The Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station boasts being one of the best preserved, most complete lighthouses in the nation. It also boasts being the tallest one in the Sunshine State. I’m here to verify that last part.
My rear-end and legs are still whimpering from climbing to the top of the 175-foot tower, located just a splash south of Daytona Beach in the town of Ponce Inlet.
But it was worth every one of the 203 steps.
The Lighthouse is strangely beautiful inside, with a spiral staircase that seems to go on forever. It twists smaller and tighter the higher you climb, and when you look down, it curls in an endless ribbon. Your voice echoes off the thick walls when you talk, and it feels mysterious and very old.
When you finally reach the top, with your backside and calves whining, and open the door, it will literally take away your breath. You can feel the wind and the gasp of fresh air. The world spreads below in a vast panorama; you can see the caps on the ocean waves, boats cruising the inlet, and even the high rises of Daytona Beach towering to the north.
The Lighthouse, designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998, is visited by more than 140,000 people each year.
I’m glad I finally saw the light!
If you go…
Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse Preservation Association
4931 South Peninsula Drive - Ponce Inlet, FL 32127
Open Daily to the Public at 10 a.m.
Last admission one hour before closing
$5 for adults (12 and over)
$1.50 for children (11 and under)
Free admission for infants (newborn to two years)
Make sure to check the online Calendar of Events for more information about activities that may be scheduled on the date of your visit. Lighthouse staff may also be contacted directly via email at email@example.com or by phone at (386) 761-1821 ext. 10 for more information regarding special hours of operation and scheduled events.
All photos by Lauren Tjaden for VISIT FLORIDA