sets on Barnegat Light, we head even further up the coast to the most northern tip of the Jersey Shore.
Located in Monmouth County, this lighthouse has a rich history that no other active lighthouse today can compare to.
3) Sandy Hook Lighthouse
Say hello to the oldest operating lighthouse in the country. Sandy Hook Lighthouse was constructed in 1764 and still stands at its original location in Gateway National Park.
Another fun fact about Sandy Hook Lighthouse is that when it was first built, it was right by the water's edge. But thanks to ocean currents and the constant shaping of the land, the lighthouse is now nowhere near the tip of the bay. It's pretty amazing to think how much the landscape can change over the years.
So those are the three lighthouses that made the list. But, there is one more on there that's not a lighthouse anymore, but once served as one. Curious? Let's travel just a little further north to Ellis Island in New York Harbor.
4) The Statue Of Liberty
According to siyachts.com, "The Statue of Liberty operated as a lighthouse in its early years and was placed under the care of the U.S. Lighthouse Board in 1886. However, the statue proved to be useless as a lighthouse, with the light from its torch much too dim to be a navigational aid. Due to this, it only operated as a lighthouse for 16 years."
So for 16 years, the Statue of Liberty was technically a lighthouse of New Jersey. How wild is that?
If you'd like to see the full list of the 100 Ultimate Lighthouses in The United States according to SI Yachts, you can check it out by clicking here. It's certainly worth planning a road trip up for those who are up for it.
Of course, the Garden State is home to so many more lighthouses, all of which are just as amazing as the last.