Rhode Island Lighthouses

The Rhode Island lighthouses are prolific in number, which helps to make them some of the top attractions in the state. Rhode Island borders the Atlantic Ocean on its southern side, and Narragansett Bay separates the western side of the state from the eastern side. Since much of the state borders water, shipping has always been a big industry in Rhode Island. The numerous lighthouses in Rhode Island were erected to help ships find the shore, especially at night and when the weather was inclement, and some of them are still in use today. Many a lighthouse in Rhode Island is a National Historic Landmark, and touring some of them is a great way to learn a little bit about the state's maritime history.

The Prudence Island Lighthouse, which can be found in the middle of Narragansett Bay, was founded in 1951 and it boasts the oldest lighthouse tower in the state. Interestingly enough, the Prudence Island Lighthouse, which is also known as Sand Point Light, was built in 1823 and originally stood on another site. Today, that original site on Goat Island, which is a small island due west of Aquidneck Island, is where you will find the Newport Harbor Light. The Newport Harbor Light, like the Prudence Island Lighthouse, is not open to the public. More often than not, the lighthouses in Rhode Island are not open to the public, though some offer small museums and the chance to ascend to the top of the lighthouse tower.

The Beavertail Lighthouse, which can be found on Conanicut Island, features a small museum that you can visit between mid-May and mid-October, which is the peak Rhode Island travel season. The Beavertail Lighthouse enjoys a privileged location in Beaver State Park, and the grounds afford stunning views of Narragansett Bay. Only two lighthouses on the Atlantic Coast are older than the Beavertail Lighthouse, which helps to distinguish it among the many others in the state.

Aquidneck island, which is where the city of Newport can be found, is home to two lighthouses, and other Narrangasett Bay islands, such as Gould Island and Rose Island boast lighthouses as well. The Castle Hill Lighthouse, which is one of the top Newport attractions, is not open to the public, but the rocky shoreline on which it sits can be accessed if you want to view this attractive lighthouse up close. The Castle Hill Lighthouse was built in 1890, and it is still in operation today. As mentioned, Rose Island, which rests in the bay between Aquidneck Island and Conanicut Island, boasts a lighthouse, and it is one of the Rhode Island lighthouses that you can tour. You can hop on a ferry in either Newport or Jamestown to get to Rose Island, and guided tours of both the lighthouse and the grounds are offered in July and August.

The Rhode Island lighthouses are spread out along the shorelines that front Naragansett Bay, so you will have plenty of opportunities to view and tour many of them when exploring the area. There are a few lighthouses in Rhode Island that also overlook the Atlantic Ocean, so you might keep them in mind as well. Should you be heading down to the southern coast to enjoy some time in the Westerly and Misquamicut area, for instance, you can visit the Watch Hill Lighthouse. Although the Watch Hill Lighthouse is not open to the public, there is a small museum in the nearby oil house that you can visit in the summertime. You can also explore the grounds around the lighthouse, which offer some terrific ocean views. Block Island is another popular summertime destination for those who want to enjoy some time on an Atlantic Ocean beach in Rhode Island. There are two lighthouses on the island, both of which features small museums that are open in the summer months. In addition to a small museum, the Block Island Southeast Light also opens its tower to the public, and tours of it are recommended.

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