see + do
Truro , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 487 1121
Tel: 508 240 2612
Falmouth , Massachusetts
Tel: 508 487 3219
1 Lighthouse Inn Road
West Dennis , Massachusetts
Concierge.com's insider take:
Cape Cod has the nation's largest collection of historic lighthouses, 14 in all. A few allow visitors; some have museums. We've listed the five you shouldn't miss:
Originally built in 1797 and then rebuilt in 1857, Highland Light in Truro is the oldest lighthouse on Cape Cod. It was also the first in the nation to have a flashing beacon—sailors had been confusing it with the Boston Light. Visitors can ascend 69 winding steps to the lantern room (183 feet above the sea) and check out the keeper's watch room. The shipwreck rooms in the neighboring museum are popular with kids.
Nauset Light, above the dunes of what is now called Nauset Light Beach, is one of the nation's most picturesque lighthouses and is periodically open for tours. Since being depicted by the artist Edward Hopper, its fame has overshadowed the three smaller lighthouses, called the Three Sisters, that once stood on this site. Those wooden lights are now dark and—oddly—located in the woods along a marked path off Cable Road in the Cape Cod National Seashore.
Nobska Point Light on Nobska Road in Woods Hole is a quintessential New England lighthouse: a 40-foot-high circular cast-iron tower painted white, on a high bluff, with a whitewashed, red-roofed keeper's house. The grounds are open to the public, and the lighthouse is open periodically for tours.
Race Point Light in Provincetown was built in 1816 where the open ocean meets the calmer waters of Cape Cod Bay. Since the light is two and a half miles from the nearest paved road, it's not surprising that a former Race Point lighthouse keeper is credited as the inventor of the dune buggy. You can stay overnight in the four-room keeper's house; a volunteer keeper will drive you there. If you just want to look at the lighthouse and not stay over, you can park at Race Point Beach and walk. It takes about 45 minutes.
Bass River Light in Dennis was deactivated when shipping declined, but it is now a hotel called the Lighthouse and is the only privately maintained working lighthouse beacon in the country. The inn has ocean views, of course, and working fireplaces; 3 of the 72 guest rooms and suites are in the original lighthouse keeper's house.