Long Island lighthouses spotlight local maritime history and offer panoramic views if you climb their towers or cruise to them on a boat. Although the 182-sep Fire Island Lighthouse tower -- the tallest on Long Island at 168 feet -- is currently closed, here are other beacons that beckon.
Montauk Point Lighthouse
The oldest lighthouse in New York State, completed in 1796, will remain open during exterior work, says Henry Osmers, the lighthouse historian. Osmers says that the exterior of the lighthouse tower is being scraped and repainted with a more weather-resistant paint. Visitors can climb the tower’s 137 iron steps for a 360-degree view of the surrounding land and waters, visit the museum and browse the gift shop. Osmers says that in addition, a two-year project is scheduled to begin in September to reinforce the rock sea wall, also known as a revetment, that protects the structure from erosion. montauklighthouse.com, 631-668-2544.
Execution Rocks Light Station
Group boat tours are once again available to the tiny island light station in Long Island Sound near Sands Point, says Craig W. Morrison, president of Historically Significant Structures. The non-profit corporation bought the island in 2009 from the federal government and is raising funds to restore and preserve its historic lighthouse. To arrange for a tour, email Morrison at firstname.lastname@example.org. Morrison’s organization also books overnight stays in the keepers quarters. By special permission, guests can stay in the adjacent lighthouse tower, erected in 1849. ($250-$350/night) Overnight guests are provided air mattresses and potable water, but need to carry in almost everything else. Be forewarned: some say the lighthouse is haunted by the ghosts of patriots drowned by the British on its rocks. lighthouserestorations.org, 215-906-5103.
Horton Point Lighthouse and Nautical Museum, Southold
The whalehouse exhibit – which includes a partial finback whale skeleton -- has been “spruced up,” says Deanna Walker of the Southold Historical Society. The “Keeping it Lit” summer exhibit features historic artifacts, photos and biographies of Horton Point lighthouse keepers. Located at the end of Lighthouse Road, Southold, southoldhistoricalsociety.org, 631-765-5500.
Huntington Harbor Lighthouse
The lighthouse is open to the public again after a two-year renovation of its foundation, according to the Huntington Lighthouse Preservation Society website. The renovation also added a new lighthouse landing platform to the light station, which has stood since 1912 at the entrance to Lloyd and Huntington harbors. One-hour guided boat tours to the lighthouse are available this summer. They leave from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. on June 30, July 14, Aug. 11 and Sept. 8, from Goldstar Battalion Beach in Huntington. The annual music festival, which is held atop the lighthouse and can only be attended by concertgoers in watercraft, has been canceled for 2019.huntingtonlighthouse.org, 631-421-1985.
Long Beach Bar “Bug Light”
The lighthouse, so-named because of its odd shape, is open for boat tours run by the East End Seaport Museum in Greenport. The tours are narrated by Greenporter Bob Allen, whose great-grandfather was the island’s last live-in keeper. Visitors can enter the lighthouse, walk around on its first and second floors and stroll the wrap-around deck for views of Peconic Bay. The lighthouse can also be seen from land after a 2-mile walk along the shoreline at Orient Beach State Park in Orient Point, email@example.com, 631-477-2100.
Fire Island Lighthouse, Fire Island National Seashore
The lighthouse tower was closed to the public on June 4, and will remain closed for three weeks, according to an announcement from the National Park Service. Tests are being conducted to determine the cause of ongoing problems including high moisture inside the building, and deterioration of the outer face of brick and coating, according to the park service. The terrace area around the tower is also closed during the project. However, the Keeper's Quarters Museum and gift shop and the Fresnel lens building, which displays the lighthouse's original lens, will remain open. Located east of Robert Moses State Park, Field 5, Fire Island, 631-661-4876, fireislandlighthouse.com.
Stepping Stones Lighthouse, Kings Point
The structure built in the 1870s is owned by the Town of North Hempstead. It is the subject of local restoration efforts. It is visible offshore from Steppingstone Park in Kings Point.
Eaton’s Neck Lighthouse
Eaton’s Neck is an active Coast Guard station, and the lighthouse and grounds are closed to the public, according to lighthousefriends.com.
Cedar Island Lighthouse, Cedar Point County Park, East Hampton
An ongoing project seeks to restore the fire damaged, castle-like lighthouse built in the mid-19th century to guide whale ships and other mariners entering Sag Harbor. The lighthouse's interior is not currently accessible to the public. The structure is on a strip of sandy beach about a mile’s walk from the park’s parking lot. It can also be seen with binoculars from the Long Wharf in Sag Harbor Village and from Orient Beach State Park in Orient Point.
Plum Island Lighthouse
Located on an island occupied by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, the lighthouse can be seen on boat tours with the East End Seaport Museum and Cross Sound Ferry in New London, Connecticut.
Little Gull Island Lighthouse
Located 7 miles northeast of Orient Point, where Block Island Sound and Long Island Sound meet, the privately owned structure is closed to the public. It can be seen from the water on cruises with the East End Seaport Museum and Cross Sound Ferry of New London, Connecticut.
North Dumpling Lighthouse, Fishers Island Sound
The lighthouse is owned by Segway inventor Dean Kamen, and it is not open to the public. It can be seen from the water on lighthouse cruises with Cross Sound Ferry in New London, Connecticut.
Race Rock lighthouse, west of Fisher’s Island, Southold
Owned by the New London Maritime Society, the lighthouse is currently closed to the public. It can be seen from the water on lighthouse cruises with Cross Sound Ferry in New London, Connecticut.
Latimer Reef Lighthouse
Located in Fishers Island Sound, the lighthouse is privately owned with no public access. It can be viewed by boat.
Orient Point Lighthouse, Plum Gut
The privately owned lighthouse also known as The Coffee Pot, cannot be reached by land. It is closed to the public, says Bob Allen of the East End Seaport Museum. It can be seen from the water on boat tours with the East End Seaport Museum and Cross Sound Ferry in New London, Connecticut. It can also be seen from the shoreline of Orient Point County Park in Orient Point.