The Cape Cod lighthouses are among the most iconic landmarks that can be found on the Massachusetts coast. They also figure among the most popular attractions in Cape Cod, which has a lot to do with their historic appeal and the fascination that many people have with lighthouses in general. Some Cape Cod lighthouses can be toured, while others are admired from the outside only, and should you be interested, staying overnight at one is possible.
Beacons in the night, lighthouses have helped sailors navigate the world's seas for thousands of years. The oldest examples, such as Egypt's famed Lighthouse at Alexandria, are no longer around due to effects of weather and other forces. In destinations such as Cape Cod, however, visitors can find lighthouses from the 1800s and early 1900s. Historic icons, such structures harken back to a time when things like GPS devices didn't exist, and as such, their romantic appeal is hard to deny. The scenic appeal of the Cape Cod lighthouses is also difficult to contest, and on Cape Cod lighthouse tours, sumptuous sea views can be savored from the tower tops.
Among the lighthouses in Cape Cod that can be toured is the Highland Light. This renowned structure in Truro accepts visitors during the peak Cape Cod tourism season, which is May through October. On guided tours of the Highland Light, guests can learn about the early wood lighthouse that was established near the site in 1797. It was actually George Washington who authorized the development of this earlier station. The aim was to warn ships of the dangerous sailing conditions between Cape Ann and Nantucket Island. Today, the Highland Light stands about 500 feet from its original location, and the current tower dates back to 1857.
Down in the Chatham area of Cape Cod, or the island's "elbow," sits another wonderful lighthouse. This lighthouse is known as the Chatham Light, and it was the second lighthouse station to be established on Cape Cod after the Highland Light Station. As is true of the Highland Light, the original Chatham Light lighthouse no longer exists. The current structures date back to the late 1870s, though the original station was established decades earlier in 1808. It should be noted that President Thomas Jefferson appointed its first keeper. Also worth noting is the fact that a lovely Cape Cod beach is found below the Chatham Light. Unfortunately, it is not possible to tour this lighthouse, as it is still used by the U.S. Coast Guard.
For lighthouse enthusiasts who are visiting Cape Cod, a night or more at the Race Point Light near Provincetown is something that is well worth considering. Not only is this lighthouse known for offering tours, but it also accepts overnight guests. The accommodations are found in the keeper's house and the whistle house, which are situated within very close proximity of the lighthouse itself. Since the Race Point Light figures on the National Register of Historic Places, history buffs are also encouraged to give its tours and accommodations some extra thought when planning their Cape Cod escapes.
Other Cape Cod lighthouses that deserve special mention are the Nobska Light and the Nauset Light. The Nobska Light was rebuilt in 1876 and can easily be viewed from the decks of the ferries that travel from Woods Hole to Martha's Vineyard. As for the Nauset Light, it dates back to 1877 and serves as the logo for a local snack foods company that is based in Hyannis.
Since the Cape Cod lighthouses are so numerous, visitors are all but guaranteed to see at least one during their trip. Some, like the Long Point Lighthouse at Provincetown Harbor, are found near popular beaches and towns and are thus very easy to reach. Others, such as the Wood End Lighthouse on the southwestern side, are more remote and take a fairly long hike to get to. For those who are interested, various Cape Cod tours that are of the sightseeing variety include lighthouse stops, not to mention stops at beaches, harbors, and windmills. There might even be time for some shopping in Provincetown, among other things, so these kinds of tours can get quite diverse.