Jutting out into the treacherous waters of the Atlantic Ocean Long Island’s Suffolk County holds a colorful history tied to the sea. Explore whaling and maritime museums
; discover history and heritage
, and climb to the top of a lighthouse where the water view will take your breath away.
Several Suffolk County lighthouses are open to the public to explore, and many more can be seen just off the coastline.
Fire Island Lighthouse is one of three lighthouses in Suffolk County open to the public. Located on the western part of the Fire Island National Seashore, the lighthouse overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and the Great South Bay. Walk along the boardwalk through the scenic sand dunes leading to the lighthouse. Standing an impressive 167-feet high, visitors wearing comfortable footwear may climb the winding 182-steps of Long Island’s tallest lighthouse tower. Other attractions include a visitor’s center with exhibits, gift shop, and nature trail. It is open year-round, with special events throughout the seasons. Parking is available in Robert Moses State Park, Field 5 (seasonal parking fee), and after the long climb, visitors can relax on the beach at Robert Moses or swim in the ocean waters.
Montauk Lighthouse is located on the eastern point of Long Island’s South Fork, in Montauk Point State Park, overlooking the Atlantic Ocean. The Montauk Lighthouse was the first built in New York State and currently is the 4th oldest active lighthouse in the United States. The construction of the lighthouse was authorized by the Second Congress under President George Washington in 1792. The lighthouse museum displays the original document signed by President George Washington which authorized the purchase of the land for development of the lighthouse. The tower stands at 110 feet and 6 inches tall. The light shines every 5 seconds and can be seen at a distance of 19 miles. The 1860 Keeper’s House, once served as a home to lighthouse keeper and his assistants and now operates as the Lighthouse Museum. The museum displays photographs, drawings, exhibits, and historical documents. It is open year round. Parking is available in the Montauk State Park parking lot (fee 8 am – 4 pm, free after 4 pm). The museum has seasonal hours and includes a fee.
Horton’s Point Lighthouse is located in Southold, NY, amidst Long Island Wine Country. The Lighthouse was commissioned in 1790 by President George Washington but construction didn’t begin until 1855 when the eight acres needed for development were offered to the Federal Government. The project was completed in 1857. The squared tower stands at 55’ and has a detached lighthouse keepers quarters. Both the tower and quarters are made of New England Granite, cut stone and locally acquired wood timbers and lumber. The tower offers a view of the Long Island Sound and nearby Connecticut. The beautiful view can be enjoyed while walking through park to the nearby beach or nature trail. Also on the grounds is the Southold Historical Society’s Nautical Museum. The museum features exhibits, paintings, whaling tools, and rare historical objects. The Lighthouse and museum are open from Memorial Day through Columbus Day, Saturdays and Sundays from 11:30am - 4:00 pm. Admission is $3 for adults and free for children under 12 years.
Other East End Lighthouses not opened to the public but available to view from cruises, ferries or walks along the shore include:
Cedar Island Lighthouse, located in Cedar Island County Park, Sag Harbor. It overlooks Gardiners Bay.
Orient Point Lighthouse, viewable near Orient Point, NY or the Orient Point/New London Ferry.
Plum Island Lighthouse, viewable from the Orient Point Ferry.
Little Gull Island Lighthouse, located on the east end of the Long Island Sound and viewable by cruise or boat.
Race Rock Lighthouse, located at the west end of Fishers Island and the eastern entrance to Long Island Sound, viewable by boat.
Long Beach Bar Lighthouse, Orient, NY overlooks Gardiner’s Bay and visible from Orient Beach State Park.
Eatons Neck, viewable at the end of Eaton’s Neck.
North Dumpling Lighthouse, located in Fishers Island Sound.
Latimer Reef Lighthouse, also in Fisher Island Sound.
Cold Spring Harbor Lighthouse, located on the north shore of Long Island, Cold Spring Harbor, NY.
Huntington Harbor Lighthouse is located on the north shore of Long Island, at the entrance to Lloyd and Huntington Harbors, Huntington, NY.
Old Field Point Lighthouse is located on the north shore of Long Island in the Village of Old Field, NY.
Stratford Shoal (Middle Ground) Lighthouse, in the middle of Long Island Sound, between Port Jefferson and Bridgeport.
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