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Cape Henry Lighthouse

583 Atlantic Avenue

The Cape Henry Lighthouse silently guards the entry way into the Chesapeake Bay. Standing near the "First Landing" site of the Jamestown settlers where in 1607, Captain Newport raised a cross to offer thanks for their safe crossing of the Atlantic, the Lighthouse has stood sentinel since it was completed in 1792.

Authorized by George Washington and overseen by Alexander Hamilton, the construction of the Cape Henry Lighthouse was one of the first acts of the newly formed Federal government. The octagonal sandstone lighthouse was designed by New York architect John McComb and was in active use for nearly a century before being replaced by a new cast iron lighthouse still standing nearby. It is one of the oldest surviving lighthouses in the United States.

Preservation Virginia acquired the Cape Henry Lighthouse in 1930 whe.n Congress deeded the lighthouse and 1.77 acres of land to the organization in order to preserve it and make it accessible to the public. Over the years it has restored the lighthouse and its surroundings including repairing the lantern after damage from Hurricane Barbara in 1953, repairing the damaged original Aquia sandstone, and restoring the surrounding dunes.

Today visitors to the Cape Henry Lighthouse can climb to the top of the tower to enjoy spectacular views of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean. They can also enjoy a quided walking tour of the area as well as a visit to our museum shop.


Bryon Bell

Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018
Couldn't go inside, it was closed due to the high heat index (it's basically a brick oven in there). The site is beautiful, and the staff are very knowledgeable and friendly. Be prepared for the fact that you have to enter a US Military base in order to get to the lighthouses. That means if you don't have military ID you'll have to show ID, proof of vehicle registration and insurance, and submit to a quick vehicle inspection at the guard post. The Navy personnel who did this were super friendly, so don't let the slight inconvenience stop you from visiting. It's worth it.

Aaron Brown

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Manager of this site is great. We stopped by after hours and she took the time to explain all of the sites history. Very informative and loves her job. Hopefully next time we'll make in during operational hours to get an inside tour. Great place for photos any time of day.

Jae Hill

Sunday, Aug. 5, 2018
This was a great experience for our family of four with age ranges from 10 to 42. It seemed intimidating but there really aren't that many stairs. It was over before we knew it. But the view at the top is well worth it. I could have stayed up there for a while but I guess I couldn't because it is so hot up there. Overall it was a great experience and we would do it again.

Robert Ziegenfus

Sunday, July 15, 2018
Quick visit. You are restricted to where you can go as it is on base. You must go through security and have your car checked. You get a limited pass to see the lighthouse and a small display area. The lighthouse is small inside and can become quite hot. Large people can restrict your ability to ascend and descend.

Jeremy Lichliter

Wednesday, July 25, 2018
Great place to visit. It’s easy to get to; however, you have to go through security to get on base to see he lighthouse...not a big deal. Nice views from the top of the lighthouse, though it gets pretty hot up there at the top in the summer.

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