Cape Henry Lighthouse
Please read the information below to learn all necessary guidelines about visiting this unique site, which is located on an active military base.
*All climbers must be at least 42″ tall. Adults are not permitted to carry children.
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.VISITOR INFO
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 Members||Free (Become a member)|
|Combination Ticket (includes tower climb)||$14|
|AAA, Senior (60+), Military Discount||$9|
|Caregiver for any person with a disability protected under the ADA||Free|
|Tower Climb (limited availability)||General Admission Pricing|
Guests must be 42″ or taller to climb the Cape Henry Lighthouse.
Donate to Cape Henry Lighthouse
Location & Arrival
Cape Henry Lighthouse is open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.
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, as well as 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.
The general public (without government I.Ds) must ride a shuttle from the base gate to the lighthouse. The military has a station set up to record visitor information and explain base policies before boarding the shuttle. Shuttles run every 15 minutes, with the last one leaving at 4 p.m. People 16 and over must have valid ID.
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
- ADA service animals ONLY, but it is not physically possible for them to climb the final ladder to the top of the lighthouse
- 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.