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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1665 Reviews

Very good

TripAdvisor® Traveler Reviews

  • "Best View of the Island"

    Reviewed 22 September 2018

    Great Visit, I just toured the keepers Quaters and my spouse went up the 88 steps to the top of the lighhouse he said it was worth the climb as he could see beyond the whole island. If you are not...

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  • "Worth a visit"

    Reviewed 20 September 2018

    This was very interesting and worth a visit, despite the 88 steps up to the top of the lighthouse! It would have benefited from someone guiding the tour & making some of the exhibits come to life.

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  • "Pretty"

    Reviewed 18 September 2018

    This lighthouse and keepers cottage is pretty and well maintained. There are 88 metal spiral stairs to the top of the lighthouse so it is not practical for everyone

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938 Whitehead Street

Key West, FL 33040

Phone: (305) 294-0012   

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