2081 Radford Blvd, Pensacola, FL, USA
www.pensacolalighthouse.org - (850) 393-1561
Pensacola Lighthouse Reviews
A beacon of hope... May 16, 2013
The Pensacola Lighthouse is a good deal. A really beautiful structure, with black markings recalling the majestic beacons of the Outer Banks. Admission struck me as a tad salty at $6 (accompanied by a plea for another $1 donation, which of course, I agreed to), but a good deal in retrospect.
They have done an admirable job of restoring and preserving the lighthouse, in addition to amassing a notable collection of period artifacts. The grounds are lovely and well maintained, the lighthouse itself one of the most splendid specimens I’ve ever climbed. The spiral stairwell is uncharacteristically roomy, braced by sturdy steel steps which make for an easy ascent. Like all other lighthouses, the stairwell gradually tapered, but it wasn’t until squeezing through the final trapdoor to the catwalk that I needed to remove my backpack.
Your first encounter at the top is getting up close and personal with the light’s Fresnel lens. I relished this because in the museum down below I had just learned the correct way to pronounce the term (fruh-NEL). So many lighthouses over the years and I never knew the correct pronunciation!
It was refreshing up top. Splendid views in sunny weather were highlighted by a deliciously cool breeze. I never realized how white the sand beaches were in this neck of the woods before scanning miles of them from this lofty perch. A park attendant was standing watch on the catwalk and she helped me identify interesting spots during the twenty minutes I savored the views. I also enjoyed watching people pop out onto the catwalk – it is a really tall tower and virtually everyone instantly recoiled, instinctively backing up to the wall, away from the railing.
Retracing my steps, I toured the keeper’s house which possessed quite a few nooks and crannies. I had already surveyed several of the rooms on my way to the lighthouse stairwell, but was surprised to discover plenty more upon my return. Ventured upstairs to the teeny room where the keeper and family lived, enjoying how well everything was decorated and documented.
Then I noticed a sign proclaiming “more exhibits and video down below”, so it was off to the basement. This was mildly disappointing. Just a pair of rooms populated with tacky artwork and relics similar to displays upstairs. The video was in a small adjoining room where a pair of benches were parked in front of a TV hooked up to a VCR. An endless loop was playing of a dopey episode of “Ghost Hunters” (or some other silly name, I’m really not sure). Naturally the segment documented several intrepid supernatural stalkers spending the night in the Pensacola lighthouse. I tuned in for a minute, got disgusted (every random noise seemed to be conclusive evidence of spirits), and exited.
There are several points of interest on the lighthouse grounds, so don’t stop exploring once you get back outside. The gift shop also seemed nice, though I didn’t spend any time there.
Part of the Hanging Out travel blog
2 / 2 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Pensacola Light 1858 Mar 04, 2011
I saw a brochure for The Lighthouse Point Restaurant, and asked the Visitor's Center on the island east of Fort Walton Beach and was told that it was just a replica. But, that was wrong.
This was the first lighthouse on the Florida Gulf Coast. It is on a site one half mile west of the original lighthouse and stands as the back of the range which marks the only entrance into Pensacola harbor. The lighthouse is on the Naval Air Station just past the big Air Museum. Getting onto the base requires showing an ID but isn't difficult.
During the Civil War the Fresnel lens which was made in Paris by Henri LaPaite was taken out of the tower for safekeeping. It has been reinstalled in the lighthouse which is still a working aid to navigation. The lightkeeper's house was built in 1869 and the light was electrified in 1939 and automated in 1965. The light can be seen for 27 miles..
Weather permitting, tours are given on Sundays from May to September between 12 and 3:30 pm. We visited in December, so of course we couldn't go on a tour. Visitors must climb 177 steps and I wouldn't have wanted to do that anyway. Children under 6 years of age are not permitted in the tower.
According to the Friends of Pensacola Light: From Highway 90 in Pensacola, turn south on Highway 295 (New Warrington Road and Navy Boulevard), and follow it for three miles. SR 295 leads to the main gate of the Pensacola Naval Air Station, but visitors must now use a different entrance.
This was incorrect in December 2005. We went to the Naval Air Museum, and the lighthouse is just past that. There are two sides to the entrance into NAS Pensacola - one side for those with base stickers, and one side for visitors.
Part of the Cemeteries, Grandchildren and Lighthouses 2011 travel blog
Part of the list Lighthouses of the USA