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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1559 Reviews

Very good

TripAdvisor® Traveler Reviews

  • "Great view"

    Reviewed 25 April 2018

    Great view from the top of the lighthouse. Very interesting history. Go early to beat crowds. Stairs are very narrow.

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  • "I love Lighthouses"

    Reviewed 21 April 2018

    As a fan of lighthouses, I had to climb the 88 stairs on the spiral staircase to the top. And of course the view was breath taking. The ticket price was very reasonable. There was also a museum...

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  • "Historic Tour with Great Views"

    Reviewed 20 April 2018

    The lighthouse if very unique and offers fantastic views of the island. Walk the stairs and take lots of photos.

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938 Whitehead Street

Key West, FL 33040

Phone: (305) 294-0012   

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