219 STEPS: Why the St. Augustine Lighthouse & Maritime Museum is Worth the Climb

There’s no elevator available for guests to journey to the top of the St. Augustine Lighthouse, a historic landmark proudly standing 165 feet above the ground. However, if you haven’t been frequenting your gym’s stair climber recently – don’t worry! The winding staircase to the top offers several platform landings with stories and fun facts to absorb while you take a rest. Thousands of past visitors will attest that the breathtaking view from the observation deck is well worth the climb. 


If you’re lucky to make the climb during sunrise or sunset, you’ll likely be greeted by a stunning panoramic view that is difficult to capture in a single photo. From the top, you can see the sprawling Atlantic Ocean, dotted with boats and various vessels coming to and from the coast. You can also see a birds-eye view of St. Augustine, the rugged landscape of Anastasia Island, and so much more!   


This proud landmark on the coast of northeastern Florida has a tumultuous history. Visitors can learn this history at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum through guided tours, educational programs, and a host of interactive exhibits. This historic lighthouse has survived an earthquake, several wars, and much more!

Records indicate that a wooden watchtower was built by the Spanish in 1589, shortly after first discovering the area. The current St. Augustine Lighthouse; however, roughly dates back to 1874 after being rebuilt and repaired several times due to general wear and the damaging effects of war. It is primarily constructed from brick and was originally fueled by lard, before kerosene and later electricity was discovered. 


Once you’ve taken in the salty ocean air from the top of St. Augustine Lighthouse, spend the rest of the day immersing yourself in history at the Maritime Museum. Dive deeper into the history of this monument by learning more about the lighthouse keepers, those tasked with building, fixing, and protecting this local treasure. Or learn about the role of St. Augustine and the lighthouse in the new WWII exhibit. Heritage Boatworks offers boat enthusiasts the opportunity to learn from real boatwrights and see wooden boatbuilding in progress. Whatever your interest, the museum has something for you! 


For something a little different, the Maritime Hammock Nature Trails offers a scavenger hunt that takes kids on an adventure through the nearby forest. Another family favorite is the Maritime Education Center that features a climbable wooden lighthouse, puppets, and an abundance of educational opportunities. The museum loves to partner with local schools to provide state-of-the-art educational programming so check out their website to learn how you can bring the museum to your classroom or home.


The ghost tours at the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum are very popular and you won’t regret purchasing your ticket well in advance. Part-history, part bone-chilling tales of the past, the tours offer visitors the chance to explore the lighthouse at night. 


We love ghost stories so much that we’re planning to share an exclusive terrifying tale with you right HERE. Until then, visit the St. Augustine Lighthouse and Maritime Museum and catch the Dark of the Moon tour.  

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