Five historic Cape Cod lighthouses are open to the public for tours during the summer months and on special occasions in the off-season.
A few even offer lighthouse vacations, allowing guests to stay in the keeper's house. (More about that in a minute.)
If you'd like to go inside one of these centuries-old towers to experience its history firsthand and take in the amazing views from the top, these lighthouses offer open houses and tours:
Nobska Light sits high on a bluff in the Falmouth village of Woods Hole.
built in 1828, Nobska Point Lightouse's original Fresnel lens is still
in use. The nearby island of Martha's Vineyard is visible in the
The organization Friends of Nobska Light has recently undertaken the daunting task of preserving and protecting this wonderful lighthouse, the keeper's house and the grounds. Donations toward this worthy cause are gratefully accepted!
2020 Nobska Lighthouse Tour Schedule: TBA
Admission: Free. Donations are appreciated!
Directions to Nobska Point Lighthouse:
Route 28 in Falmouth, to Woods Hole Road, to Church Street, to Nobska Point Lighthouse.
you're biking along the Shining Sea Bikeway in Falmouth, you can also
reach the light house by turning off the Bikeway at Church Street, or
turning off at Oyster Pond Road then onto Nobska Road.
More Info: Friends of Nobska Light
For more than two centuries, mariners have relied on beacons from Chatham to safely navigate the treacherous waters around the "elbow" of Cape Cod.
Chatham Light, as you see it today, is one of two lighthouse towers that stood here in the mid-1800s.
In 1923, the second tower was dismantled and transported up the coast to Eastham, where it became "Nauset Lighthouse" (see below).
Chatham Lighthouse is perhaps the most often-photographed of all Cape Cod lighthouses, and one of the most popular for visitors thanks to its beautiful setting overlooking Lighthouse Beach, one of the most spectacular beaches in Chatham.
2020 Chatham Lighthouse Tour Schedule:
Wednesdays in the summer season. Alternate
Wednesdays in the spring and fall.
Touring hours are from 1:00 to 3:30 p.m.
Directions to Chatham Light House:
Take Main Street to Shore Road.
Parking near Chatham Lighthouse is extremely limited and often impossible to find. It's best to park in town and walk, bike or take the trolley (seasonal) to the light house.
More Info: USCG Auxiliary
Nauset Lighthouse was moved from Chatham to Eastham in 1923 to replace the last-standing of Eastham's "Three Sisters" - a trio of Cape Cod lighthouses that had, over time, succumbed to the elements and erosion of the cliffs on which they stood.
When you visit Nauset
Lighthouse, you can see the restored Three Sisters by following a short
walking trail from the Nauset Light Beach parking lot.
2020 Nauset Lighthouse Tour Schedule: Opening for the season on May 10, 2020. Remainder of 2020 tour schedule will be announced soon.
Directions to Nauset Lighthouse:
Route 6 to Brackett Road, to Nauset Road, to Cable Road, to Nauset Light Beach Road.
Note: You'll find vehicle parking at the adjacent Nauset Light Beach parking lot. Cape Cod National Seashore parking fees apply until 4:30 p.m.
(See our Guide to Beaches in Eastham for more info about parking at Nauset Light Beach, National Seashore parking passes, etc.)
More Info: Nauset Light Preservation Society
The first light house on Cape Cod was built on the cliffs of North Truro in 1797.
Over the centuries, Highland Lighthouse has been re-built, re-fitted and even moved a number of times to save it from toppling off the eroding cliffs into the ocean.
The latest move took place during the summer of 1996, in an amazing process that involved sliding the 430-ton structure more than 450 feet along steel beams lubricated with Ivory Soap!
FYI: Although its formal name is "Cape Cod Lighthouse", we all know and refer to it as "Highland Light".
2020 Highland Light Tour Schedule: Due to ongoing structural repairs, the lighthouse tower is closed to tours until 2021. The grounds will remain open during construction.
Exhibit area will be open:
April 18 through May 11th - Sunday, Monday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Closed Tuesday and Wednesday.
May 14th through October 12th - Daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Directions to Highland Lighthouse:
Route 6 to Highland Road, then right onto South Highland Road, and left onto Highland Light Road.
More Info: Highland Light
Race Point is the most remote of all Cape Cod lighthouses accessible by land.
To get there, you'll need some good walking shoes and a lot of stamina. It's nearly a 2-mile hike from the nearest parking lot through soft, shifting sand. (A very tough trek if you're wearing flip-flops!)
Or, if you have a 4-wheel drive vehicle that's equipped to travel over sand, and you buy the required permit, you can drive out to the lighthouse.
Find out about oversand driving to Race Point here.
2020 Race Point Lighthouse Tour Schedule: Open from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on:
Admission: Suggested donation of $5 per adult (ages 8-60) to climb the tower.
Directions to the beach parking lot:
The blue icons indicate where each "tour-able" lighthouse is located. To find out how to get there, click on "Map" view and zoom around with the (+ and -) buttons.
For true aficionados, what could be better than vacationing at a lighthouse?
Race Point Light - "Getting away from it all" takes on a whole new meaning when you stay here. The renovated keepers house has 3 bedrooms, shared kitchen and bathroom, and very few modern conveniences. Bring your own food, cook it yourself, and have the time of your life swimming, beachcombing, and watching the sun set from the lantern room.
Wings Neck Light - Located on Wings Neck Point in the village of Pocasset, this is the perfect spot for a unique family getaway. Swim and sun at the beach. Fish from the rock jetty. Or just lounge the day away on the lawn, watching ships come and go from the nearby Cape Cod Canal. It's all good! The keepers home is available for rent weekly.
NOTE: Tour schedules, hours of operation, entrance fees, etc. may change at any time, without prior notice. Please confirm all information on your own before making any travel plans.