Explore the Cape Henry Lighthouse- Virginia Beach’s Hidden Gem

The Cape Henry Lighthouse by Tessa Duquette

Make sure you visit a Cape Henry Lighthouse while visiting Virginia Beach! We’ll show you the best way to visit one of these official symbols of the city.

Cape Henry Lighthouse – an Important Landmark

The Cape Henry Lighthouse offers a unique glimpse of Virginia Beach history and culture, so make sure you make them part of your time here. As your family continue your Search & Find Adventure through Virginia Beach, you’ll notice the black & white lighthouse that sits in the corner of Search & Find: Virginia Beach. This is one of the Cape Henry Lighthouses.

They’re are a National Historic Landmark and the official symbol of the City of Virginia Beach. A visit to the grounds of the Fort Story Military Base to check out these magnificent examples of civil engineering is an absolute must while you’re in town.

You have to see Cape Henry Lighthouse

A Tale of Two Lighthouses

This is the tale of the two lighthouses that sit on Cape Henry, at the edge of the Chesapeake Bay. This location close to where the English settlers arrived by sea in 1607. Built in 1792, the 90-foot-tall Old Cape Henry Lighthouse (the brick structure) is one of the oldest standing lighthouses in the country.

tallest cast iron lighthouse

Almost 100 years later, its cast iron replacement (the black & white one) was built. It is the tallest cast iron lighthouse in the United States, but unfortunately not open to the public.

More Cape Henry Lighthouse History

“Tour the first federally funded lighthouse, next to the “First Landing” site where English settlers arrived in 1607. It has stood sentinel since its completion in 1792. The Lighthouse was authorized by George Washington and overseen by Alexander Hamilton”. The self guided tour should take about 30 minutes.

Cape Henry Lighthouse History

As you climb to the top of the Old Cape Henry Light, count the steps with the kids, peek out the windows and take a deep breath of the ocean air when you reach the top. Take a photo standing between the lighthouses and tag #searchandfindadventures to share the fun! Or you can send them securely to friends and family on the FamilyApp.

Pack a picnic lunch to eat on one of the picnic tables nearby, and snag a souvenir at the museum store. There is a lot of history at your fingertips here in Virginia Beach, and if you have an appreciation for checking out a historic exhibition, or exploring old buildings with interesting architecture, then exploring the Cape Henry Lighthouses is a perfect adventure for you!

What you’ll need to explore the Cape Henry Lighthouse

• A Picture Identification to enter the Fort Story Military Base (either via walking, biking, or driving)
• If you drive your car in – you’ll need proper documentation
• $8 for admission (if you choose to climb the old lighthouse)
• A quick review of their Visitor Information

Note: During the summer months, the temperature at the top of the tower can reach extreme levels. Cape Henry Lighthouse will close the tower when the heat index inside reaches 125°. They also close the tower during thunderstorms and when lightning has been spotted. Visitors will still be able to walk to the top of the dune and shop in the museum store. Winter weather advisories also may effect the opening of the lighthouse. If you have questions about closings call 757-422-9421.

stairs in Cape Henry Lighthouse

More Resources

Lighthouses of Virginia
Preservation of Virginia
National Park Service

Other wonderful attractions in Virginia Beach are the Landing State Park and the Virginia Aquarium.

Capecape Henry lighthouseCape Henry LighthousesCivil EngineeringExhibitionFort StoryMuseumSeasymbolVirginia Beach

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