Lighthouse Festivals & Events

National Lighthouse Day

August 7 each year is officially designated as National Lighthouse Day. The celebration provides recognition for the important role which lighthouses played in the history of our country, and the values of safety, heroism, and American ingenuity which they represent. It is a day for communities and citizens groups around the country to rededicate themselves to the protection and restoration of these historic structures.

Learn more about National Lighthouse Day


Lighthouse challenges

Lighthouses, museums, and life saving stations host a variety of Lighthouse Challenges where the public is invited (and challenged) to visit all participating lighthouses over the weekend and help raise funds for continued lighthouse preservation.  

Midcoast Maine Lighthouse Challenge

Dates TBD. The Midcoast Maine Lighthouse Challenge is sponsored by the American Lighthouse Foundation (ALF) and its chapter, Friends of Rockland Harbor Lights.

Lake Ontario Central New York Lighthouse Challenge

Dates TBD. The challenge is to visit eight unique New York lighthouses within three days. The official Challenge route runs east from Rock Island Light to the West to a new site, 30 Mile Point outside of Rochester, N.Y.  Participants will collect a lighthouse stamp or token at each lighthouse they visit. Special arrangements have been made to include bonus sites not usually open to the public. The lighthouses are located along the southern end of Lake Ontario and following along the Seaway Trail, a National Scenic Byway.  For more information about the Lake Ontario CNY Lighthouse Challenge, visit the H. Lee White Maritime Museum website at:  http://www.hlwmm.org/events.php?id=18  

MARYLAND LIGHTHOUSE CHALLENGE

September 16-17, 2017.  Complimentary souvenirs will be given at each Challenge location. You are welcome to visit any number of lighthouses along the Challenge route, but you will have to visit all mandatory stops to be able to proclaim “I’ve seen the lights!” and collect a specially designed souvenir to mark your accomplishment.  

LIGHTHOUSE CHALLENGE OF NEW JERSEY

October 21-22, 2017.  The New Jersey Lighthouses and select museums host The Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey weekend.  Visitors can enjoy an opportunity to tour the state and visit each lighthouse over the weekend, and help raise needed funds for the continued preservation of these treasured landmarks.  Visit up to 11 land based lighthouses, one museum and two life saving stations - rain or shine.  Participants pay a $2 registration fee at their first stop and receive a special passport book.  The challenge is to visit each site and get the book stamped.  Everyone who completes the challenge will be entered into a drawing for $1,000 in prizes.

Upcoming Lighthouse festivals & EVENTS

Listed below are lighthouse festivals, events, and meetings (in chronological order). 

If you have a lighthouse event that you would like included in this listing, please email the details, link, and an image perhaps, to <candace@uslhs.org>.

OLD BALDY FOUNDATION CELEBRATES 200TH ANNIVERSARY OF BALD HEAD LIGHTHOUSE, NC

2017 - Various dates. The Old Baldy Foundation (OBF) has planned an extensive 2017 calendar of events on Bald Head Island marking the 200th Birthday of the Old Baldy Lighthouse. Events are designed to celebrate the 200 years of rich Maritime History of North Carolina and the Cape Fear Region.  Not only will the events focus on North Carolina's state history but they will also celebrate food, spirits, agriculture, literature, art, music and crafts. 

Heceta Head Lighthouse B&B Hosts the 1st Annual Heceta Head Lightstation Birthday Party, OR

March 30, 2017. Help us celebrate 123 years of Heceta Head Lightstation! Birthday Party sponsors, Travel Lane County, will be providing warm drinks and cupcakes.  Taylor Sausages will be serving hot dogs, and Destination Events has donated a popcorn machine! Local musicians Marty Adams, Sea Strings, and High Tide will perform at the historic Keeper's House. State Park and USFS interpretive docents will be giving tours of the lighthouse and light keeper's house, and informative talks about this gorgeous coastline. Bring your camera to have your photo taken on the front porch with the lighthouse in the background to commemorate this fun community supported family event. The Gift Shop will also be open and newly stocked with amazing souvenirs and informative books and videos. Bring your lighthouse passports to be stamped!

Entry to the Keeper's House is free but donations are gladly accepted.  Parking is available at the Heceta Head Lighthouse State Scenic View Point, just below the Keeper's House, and NW Adventures Quest will shuttle visitors from the park right to the front door.  Or enjoy the beautiful spring walk up from the beach to the festivities. Parking at the viewpoint is $5.00 per vehicle. You can support the Restoration of the Lightstation and the Birthday Party events by entering the raffle. Win a free night's stay at the Bed & Breakfast as well as great prizes from local artists and businesses.

SEE THE LIGHT: the Preservation of Midcoast Maine Lighthouses, ME

May 27-Oct. 22, 2017. The new millennium has seen the U.S. Coast Guard handing over stewardship of the nation’s lighthouses to the public and private sectors. With the participation of at least a dozen Midcoast Maine lighthouse organizations, See the Light, on view in the Marjorie W. Kramer Gallery, will survey the challenges and success stories of preserving these iconic maritime structures. Maine Maritime Museum, Bath, Maine.

DOOR COUNTY ANNUAL LIGHTHOUSE FESTIVAL, MI

June 9-11, 2017. This festival gives visitors access to lighthouse that aren't typically open to the public, including Chambers Island, Plum Island, Sherwood Point, and Sturgeon Bay Ship Canal Lighthouses.

HEREFORD INLET LIGHTHOUSE MARITIME FESTIVAL, NJ

June 17 &18, 2017. Festival on the grounds of the historic Hereford Inlet Lighthouse and along Central Avenue fronting the lighthouse in North Wildwood. The outdoor festival is a celebration of New Jersey's rich maritime history. Historians and authors will join dozens of artists and crafters for a weekend long feast for the eyes and mind!  

INTERNATIONAL LIGHTHOUSE/LIGHTSHIP WEEKEND

August 19 - 20, 2017. This annual amateur radio event was founded in 1995 in Scotland by John Forsyth, GM4OOU, and the late Mike Dalrymple (GM4SUC), both members of Ayr Amateur Radio Group (AARG).  Through the years the event has grown probably far beyond what John and Mike envisaged for it all those years ago. The fact that some 85 countries have been represented in this event since inception clearly shows that it is well on its way to becoming a premier event on the ham radio calendar.  

Michigan Lighthouse Festival, MI

August 25 - 27, 2017. This year's festival will take place in Ludington, Michigan. Among the lighthouses featured will be those of the Sable Points Lighthouse Keepers Association. Big Point Sable Lighthouse will be celebrating its 150th Birthday!

APOSTLE ISLANDS LIGHTHOUSE CELEBRATION, WI

August 29 - September 16, 2017.  Highlights are cruises to many of the lighthouses of the Apostle Island.  Features landing, tours and hikes on several of the island.  Complete cruise schedule is available at the website. 

MUKILTEO LIGHtHOUSE FESTIVAL,WA

September 8, 9 & 10, 2017. This annual three-day festival takes place at Lighthouse Park in Mukilteo, WA. In addition to tours and visits through our working lighthouse built in 1906, the festival features live music, the Mukilteo Marketplace filled with 50+ artists, the Avenue of Food, a large Children’s Area with non-stop activities, a beer garden and two dinners on the lawn at the lighthouse, complete with a spectacular fireworks show both nights. Friday night we host a Military and First Responders appreciation dinner (all military and first responders welcome, please email exec.director@mukfest.com for an invitation) and Saturday night we host a VIP dinner for our sponsors. 

Edmund Fitzgerald Memorial Beacon Lighting, Split Rock Light Station, MN

November 10, 2017. This annual event, from 11:00 am to 6:00 pm, commemorates the sinking of the freighter Edmund Fitzgerald and the loss of her 29 crew members on November 10, 1975. It is also a time to reflect on the memory of all lives lost in Great Lakes shipwrecks. The lighthouse, fog signal building and visitor center will be open. Costumed guides will greet visitors and provide historic site and shipwreck information. Throughout the afternoon, visitors can view a film about the Edmund Fitzgerald in the visitor center.

At 4:30 pm, the lighthouse will close temporarily while the names of the crew members are read to the tolling of a ship's bell and the Naval Hymn is played. Following the ceremony, the beacon will be lit, and the tower will be open again to tour. This is the only opportunity each year when visitors can climb the tower after dark and see the lit beacon.

LITTLE RIVER LIGHTHOUSE OPEN HOUSE, ME

Dates TBD.  The Friends of Little River Lighthouse offers special Open Houses, in addition to the site’s overnight stay program during the summer season, so that the general public can have the opportunity to visit and enjoy the island light station. Boat transportation to the island from Cutler Harbor is provided. Upon arrival at the island you will take a beautiful, half-mile walk across a tree-lined, wooden plank walkway to the lighthouse overlooking the Atlantic Ocean.  There is no fee for the open houses, but donations are greatly appreciated!  

Maine Open Lighthouse Day

Dates TBD. This popular event, which is sponsored by the United States Coast Guard, the Maine Office of Tourism and the American Lighthouse Foundation, attracts between 15,000 to 18,000 visitors each year and offers the general public the rare opportunity to climb and learn about over two dozen historic Maine lights.  For more information and a complete list of open lighthouses click HERE.

MICHIGAN LIGHTHOUSE FESTIVALS

In addition to the Great Lakes Lighthouse Festival Michigan has an array of festivals that celebrate its deep maritime heritage.  Michigan’s port cities roll out the red carpet and provide you with a fun filled collection of memorable experiences with a nautical flare.