Almost immediately after the U.S. Navy established a base in Key West in 1823, the need for a lighthouse became evident. Erecting a lighthouse was essential in assuring the safe arrival of both military and commercial vessels navigating the shallow, reef-laden waters off the Florida Keys.

The current lighthouse opened in 1848 with a woman as its Keeper; nearly unheard of during the 19th century.  In the years following, the Key West Lighthouse underwent a number of upgrades including the installation of a Third Order Fresnel Lens, an extension to the tower which allowed the light to be seen from a greater distance, the addition of Keeper’s Quarters, and finally the electrification of the light.

In 1969, the U.S. Coast Guard decommissioned the Key West Lighthouse since there was no longer a need for a full-time Keeper due to technological advancements.  Today, this sentinel of the sea stands as a museum dedicated to Key West’s maritime heritage and to the men and women who bravely kept the light burning through the threats of war and weather.

Today, visitors can walk up the 88 steps to the top of the light as well as explore the belongings, photographs, and words of the lighthouse Keepers and their families who lived a now obsolete, yet never forgotten, way of life.

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1399 Reviews

Very good

TripAdvisor® Traveler Reviews

  • "Well worth a visit for the view"

    Reviewed 23 July 2017

    The lighthouse is well worth a visit for the view. We found the museum of brief interest, but more for a brief pause. Great views from the lighthouse once you have climbed the stairs to the top and...

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  • "Educational and Interesting"

    Reviewed 22 July 2017

    We visited this attraction to learn additional history of Key West and were not disappointed. Although somewhat small display-wise, the pictures and narratives were very informative. The spiral...

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  • "Great experience "

    Reviewed 20 July 2017

    We went up to the top today which we've done for the 2nd time. Great views! Not many steps and the museum is wonderful.

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938 Whitehead Street

Key West, FL 33040

Phone: (305) 294-0012   

Open daily from 9:30AM – 4:30PM, Closed Christmas