St. Augustine Lighthouse
Built in 1874, The St. Augustine Lighthouse is the most recent iteration of the original lighthouse commissioned by the state of Florida in 1824, and continues a tradition of lighthouses and watchtowers in the area that dates to Spanish occupation in the 1500s. The property is maintained by a non-profit organization and includes a small museum, the separate keepers’ quarters, and the grounds. For those interested in maritime history, a number of interesting artifacts, displays, and reconstructions are included that provide information on the history of the lighthouse and the port. The lighthouse also offers a variety of tours and educational programs. The most popular activity however is climbing the 219 steps to the top where a 360 degree view can be had.
The keepers house was also partially open for viewing. Because neither photographs of the interior nor any of the original furniture remain, the parlor and living areas are decorated in a typical Victorian style but the basement areas include additional exhibits and interestingly, the cisterns used to store drinking and bathing water. Before leaving, I also wandered around the gardens and ventured down a short path around the property that led into a small, dense forested area.