Cape Henry Lighthouse
Cape Henry Lighthouse:
The first federally funded lighthouse, was built to guide maritime commerce at the mouth of the Chesapeake Bay
Standing near the “First Landing” site where English settlers arrived in 1607
Stood sentinel since it was completed in 1792
Authorized by George Washington and overseen by Alexander Hamilton
Designed by New York architect John McComb
In active use for nearly a century before being replaced by a new cast iron lighthouse still standing nearby
It is one of the oldest surviving lighthouses in the United States
Preservation Virginia acquired the Cape Henry Lighthouse in 1930 when Congress deeded the house and 1.77 acres of land to the organization in order to preserve it and make it accessible to the public. Over the years lighthouse and its surroundings have been restored including repairing the lantern after damage from Hurricane Barbara in 1953, repairing the damaged original Aquia sandstone and restoring the surrounding dunes.
Today, visitors to the Cape Henry Lighthouse can climb to the top of the tower to enjoy spectacular views of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean.
Directions for Visitors coming from the Virginia Beach Ocean Front:
Our Address is 583 Atlantic Ave. Fort Story, VA 23459 (Please note that this zipcode should be entered into your GPS or you may be directed to an incorrect address for the Cape Henry Lighthouse)
Head north on Pacific Ave.
Stay right to merge onto Atlantic Ave.
Continue forward until you reach the Gate Access point on Ft. Story Joint Forces Expeditionary Base
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 lighthouse. If you have questions about closings call 757-422-9421
January 3 - March 15: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
March 16 - October 31: 10:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
November 1 - December 30: 10:00 a.m. - 4:00 p.m.
Please note that tours stop 30 minutes prior to closing.
Closed on Sunday, March 19, 2017 for the Shamrock Marathon, Thanksgiving, Christmas Eve and Day and New Years Eve and Day and January 2nd.
|Preservation Virginia Members:||Free (Become a Member)|
|Adults (13 & over):||$8|
|Military, AAA and Seniors (60+):||$7|
|Students (must be 42 inches tall):||$6|
|Adult Group:||$6 (call for info)|
|Youth Group||$5 (must be 42 inches tall, call for info)|
Friday through Sunday groups of ten or more are charged at a rate of $5.00 per person. Group tours are available at any time by arrangements made no less than one week in advance of the visit.
Special Event Rental:
Dune, Tower and Field Area: $100 per hour including set up and take down time. Max capacity for special events: 10 people in tower, 20 people on top of dune, and 200 people in field. The non-member fee is $75 (Annual individual membership fee is $50). All special events must take place outside of regular operating hours. A $300 deposit is required to secure the event date and will be returned within 60 days after the event.
Cancellation policy: Reservations may be cancelled up to 30 days prior to event date for a full refund of deposit. Any cancellations closer than 30 days prior to the event will result in forfeiture of the $300 deposit.
Museum store on site
Note to Our Visitors: The Cape Henry Lighthouse is located within Fort Story military base. To visit the lighthouse, you must pass through the security gates of Fort Story at 89th Street and Atlantic Avenue. NO FIREARMS OR WEAPONS ARE PERMITTED ON BASE. Please have identification including a picture with you for all visitors aged 16 years or older. This ID should be a student or state or Federal issued ID card. Proof of vehicle insurance and current vehicle registration is also required for admission to Fort Story Military Base. If accessing the Cape Henry Lighthouse by bicycle, you must follow Virginia State Law and wear a helmet at all times. The security personnel have the right to examine your car before issuing a pass to enter the military base and visit the lighthouse. While we apologize for the inconvenience, we respect the military's interest in force protection. The security guards are courteous and efficient, but please allow a few extra minutes for entry into the site. Thank you for your understanding and cooperation.
Visitors from the following states must present a passport if they do not have the updated ID which is compliant with the Real ID ACT:
- New Mexico
- American Samoa
For your safety and comfort, please observe the following rules for climbing the Cape Henry Lighthouse:
- You must be at least 42 inches tall to climb the lighthouse.
- Children may not be carried up the steps.
- Backpacks and frontpacks are not allowed on the staircase.
- We strongly discourage flip-flops