Long Island’s Nautical Beacons

Long Island lighthouses
Bug Light, officially known as the Long Beach Bar Lighthouse, a charming 1870 Victorian structure, was set ablaze by arsonists in 1963, then lovingly restored by the East End Seaport Museum in 1990. (Photos by Christy Hinko)

On Aug. 7, 1789, Congress passed an Act for the establishment and support of lighthouses, beacons, buoys and public piers. Two hundred years later, the National Lighthouse Day was established, a day designated to encourage dedication to preserving these historic structures. And what a better way to honor this national holiday than to give a nod to Long Island’s 25 lighthouses dotted along more than 400 miles of shoreline.

It’s true, Long Island is home to some of the most beautiful and architecturally diverse lighthouse structures in the United States; many allow visitors to climb to the light tower and enjoy the panoramic ocean views, such as Horton Point and Fire Island, along with Montauk Point, which was commissioned by George Washington in 1796.

Many others are accessible by private tour and ferry cruises, such as the Cross Sound Ferry (www.longislandferry.com), departing most days from New London for a two-hour cruise around the sound.

For more about Cross Sound Ferry’s lighthouse cruises, see: Sightseeing In The Sound


All Along The Island’s Watchtowers

Cedar Island Lighthouse at Cedar Point County Park in East Hampton

Cold Spring Harbor Lighthouse at Centre Island in Cold Spring Harbor

Coney Island (Norton Point) in Brooklyn

Eaton’s Neck at the Coast Guard Station at the opening of Huntington Bay

Execution Rocks Lighthouse, near Port Washington

Fire Island at Robert Moses State Park

Gardiners Point* destroyed in a storm in 1894 in East Hampton

Horton Point Lighthouse on Lighthouse Road in Southold

Huntington Harbor Lighthouse at 324 W. Shore Rd. in Huntington

Latimer Reef Lighthouse, Fishers Island in Southold

Little Gull Island Lighthouse, East Plum Island in Southold

Lloyd Harbor* destroyed by fire in 1947, in Huntington

Long Beach Bar “Bug” on Long Beach Bar marking the entrance to Peconic Bay

Montauk Point State Park at 2000 Montauk Hwy., on the eastern end of Long Island

New Bedford (ex-Fire Island) Lightship

North Dumpling Lighthouse just North of Fisher’s Island

Old Field Point west of the entrance to Port Jefferson Harbor, Brookhaven

Orient Point “Coffee Pot” in Plum Gut between Orient Point and Plum Island

Plum Island Lighthouse on the West side of Plum Island

Port Jefferson Harbor East Breakwater* damaged, near Brookhaven

Race Rock Lighthouse near the West end of Fishers Island

Sands Point (Mitchill), North Hempstead

Shinnecock Bay (Great West Bay, Ponquogue Point)* toppled by the Coast Guard in 1948 in Southampton

Stepping Stones near U.S. Merchant Marine Academy at King’s Point

Stratford Shoal (Middle Ground) Brookhaven

The commemorative day is not permanently designated by Congress, but National Lighthouse Day is celebrated by lighthouse organizations nationwide, recognizing the importance of America’s lighthouse heritage, the beacons of light that symbolize safety and security to seafarers.

Visit the United States Lighthouse Society’s website (www.uslhs.org) for more information about lighthouses nationally and check out Robert Muller’s website (www.longislandlighthouses.com) for in-depth information about Long Island lighthouses.


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