St. Simons Island Lighthouse
610 Beachview Drive, St. Simons, GA 31522, USA
One of only five surviving light towers in Georgia, the restored lighthouse on St Simons Island, with its original 3rd order Fresnel lens shining 18 miles out to sea, remains a navigational aid for traffic entering St. Simons Sound. Unlike many other operational lighthouses, visitors are welcome to climb the 129 steps leading to the top of the St. Simons Island Lighthouse. Although no keeper awaits you since the lighthouse is now fully automated, the vast panorama of the Golden Isles does.
All Museums are closed on Easter Sunday, Thanksgiving Day, Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and New Year's Day. During brief periods of heavy rain, the St. Simons Lighthouse tower and Maritime Center Watch Tower may be closed to climbers.
The historic site of the St. Simons Lightstation dates back to Fort St. Simons, a colonial fort which was built under General James Oglethorpe's command to protect the southern tip of the island. In the early 1800s, John Couper acquired the land and named it Couper's Point. Couper sold the land for the sum of $1 to the government in 1804 as the location of the St. Simons Island Lighthouse. The original lighthouse was blown up by Confederate forces in 1862 to prevent its use by Federal troops.
The lighthouse you see today was constructed in 1872. This historic site consists of four historic structures: the lighthouse itself, the keeper's dwelling, an 1890 oil house and a Victorian Gazebo. The keeper's cottage is now the St. Simons Lighthouse Museum, and contains exhibits on the history of the lighthouse and the way of life of a turn-of-the-century lighthouse keeper and his family. The Museum store is now located in the Alfred W. Jones Center and features coastal Georgia publications and unique lighthouse-related items, gifts, and a theater room dedicated to a film about the history of the lighthouse. The lighthouse, still operational, remains under the jurisdiction of the United States Coast Guard. Last tour of the tower is at 4:30.
The Coastal Georgia Historical Society also manages the Maritime Museum located in the Old Coast Guard Station and this is open the same hours as the Lighthouse.
For more information call 912-638-4666.