Virginia lighthouses are some of the most beautiful and diverse in the country. From lighthouses on the National Register of Historic Places to ones George Washington could have visited, you will be able to see the lighthouses in Virginia that are on your bucket list when you visit.
Lighthouses across Virginia range from the Cape Henry, Virginia’s oldest, constructed in 1792, the paranormal activity at Point Lookout, to privately owned lighthouses that are now used for vacation homes, and Wolf Trap, which is for sale if you have ever dreamed about owning a lighthouse of your own. .
Lighthouses in Virginia You can Visit
- Address: Assateague Island National Seashore, Chincoteague, VA 23336
- Cost: Free
- Open: April – November – weekends from 9:00 AM – 3:00 PM
When visiting the Chincoteague, drive over the Assateague Channel to the Chincoteague National Wildlife Refuge, where you will find the 142-foot-tall red and white striped lighthouse.
Take the climb up 175 steps to see a panoramic view of not only Assateague Island (managed by the National Park Service), but neighboring Chincoteague Island, the Atlantic Ocean and the beach.
Cape Henry Lighthouse
- Address: 583 Atlantic Ave, Fort Story, VA 23459
- Open: Daily from 10:00 AM – 4:00 PM
At the northeast tip of Virginia Beach, where the Chesapeake Bay dumps into the Atlantic Ocean, you will find two lighthouses just 350 apart.
The original Cape Henry Lighthouse, built in 1792 and the country’s 4th oldest lighthouse is open to the public. You can climb the black and white striped lighthouse circular metal staircase’s 191 steps to the top, where you can watch ships enter the harbor and take in the lantern room’s 360o view of the surrounding landscape.
The New Cape Henry Lighthouse
The new Cape Henry lighthouse that was built in 1881 and stands 157-feet tall. Sadly, it is not open to the public.
How to get to the Cape Henry lighthouses
Both lighthouses are within the Fort Story Army Post. To get to the lighthouses, all adults will need to show ID (military, driver’s license or passport) to enter the base gate.
- Address: London &, Water St, Portsmouth, VA 23704
- Open: Friday/Saturday from 10:00 AM – 5:00 PM and Sundays 1:00 – 5:00 PM
Since it was built in 1915, the 102-foot-long Lightship Portsmouth (or the United States Lightship 101) served 48 years in Cape Charles, Virginia, Delaware and Massachusetts before being decommissioned in 1964. It then was brought to the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard Museum to be a museum ship.
A visit to this floating lighthouse sitting dry berthed along the Elizabeth River across from Norfolk, VA means seeing the galley, windlass room, officers’ and crew’s quarters, and the engine room.
From outside, you can check out the ½-ton bronze bell, mast, and 2½ ton anchor.
Stingray Point Lighthouse
- Address: 19167 General Puller Highway, Deltaville, Virginia 23043
At the Stingray Point Marina, you will find a full-scale replica of the Stingray Point screwpile lighthouse. The original lighthouse is set less than two miles from this location at the mouth of the Rappahannock River.
The lighthouse is open when the marina office is open.
Jones Point Lighthouse
- Address: Jones Point Road, Alexandria, VA
- Grounds Open: 6:00 AM – 10:00 PM
Sitting along the southeast corner of Jones Point Park and the Potomac River, this small one-story house has a lantern room on the roof. From 1856 until 1926, it guided naval ships into the Washington Navy Yard.
Today it is the last riverine lighthouse in Virginia.
There are two fishing piers within the park and a canoe/kayak launch site into the Potomac River in Alexandria, VA.
Old Point Comfort Lighthouse
- Address: 69 Fenwick Rd, Fort Monroe, VA 23651
Since 1803 this 58-foot lighthouse at Fort Monroe has been guiding ship from the Chesapeake Bay into the Elizabeth, James and Nansemond Rivers.
Visitors today can view the Chesapeake Bay’s second-oldest lighthouse and enjoy a picnic lunch as you watch the ship traffic.
This lighthouse has a long and fascinating past, including being an observation post during the War of 1812 and was under Union control during the Civil War.
Virginia Lighthouses You Can See From Afar
Newport News Middle Ground Shoal
Just off the east side of the 1-664 Monitor Merrimac Bridge sits the red lighthouse. Since there is no stopping permitted on the bridge, take a quick look from here or head to the King-Lincoln Park at 600 Jefferson Ave, Newport News, VA 23607, where you can get the closest view from land.
The lighthouse was up for sale in 2005, and no preservation groups purchased it, so two families paid $31,000 for the lighthouse and have made it into their vacation home.
Thimble Shoal Lighthouse
The 65-foot, 3-story cast-iron sparkplug lighthouse with a canopy over the first floor sits in the middle of the Chesapeake Bay and 3½ miles northeast of the Old Point Comfort Lighthouse.
You can see this active lighthouse’s flashing white light for 20 miles.
A private citizen purchased the lighthouse in 2005 for $65,000.
If not on the water, the best place to see this lighthouse is from Fort Monroe.
New Point Comfort Lighthouse
- Address: Observation Walkway, New Point Comfort Natural Area Preserve, Port Haywood, VA 23138
On a small rip-rap island on the north side of the York River’s Mobjack Bay sits the towering 58-foot white octagon New Point Comfort Lighthouse. It is the bay’s third oldest lighthouse and the 10th oldest in the United States.
To view this light, head to the New Point Comfort Natural Area Preserve, where Mathews County has built an observation walkway. A second viewing location for the lighthouse is at Bayside Landing at Old Bayside Dr, Port Haywood, VA 23138, where you can enjoy a picnic at the shelter.
Chesapeake Bay Boat Tours
- Address: 384 Turpin Lane, Port Haywood, VA 23138
Take to the waters from The Inn at Tabbs Creek on a Deadrise Boat for an up-close view of New Point Comfort Lighthouse, Virginia’s last surviving and historic homes along the East River.
Cape Charles Lighthouse
At the Chesapeake Bay’s mouth stands the tallest Virginia lighthouse and the second tallest lighthouse in the United States. This 191-foot skeleton tower is on Smith Island and is no longer operational.
To see the Cape Charles light up close, one must travel by boat or kayak. A great spot to put in is at the Wise Point Boat Ramp.
Wolf Trap Lighthouse
Located in the Chesapeake Bay south of the Rappahannock River, this 52- foot caisson with an octagonal brick dwelling has been decommissioned and has been privately owned since 2005.
The Inn at Tabbs Creek offers a lighthouse cruise to Wolf Trap Lighthouse.
If you are looking for a lighthouse to purchase, this one is on the market.