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.

Available departures

Unfortunately, no offers are available on this tour at the moment

TripAdvisor Logo

TripAdvisor Traveler Rating

1433 Reviews

Very good

TripAdvisor® Traveler Reviews

  • "Lovely view of the island"

    Reviewed 13 September 2017

    It's a very doable lighthouse. The grounds are small but well kept. The Keeper's Quarter's is interesting, with an informative short film on repeat. It also has a very nice gift shop.

    Read More

  • "Always climb a lighthouse"

    Reviewed 09 September 2017

    This was right near the Hemingway house which we visited. It doesn't take much time to tour the lighthouse and museum, but it's an interesting stop.

    Read More

  • "View worthy of the climb"

    Reviewed 30 August 2017

    If you want the best aerial view of Key West then the lighthouse view wins hand down,The 88 steps are worth climbing to see a 360 degree view of the town

    Read More

Write A Review     Read All Reviews

© TripAdvisor 2015

938 Whitehead Street

Key West, FL 33040

Phone: (305) 294-0012   

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