Our gorgeous beacons are more than just easy on the eyes. Their vibrant lights have been guiding mariners around Rhode Island's breathtaking, rocky coastline and into safety since the 1800s. Not to mention, they make for some pretty fantastic photos.
Beavertail Lighthouse & Museum
Located at the southernmost tip of Conanicut Island in quaint Jamestown, Beavertail Lighthouse comes accompanied by panoramic views of Narragansett Bay and a museum boasting a collection of artifacts pertaining to the lighthouse. Built in 1753, Beavertail Light is the third oldest in North America. The light provides navigation for boats and ships entering Narragansett Bay in the East Passage between Conanicut Island and Newport.
Pro Tip: Visit the lighthouse's website for the schedule of tower openings for the opportunity to climb to the top!
CASTLE HILL LIGHTHOUSE
This granite tower, first lit in 1890, stands thirty-four feet tall and has previously featured a 1,300-pound fog bell. In addition to guiding ships through Narragansett Bay, Castle Hill Light has also served as the start and finish line for a handful of Newport's famous yacht races. Make the short trek through a few footpaths on the grounds of Castle Hill Inn to see it up close and personal!
Pro Tip: Visit at sunset for the most magical experience.
Rose Island Lighthouse
Rose Island Lighthouse was built in 1870 on Rose Island, located in Narragansett Bay. In 1970, after the Claiborne Pell Newport Bridge was built, the lighthouse was neglected and abandoned as a functioning structure. Later in 1984, the Rose Island Lighthouse Foundation was founded to restore this treasure on behalf of the city. This lighthouse is only accessible by boat and is now a historic living museum and environmental education center.
Fun Fact: You can stay overnight in one of the museum rooms or barracks, or become a keeper for the night/week and stay in the second floor apartment.
Dutch Island Lighthouse
Dutch Island is a small, rocky island off the coast of Conanicut Island in the West Passage of Narragansett Bay. The thirty-foot lighthouse was built in 1826 using stone and slate found on the island. In 1856, the lighthouse was rebuilt with a two-story brick keeper's dwelling attached to a forty-two-foot square, brick tower. The lighthouse was nearly destroyed by fire in 1923, and deactivated by the coast guard in 1972. In 2007, after donations gathered from the American Lighthouse Foundation, it was reactivated with a battery-powered, solar-charged light. Like many of our native beacons, this house is not open to the public. Best views are said to be seen from the water.
Hog Island Shoal Lighthouse
This unique spark plug lighthouse (a lighthouse that has a three-story living area, with the lantern on top completely placed on a concrete or metal caisson) was built in 1901. It is located just off the southeast shore of Hog Island at the beginning of the Mount Hope Bay. The lighthouse was automated in 1964, and today is privately owned and not open to the public.
Pro Tip: Take the Prudence Island or Bristol Ferry to pass right by this treasure.
Lime Rock (Ida Lewis Yacht Club) Light
The square granite tower that is Lime Rock Light was built in 1854. To reach it, the original keeper, Hosea Lewis, had to row 200 yards, which eventually proved to be nearly impossible during winter storms and poor weather. One year later, a permanent dwelling was attached to the building, which today stands as the Ida Lewis Yacht Club, named after Hosea's daughter, Ida, who took over as lighthouse keeper in 1879 and saved more than a dozen people from drowning.
Fun Fact: The lighthouse is occasionally lit for private use during parts of the year.
Newport Harbor Lighthouse (Goat Island Light)
Located on the Gurney's Resort property on Goat Island, Newport Harbor light was built in 1842 and is known for its green light visible from across the bay at night. Entrance into the lighthouse is not permitted, but feel free to get up close and personal for a photo opp.
Sandy Point Lighthouse (Prudence Island Lighthouse)
Prudence Island Lighthouse, also known as Sandy Point Lighthouse, is located a little over a mile off shore of Prudence Island. This lighthouse was built in the location of the Newport Harbor Lighthouse in 1823 and then moved to its current location on Prudence Island in 1851. The tower is not open to the public, but you can walk about a mile from the ferry landing to see this old-time beacon.
Fun Fact: This lighthouse is sometimes nicknamedChibacoweda, meaning "little place separated by a passage," due to its unique location.
Sakonnet Point Light
Little Compton, RI
Similar to the Hog Island Lighthouse, the Sakonnet Point Light is a spark plug lighthouse. It was built in 1884 near Sakonnet Point in Little Compton, but unfortunately destroyed by Hurricane Carol in 1954. After many years, the lighthouse was relit in 1997 by the U.S. Coast Guard and restored in 2012 by the Friends of the Sakonnet Light. This lighthouse is not open to the public, but can be seen from the beach at Sakonnet Point or even from the Sachuest Point National Wildlife Refuge in Middletown. The best views however, are by boat!