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

1345 Reviews

Very good

TripAdvisor® Traveler Reviews

  • "Worth a visit"

    Reviewed 27 May 2017

    Very interesting if you actually take the time to go into the museum and listen and read the exhibits. Doesn't take long and the history is actually pretty interesting. Very nice gift shop.

    Read More

  • "Lots of cool things to see here"

    Reviewed 27 May 2017

    So, after you get done at the Hemingway museum across the street, be sure to come visit this place. You can go up the 80+ stairs to see the original lamp at the top - it's a masterpiece of fresnel...

    Read More

  • "Beautiful"

    Reviewed 27 May 2017

    We weren't greeted when we walked in. The lady behind the counter acted like whatever she was doing was more important than us so that wasn't a good start to the lighthouse experience. She didn't...

    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