While the first navigational aid on the coast may have been the watchtower at St. Augustine back in 1586, the first real lighthouse didn’t light up the sea until 1824 when a 73 beacon was constructed at the same town. More lighthouses were built over the years, some standing to this day, while others succumbed to the forces of nature or economy.
Each one of Florida’s lighthouses has a distinctive daytime color and a unique nighttime light sequence to aid in navigating more than 1,100 miles of coastline. By the 1940s, the Coast Guard took over the assignment of keeping the lighthouses manned and operated. But that manning part shrank, as by the 1960s lighthouses became automated – taking away just one more romantic job.
But the romance of lighthouses is far from dead. Folks just seem to be fascinated by them, so many are now on the National Register of Historic Places. Some can be toured, others just appreciated from afar. Here’s a great trip-planning aid from the Florida Maritime Heritage Trail.