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Head for the light - and see some of the area's best lighthouses


June 02, 2017

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Summer is here and that means it’s time to plan your weekly dose of “Vitamin Sea” as some enterprising motivational poster company decided to restyle a trip to the shore. Yes, I did say weekly, and I meant it. When you live this close to the water, why not enjoy it as much as you can?

 

‘But that’s what everyoneand their brother is doing, and the beaches can be kind of gross depending on where you go, and the water is pretty murky on the Atlantic side,’ you say.

Well never fear, that’s where I come in. I’ve worked out what I think is a great way for you to enjoy your time at the coast without having to tiptoe around other beachgoers to find 6 feet of free space in which to place your beach towel. You won’t have to fight off any overly comfortable seagulls trying to get a cut of your snacks either. (Well, probably. Those things are scary so I make no promises.) What I’ve got for you is a summer “bucket list” of sorts which will take you to some of the prettiest coastline the South has to offer in the form of its most noteworthy and visitor friendly lighthouses.

1.      Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse

We’ll start two-and-a-half hours to the north near Charleston, South Carolina, home of one of the U.S.’s most unique lighthouses. Built in the 1960s, the “Charleston Light” is one of the newest lighthouses in the country, and its architecture shows. The light is 140 feet tall and, atypically, triangular. It is still in operation and is therefore not open to the public but its grounds and some of the surrounding buildings are accessible. Additionally, the Sullivan’s Island Lighthouse offers public beach access. The gorgeous city of Charleston is just an added bonus.

2.      Bloody Point Lighthouse

Maybe distillery tours, local artisans and fresh seafood are more up your alley. Daufuskie Island, just outside of Hilton Head and accessible only by ferry has all of that and more. Visitors can take a round trip on a ferry from Hilton Head daily for $35. It is encouraged for guests to arrange some sort of transportation while on the island as most of the permanent residents travel by golf cart or bicycle. Various guided tours are available, some of which are all-inclusive.

3.      Tybee Island Lighthouse

I know, we’ve all seen Tybee’s lighthouse on our way to the beach or on a sticker plastered to someone’s bumper, but maybe it’s time for a fresh look. Did you know that the Tybee Island Lighthouse claims to be Georgia’s tallest and oldest lighthouse? The 145-foot tower is open Wednesday through Monday weekly with tickets costing $9 for adults. This includes admission to the Tybee Island Museum which showcases artifacts from the area’s history. A lighthouse has stood in that spot since Oglethorpe first established the city of Savannah, though severe damage during the Civil War resulted in restoration efforts. The summer and early fall is a unique time to visit Tybee’s lighthouse as special sunset tours are offered for a limited number of guests. Tickets are $25 and reservations should be made in advance.

4.      Sapelo Island Lighthouse

Tours of Sapelo Island are available Wednesdays, Fridays and Saturdays for $15. The island has a rich history dating back to roughly 2000 B.C. The lighthouse was built on the southern tip of the island in 1820 and is one of the oldest brick lighthouses in the nation.

 

5.      St. Simons Island Lighthouse

Rebuilt in 1872 on the site of the original St. Simons lighthouse, the current iteration, built with Savannah’s distinctive grey brick, is open to the public. Open daily (more limited hours on Sundays) the lighthouse and museum allow guests to trace the history and development of lighthouse technology and the history of coastal Georgia. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children 6-12.

6.      Amelia Island Lighthouse

Fernandina Beach and Amelia Island boast the oldest lighthouse in the state of Florida. The city of Fernandina has owned and maintained the lighthouse since 2001 so visitors can arrange tours on the first and third Wednesdays of each month for a small fee. However, the grounds are open to the public on Saturday afternoons.

7.      St. Augustine Light Station

Last but not least, I give you the St. Augustine Light Station, built in 1874 on the site of a Spanish watchtower built in the 1500s. It is the city’s oldest surviving brick structure and is maintained and operated by a volunteer-run nonprofit committed to preserving the lighthouse and its history. The lighthouse and museum are open to the public daily at a cost of $13. Once a month the lighthouse also offers exclusive sunset tours for $30, complete with champagne and hors d’oeuvres. June is already booked and spots are limited so move fast.

I hope you enjoy your summer exploring the coast. In fact, I’d love to hear about it! Send me your pictures or comments at http://www.connectstatesboro.com/news/contactus.

 


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