Cape May Lighthouse

by Katie Porter

The Cape May Lighthouse is one of the regions's most familiar, most photographed and most painted landmarks. It's graced countless calendars, wall hangings and books.

Every year, the lighthouse draws thousands of onlookers and lighthouse aficionados to Cape May Point State Park.

The 157-foot tall structure is actually the third lighthouse built in Cape May. The first, built in 1823, was lost to erosion, and the second, built in 1847, was poorly constructed and crumbled.

The current lighthouse was built in 1859, and its beacon still functions as a navigational aid.

What to See

The lighthouse itself is beautiful, and the information exhibits on display throughout the structure provide insight into its history and the lives of lighthouse keepers.

However the real must-see aspect of the lighthouse is the view from the top. Those who brave the 199-step climb to the watch gallery are rewarded with an ever-changing view of Cape May Point, the State Park, the beach and beyond.

On a clear day you can see all the way to Delaware. The view varies depending on the season, time of day, and weather, so multiple climbs are worthwhile.


The Oil House contains a fully accessible visitors' orientation center for those who choose not to climb, and there is also a Museum Shop stocked with maritime accessories and memorabilia.

There are restrooms in the State Park’s main building.

Food is not for sale at either the lighthouse or the State Park, but there are plenty of picnic tables where you can enjoy any food you bring along.

Access, Parking and Hours

Cape May Point State Park parking lots are open from sunrise to sunset and can accommodate several hundred cars. From Cape May drive down Sunset Blvd. toward Cape May Point. Turn left at Lighthouse Drive and then turn left when you see the park entrance sign.

The lighthouse is open from 9AM to dusk daily from the end of March through the end of October. It is open from noon to 3PM (sometimes longer) on weekends in November, December, and March when weather permits.

Admission to the ground floor and the Oil House is free. Cost to climb to the top is $7 for adults and $3 for children ages 3 through 12. For more information call (609) 884-5404.



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