We are open and ready for your visit! Be sure to read the parameters for visiting us on an active military base, listed below. ALL members of your party who are over 16 MUST have valid ID to enter the base- the driver alone WILL NOT BE ACCEPTED.

Cape Henry Lighthouse is the first federally funded public works project of the newly formed United States government. It was authorized by George Washington and overseen by Alexander Hamilton. The Lighthouse is situated near the “First Landing” site where English settlers first set foot on their way to settle in Jamestown. Built with the same Aquia sandstone as much of Washington, D.C, the lighthouse guided sea travelers to safety for almost 100 years. The distinctive black and white striped “New” Cape Henry Lighthouse was built in 1881 but remains closed to the public.

Preservation Virginia members placed a tablet on the tower in 1896 to mark the site of the “First Landing” and in 1930 an act of Congress deeded the Lighthouse and surrounding land to our care.

Today, Cape Henry Lighthouse is surrounded by the Joint Expeditionary Base Fort Story (JEBFS). Please review the guidelines provided by JEBFS for entering the military base before your visit.


583 Atlantic Avenue
Fort Story, Virginia 23459


The lighthouse is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 


Plan your visit

Cape Henry Lighthouse is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

*All climbers must be at least 42″ tall. Adults are not permitted to carry children.

Children 15 years old or younger must be accompanied by an adult at all times.

Please note: During the summer months, the temperature at the top of the tower can reach extreme levels. Cape Henry Lighthouse will close the tower when the heat index inside reaches 125°. We also close the tower during thunderstorms and when lightning has been spotted. Visitors will still be able to walk to the top of the dune and shop in the museum store. Winter weather advisories also may effect the opening of the tower.


Cape Henry Memorial

Visit the nearby National Park Service site where the first English colonists landed in April 1607.


Key Visitor Info

Before visiting Cape Henry Lighthouse, please be sure to read the additional information at the bottom of this page. This information includes guidance on location, arrival, and rules and regulations.


Hours & Directions

Cape Henry Lighthouse is open seven days a week, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Tours stop 45 minutes prior to closing.

January 3 to March 15: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
March 16 to October 31: 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
November 1 to December 30: 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Christmas Day, New Years Eve and New Years Day, and January 2.



Preservation MembersFree (Become a member)
Combination Ticket (includes tower climb)$14
General Admission$10
AAA, Senior (60+), Military Discount$9
Student Discount$8
Caregiver for any person with a disability protected under the ADAFree
Tower Climb (limited availability)General Admission Pricing

Guests must be 42″ or taller to climb the Cape Henry Lighthouse.


For information on pricing and availability:

Inquire about CAPE HENRY


Tours & Site Rental

Tips To Reduce Parking Stress

Visiting on weekdays, and arriving before 11 a.m. or after 3 p.m., could help avoid long entrance station lines and delays, and difficulty finding a place to park.

During peak visitor season at Cape Henry (typically from April into November each year), parking is extremely limited and usually fills by 11 a.m. During these times, visit Cape Henry with a back-up plan. Visitors are strongly encouraged to consider visiting mid-week, which is when Cape Henry is generally less crowded.

  • Be flexible. Arrive with alternative plans and destination in mind or plan to wait in line for a parking spot during busy times. Wait times at the entrance station can be over an hour on the very busiest weekends and holidays.
  • Once the parking lot is full, we are only able to allow one car in while another one exits.

New as of 2019 is a shuttle system for transporting guests to the lighthouse following a security check by Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. Access to the first shuttle of the day begins at Gate 8 at 10 a.m. and the last shuttle picks up at 4:15 p.m.

Site Rental & Special Events

Special Events: Rent our grounds for your special occasion. Pricing starts at $100 per hour.


For information on pricing and availability:

Inquire about CAPE HENRY


Key Visitor Info

Location & Arrival

Cape Henry Lighthouse is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. 

Rules & Regulations

Base Access Requirements

NOTE: Visitors with an authorized DoD/Military ID will be allowed to drive directly to Cape Henry Lighthouse.

  • Valid ID card for all visitors 16-years of age and older
  • Driver of vehicle must be able to produce valid vehicle registration and proof of insurance
  • Visitors can access the base as a pedestrian or on bicycle with a valid ID
  • Not allowed on base: Illegal drugs, alcohol, contraband and weapons
  • Possession of contraband will result in denial of access to the base
  • Visitors must be able to pass a background check. Click here for a full list of checks

Authorized Sites to Visit on JEBLCFS

  • Old Cape Henry Lighthouse
  • Cape Henry Memorial National Park Service

Willis Augustus Hodges Story Map

Keeper of the Light: Willis Augustus Hodges. Story Map..“and for myself, I have ever striven to be found upon the side of freedom and justice.” Click here to learn more on our new Story Map

Willis Augustus Hodges (1815-1890) served as the keeper of the Cape Henry Lighthouse for just over two months during the summer of 1870. However, his impact reached far beyond the lighthouse.

The path Hodges took to become Cape Henry’s first African American lighthouse keeper brought him to New York and back to Virginia. He crossed paths with the noted abolitionist John Brown, guided individuals on their escape from slavery through the Underground Railroad, and won multiple elected positions. Through his own writings, Hodges detailed the daily life in the Virginia Beach area for free Black people as well as the acts of resistance that he and many others waged before and after the abolition of slavery.