The waters surrounding Long Island are home to a whopping 25 lighthouses, a notably high concentration of lighthouses in a single area. Each one has a fascinating history all its own, often dating back to the Revolutionary War. While many of these beacons are reachable by land—Fire Island, Eaton’s Neck (Northport), Old Field (Setauket), Horton Point (Southold), Montauk Point—the majority are best reached by boat.
For more information about Long Island’s lighthouses, see: Long Island’s Nautical Beacons
Cross Sound Ferry, based in New London, CT, offers lighthouse cruises seven days a week through Labor Day and continues to operate through October. The Classic Lighthouse Cruise travels to nine lighthouses between Long Island and Connecticut, plus a few noteworthy monuments. From aboard the high-speed SEA JET, passengers view the scenery while a knowledgeable narrator shares details about each point of interest on the itinerary.
Whether inside the air-conditioned cabin or up on the windy outdoor deck, every passenger has the opportunity to see each lighthouse and snap photos. The captain slows down and does a 360-degree turn in front of each destination whenever possible.
On the two-hour circuit, you can expect to see the 1 New London Harbor Light, 2 Avery Point Lighthouse, 3 New London Ledge Lighthouse, 4 North Dumpling Light, 5 Race Rock Light, 6 Little Gull Light, 7 Plum Island Lighthouse, 8 Orient Point Lighthouse, 9 Bug Light, as well as a few other notable places—Fort Griswold, General Dynamic’s Electric Boat Division and Fort Trumbull.
The Classic Lighthouse Cruise costs $30 for adults ($15 for children ages 2-11) and departs on select days at 12:30 p.m. from New London, CT. However, traveling from Long Island is made especially convenient with the complimentary round-trip ferry tickets provided to cruise ticket holders. Take the 10, 10:15 or 10:30 a.m. ferry from Orient Point and return on the 3 p.m. ferry or another one later the same day.
Be sure to book your reservation in advance because the tours do sell out.
For all of the sightseeing packed into two captivating hours, the cruise is a bargain, and a wonderful way to spend an afternoon.
More Lighthouse Tours and Cruises
If you can’t get enough lighthouse cruising, Cross Sound Ferry also offers the Lights and Sights Cruise which visits eight lighthouses and various mansions on Fishers Island and the historic New London waterfront.
While you’re in New London, you may also choose to take a ferry to Block Island, which is home to two lighthouses, gorgeous beaches, hiking trails and many shops and restaurants. For more information, visit www.goblockisland.com.
In addition, the East End Seaport in Greenport offers several different lighthouse tours. See www.eastendseaport.org for more details.
On the other end of our island, the National Lighthouse Museum operates lighthouse boat tours departing from the World Financial Center Pier in Manhattan. For more information, visit lighthousemuseum.org.
Execution Rocks Lighthouse, located off the coast of Sands Point, is possible to visit on select days and even stay in overnight with special arrangements. To learn more, visit www.lighthouserestorations.org.
Have you taken any of these or other lighthouse cruises around Long Island? Share your experience in the comments below.