Coast Guard invites you to celebrate Florida Lighthouse Day

ST.PETERSBURG, Fla. – The public is invited to visit and tour nine of the 59 historic lighthouses constructed throughout the state of Florida, Saturday, April 25, during “Florida Lighthouse Day.”

The Florida Lighthouse Association along with members of the Coast Guard will be manning several lighthouses in the Florida region to conduct tours of the historic attractions.

Coast Guard members from Aids to Navigation Team St. Petersburg will be at the Coast Guard Lighthouse Museumon Egmont Key and at Boca Grande Lighthouse to allow access to the lantern room from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m., Saturday.

Historic lighthouses, which once guided mariners into Florida’s ports and rivers safely and protected coastal shipping since 1824, have become major tourist attractions.

Lighthouses are among the oldest standing historic buildings in America. This year is the 220th Anniversary of when the First Congress of America passed its first Public Works Act that essentially created the United States Lighthouse Service. Amelia Island lighthouse is 170 years old. Egmont Key and Pensacola lighthouses recently celebrated 150 years.

“Communities should take note and be proud of these historic structures that are still in use today. In many cases, local public involvement is key to keeping these lighthouses in such great condition for everyone to see and enjoy,” said Capt. Timothy M. Close, Commander of Coast Guard Sector St. Petersburg.

The following lighthouses will also be open to the public:

  • St. Augustine
  • Ponce de Leon Inlet
  • Jupiter
  • Cape Florida
  • Key West
  • Boca Grande
  • Cape St. George
  • Crooked River
  • Cape San Blas

Other lighthouse events taking place during Florida Lighthouse Day are:

  • The Florida Keys Reef Lights Foundation, Inc. plans to celebrate Florida’s six offshore reef lights at the Cape Florida Lighthouse.
  • The rarely open Amelia Lighthouse will be open along with the Pensacola Lighthouse, which is usually only open part time.
  • Anclote Key Lighthouse plans an open house as does St. Marks Lighthouse.
  • Hillsboro Lighthouse plans a celebration with the Gold Coast Amateur Radio Association broadcasting from 1 to 4 pm.
  • Cape Canaveral Lighthouse will hold its annual Descendants Day also on April 25 as well as Florida Lighthouse Day. Descendants of people who lived at the lighthouse or on Cape Canaveral Air Force Station before it was a military installation come back and reunite, visit the lighthouse, go back to the areas where their families lived, and visit the family grave sites.

The Florida Lighthouse Association promotes preserves and protects the rich maritime heritage of the remaining 30 historic Florida lighthouses for future generations. The all-volunteer association educates and raises attention to get public support to increase Florida lighthouse preservation measures. The association supports the 18 local lighthouse and historical organizations, with their more than 5,000 members.

Editor’s note: Open hours and events may vary so check with your local lighthouse for hours and events.

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