Florida’s lighthouses are full of intrigue – and climbing provides amazing views, good exercise and a glimpse into the past. Here are six beacons sure to pique the whole family’s curiosity:
St. Augustine Lighthouse
Guarding Florida’s oldest port, the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Museum’s black and white spirals are iconic, as are the views of St. Augustine from atop its 219 steps. At night, brave adventurers, including kids 7 and up, can take the spooky Dark of the Moon tour that has been featured on Ghost Hunters. Children must be 44 inches to climb the tower, however there is a playground at the base of the lighthouse for little ones with supervision.
Visit on the right day from March to October and you can watch the U.S. Navy's flight demonstration squadron, the Blue Angels, buzz past at eye level from the top of the 150-foot Pensacola Lighthouse. You can literally feel the engines scream. Kids must be at least 7 years old or 44 inches tall to climb. Check the website for flight schedules.
Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park
At the end of Key Biscayne, you’ll find the oldest standing structure in Miami – the Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park and Lighthouse. Tours are given twice daily, except Tuesday and Wednesday. While at the park, enjoy an authentic Cuban lunch, or swim at the beach, a perennial Dr. Beach favorite.
Ponce Inlet Lighthouse
At 175 feet, the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is Florida’s tallest lighthouse. After climbing 203 spiral steps to the top, you’ll be rewarded with magnificent views of world-famous Daytona Beach. Afterward, explore nature trails, or tour the grounds and museum.
Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse & Museum
If you’re 4 feet tall, you can climb the 108-foot Jupiter Inlet Lighthouse, but there’s plenty to see on the ground. Be sure and tour the museum to see how the lighthouse keepers lived. Exhibits include a lighthouse keeper’s workshop, pioneer homestead and Seminole chickee hut.
Cape St. George Light
Climb the 92 stairs to the top and soak in the views of St. George Island. At the base of the St. Cape St. George Light, little ones can also enjoy the playground and beachfront property. Be sure to save time to explore the Keeper’s Museum and the area’s visitor’s center also on the lighthouse grounds.