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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1614 Reviews

Very good

TripAdvisor® Traveler Reviews

  • "Inexpensive trip with beautiful views"

    Reviewed 16 July 2018

    Warning-not for claustrophobics. Wrought iron stairs are very narrow and no hand rail coming down. When there are many people on the stairs at once they move. Museum is quaint. Right across the...

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  • "Good to view"

    Reviewed 16 July 2018

    Good and the receptionist very friendly. They dont offer for carer free as one person are deaf person and we cannot able to understand the clip without subtitle I think that you need to call for...

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  • "Visit to museum and Lighthouse"

    Reviewed 15 July 2018

    My husband and I, along with another couple, visited the museum and lighthouse today. The grounds were well maintained and the museum very informative. I was pleased that they didn't charge full...

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938 Whitehead Street

Key West, FL 33040

Phone: (305) 294-0012   

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