Guiding Lights: Exploring the Lighthouses of the East End

Montauk Point Lighthouse, the oldest lighthouse in New York State. Completed on November 5, 1796. The Montauk Point Lighthouse became a National Historic Landmark in 2012.
Photo: Sylvana Rega/123RF

Lighthouses are ubiquitous with nautical communities, and Long Island is no different. At the tip of various East End waterside towns and villages are historic monuments that still operate to this day. There are three lighthouses that are publicly accessible, providing fascinating history and, of course, beautiful photo ops.

Horton Point Light
3575 Lighthouse Road, Southold
Constructed by the U.S. Lighthouse Service in 1857, the Horton Point Lighthouse was restored in 1990 and relit after years of inactivity. The Southold Historical Society converted the Keeper’s House to a Nautical Museum, which is currently closed due to COVID-19, but you can still visit the grounds. For information on when Horton Point Lighthouse plans to reopen, visit southoldhistoricalsociety.org

Long Beach Bar “Bug” Light, Photo: Yvonne Lieblein, Courtesy East End Seaport Museum
Long Beach Bar “Bug” Light, Photo: Yvonne Lieblein, Courtesy East End Seaport Museum

Long Beach Bar “Bug” Light
East End Seaport Museum, 103 3rd Street, Greenport
Originally built in 1870 and destroyed by arsonists on July 4, 1963, this lighthouse was rebuilt in 1990 as a near-replica of the original. The East End Seaport Museum now offers Bug Light Cruises and Tours that give guests a good view of this offshore spectacle. Narrated cruise tours are currently held on Saturdays starting at 5 p.m. eastendseaport.org/cruises

Montauk Point Lighthouse
2000 Montauk Highway, Montauk
The oldest lighthouse in New York State, the Montauk Point Lighthouse was authorized by President George Washington in 1792. While the tower is currently closed due to COVID-19, the gift shop, grounds and museum are open with social distancing guidelines in place. montauklighthouse.com

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