St. George Island Lighthouse has alerted passing ships of Little St. George Island’s location for more than 180 years. Today, the lighthouse also caters to serves as a day trip destination for those who want to explore the barrier islands that separate Apalachicola Bay from the rest of the Gulf of Mexico.
The St. George Island Lighthouse has a historic legacy, but the current version of the lighthouse isn’t the original. It’s a replica of the third version of the lighthouse, which was built in 1852. The third build fell into the Gulf in 2005 after decades of storms and sea waves ravaging it. The third build was constructed after the original 1833 lighthouse and second 1848 lighthouse were both destroyed in storms.
The grounds also have a replica of the original keeper’s house, which has a museum and gift shop inside. The grounds are also accessible for walking around. The museum is particularly enlightening for those who want to know what life was light for a lighthouse keeper on the island.
The keeper’s house and museum can be explored for no charge. Climbing the lighthouse itself costs $5 per adult and $3 for children ages 7 to 12. Children ages 6 and under are free.
Additionally, climbing the lighthouse requires a certain level of physical ability because the tower was not originally constructed as an ADA-compliant building. The climb to the top of the lighthouse involves 92 wooden stairs, an eight-rung ladder and a 24-inch by 21-inch scuttle hole.
After making this ascension, visitors are well-rewarded of the island and surrounding waters. It’s possible to see miles — including to the mainland — on good visibility days. The bridge to Little St. George Island itself is quite a marvel from this vantage point, and you never know what ships might be visible looking out the other side of the lighthouse.
With history and great views, the St. George Island Lighthouse has wide appeal. Spend some time exploring the grounds and take a climb up the lighthouse itself. There aren’t many better ways to see the surrounding shore and Gulf, and you may even learn something while visiting.
A few of our favorite highlights at St. George Island Lighthouse include:
Not all lighthouses let you actually ascend into the room atop their tower, making this an extra special experience. The climb isn’t too strenuous, and the landscapes and seascapes you can see are well worth the effort that is required.
Full Moon Climb
A special monthly event, the Full Moon Climb takes place as the sun sets and moon rises in the sky. Watch the hues change westward over the Gulf as the evening progresses, and watch the lights onshore (and perhaps a few at sea) turn on once dusk sets in. By the end of the evening, the full moon will be visible and providing a surprising amount of light on the land and water below.
Keeper’s House Museum
For a historic perspective on what actually running the lighthouse was like, spend some time perusing the Keeper’s House Museum. From a detailed history of the lighthouse to artifacts from the previous lighthouses, this little museum does a good job relaying the lift of a lighthouse keeper.
– If you plan on spending the day on St. George Island, the lighthouse serves as an excellent home-base for the day. The lighthouse is easy to see, so everyone can find it if you’re connecting with people coming in different cars. There also are public parking lots, public restrooms and plenty of sandy beach nearby, so you’ll have all of the essentials for a fun day.