General

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

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TripAdvisor® Traveler Reviews

  • "More than just a fantastic view"

    Reviewed 17 February 2018

    Really enjoyed the museum and recordings of the many keepers that worked at the lighthouse. It is right across the street from Hemingway House so very easy to see both places in a morning or...

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  • "Fascinating & great views from the top"

    Reviewed 15 February 2018

    This is a great place to visit, immaculately maintained, interesting history as you wander though the keepers' quarters, then a chance to climb to the top & see amazing views all over Key West & the...

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  • "Great View and Fantastic History"

    Reviewed 13 February 2018

    This lighthouse, and the lighthouse keepers' house, are very well maintained. The lighthouse offers a super view of Key West. We then toured the lighthouse keepers' house adjacent to the lighthouse...

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938 Whitehead Street

Key West, FL 33040

Phone: (305) 294-0012   

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