Thursday, August 12, 2010

Florida Lighthouses by Mary Beth Granger

Through the wonders of cyberspace comes a new lighthouse friend. Today I'm welcoming enthusiast and photographer Mary Beth Granger, who is sharing her experiences with Florida lighthouses, something I surely love hearing about! Since we are on opposite shores, Mary Beth and I have a symbiotic relationship, LOL.

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The state of Florida is a long narrow peninsula that separates the Atlantic Ocean and the Gulf of Mexico. It also includes a panhandle that stretches along the Gulf. This shape gives the state over 1200 miles of coastline.

The coastline of Florida is mainly low and sandy which requires the lighthouses along the coast to be tall in order to have good visibility away from the shore. Today there are 30 lighthouses remaining along the Florida shores. In this article I will give you some insight into three of these stately beacons.

St. Augustine Lighthouse

St. Augustine is located on the Atlantic coast near the northern edge of Florida. We were traveling home from a visit in southern Florida and took a detour over to St. Augustine so that I could photograph the lighthouse.

I was delighted that in addition to a beautiful black and white lighthouse, the lighthouse grounds also included trails to walk and photograph from various angles and a wonderful museum. The lighthouse in St. Augustine was built in 1874 and is comprised of a 165ft black and white spiral tower. Visitors are welcome to climb the 219 steps to the top of the tower. The grounds also include a keeper's house and several out buildings. One of the buildings houses a museum detailing the history of the lighthouse. In the museum were several Fresnel lenses on display and it was great to see the lenses up close.

Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse

We have stayed in Jupiter several times during the winter months so I have been fortunate to tour the Jupiter lighthouse and photograph it at various times of the day and night. It is a beautiful, stately, dark red lighthouse that is 105 feet tall and has 112 steps.

The Jupiter Lighthouse was established just prior to the Civil War and was lit only a year when the light was put out by confederate raiders. After the war, lighthouse keeper James Armour found the lens hidden in a nearby creek. He restored the lens to its proper place and the lens was back in operation by the end of 1866.

The lighthouse is on the Coast Guard grounds and you can purchase a ticket to climb the lighthouse at the nearby lighthouse museum shop. I thoroughly enjoyed visiting the lighthouse and was able to photograph some great views of the coast from the windows as you climb the lighthouse.

Cape Florida Lighthouse

The Cape Florida lighthouse is located on the southern tip of Key Biscayne in Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park. This lighthouse was built in 1825 and at that time was 65 feet tall. After a fire, it was rebuilt in 1847 and in 1855 it was elevated to 95 feet. It is a white conical structure that stands on the edge of the Atlantic coast.

I have photographed many lighthouses and I found this one to be particularly accessible. I was able to capture the lighthouse at various angles and had a clear shot of the lighthouse from the beach. I also was able to go inside the lighthouse and the replica of the keeper's house.

I hope you have enjoyed this brief glimpse at three of Florida’s historical lighthouses. For more information on Florida lighthouses you can check out my article at .

Mary Beth Granger is a photographer and lighthouse enthusiast. You can visit her lighthouse blog at .

Copies of her photographs and designs are found in her shop at


  1. Mary Beth, what do you think about St. Augustine being haunted...?

  2. I've been to both the Jupiter Inlet and the St Augustine lighthouses and they are both very well-preserved and have great campuses. Did you see the cat cemetery at St. Augustine, for all the lighthouse cats? Pam I didn't see any ghosts there but they the entire town is haunted by a variety of spirits. Everything is so old, you can almost imagine it.

  3. I didn't see the cat cemetery when I was there. The St. Augustine lighthouse is certainly an interesting old lighthouse with several old buildings around. It has wooded trails all around it too..We climbed back on one trail and although we were quite close we could barely see the lighthouse through the trees.I was able to get some good photos through the trees.

    Pam,I'm not sure about it being haunted but I could see it making a good setting for one of your mysteries!

  4. Hi Pam,

    Thank you for the link add. It sounds like you had a good time down in my neck of the woods of south Florida. Next time you come down, go up in the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse if you happen to catch a tour. It's only open six times a year, but the view from the top is incredible. I have pictures and video on my site of it.