On a recent trip to the Jersey shore, we found ourselves on a lighthouse search. It didn’t start out that way. It started off as a flip the coin adventure. We would flip a coin to tell us which way to drive. After an hour of that, we decided to flip a coin on the shore or the mountains. The shore won. We headed to Cape May, even though the weather was awful. It was freezing, rainy with a snow storm threatening to hit. The good news, it means no one else was at the shore. While driving around Cape May, we stumbled on the lighthouse and the idea to see other lighthouses got in our heads. That is when I learned that Atlantic City had a lighthouse, the Absecon Lighthouse of Atlantic City.
While driving around Atlantic City on a Saturday night, looking for an affordable hotel, not something I would recommend, We drove right by the Atlantic City lighthouse. When we saw it, I was shocked. Of all the times I have gone to Atlantic City, I didn’t even know there was a light house there. Being close to the old Showboat, I have driven by it more times than I could count. I was shocked that I have never noticed it before. While talking with one of the gentlemen who volunteer for the lighthouse, he said he hears that at least one a day from the visitors.
The Absecon lighthouse is the tallest lighthouse in New Jersey, standing 171 feet tall. It is the 3rd oldest lighthouse in the country. It is located at the corner of Pacific and Rhode Island Avenues in Atlantic City. The lighthouse has 228 steps, which the lighthouse volunteer told me is about 15 flights of steps high. The lighthouse is open year round, and has free parking and free admission to the the Keeper’s House museum. To climb the lighthouse, there is a fee of $7 for adults (or get a Deal: Absecon Lighthouse Coupon on Groupon).
The Absecon Lighthouse was decommissioned and the light was extinguished in 1933. Mariners complained that they were having trouble seeing the lighthouse against the tall and bright Atlantic City skyline, so a new light was mounted on top of a steel tower down the beach and the Absecon lighthouse was no longer used. After years of being sold and transferred, the lighthouse was placed on the historic places registry.
If you are looking for something to do in Atlantic City, I would add visiting the Absecon Lighthouse to the list, even if climbing to the top does not sound appealing to you.