The view from New Jersey’s tallest lighthouse is just what you’d expect: breathtaking. It’s perhaps the only fitting reward for climbing the 228 stairs it will take you to get to the top.
The Absecon Lighthouse was the brainchild of Dr. Jonathan Pitney, who many refer to as “the father of Atlantic City.” Pitney first proposed the lighthouse in 1830; the government was late in responding to the request and concluded more than a decade later that a lighthouse was unnecessary. Pitney wrote letters and gathered petition signatures for several years before the lighthouse was finally approved and completed in 1857.
The 171-foot lighthouse (the third-tallest in the U.S.) shone with a kerosene flame through a French-made first-order Fresnel lens, though the kerosene light was eventually replaced with an electric one.
In 1997, restoration work began on the historic lighthouse’s structure and grounds. In the final stages of the restoration, the keeper’s house burned down in an unfortunate fire, though it caused no damage to the lighthouse itself, which reopened in 1999 after a full restoration. In 2001, the reconstructed keeper’s house opened to the public as well.
Today the lighthouse is a landmark tourism attraction, drawing visitors from around New Jersey and the country.
Activities and Events
Located near downtown Atlantic City just a few blocks from the world-famous Boardwalk and its casino hotels, the Absecon Lighthouse is a wonderful attraction that’s hard to miss. More than 150 years after its completion, the Absecon Lighthouse still bustles with activity – the historic lighthouse’s manicured grounds make a great picnic spot and monthly events, such as a murder mysteries, nighttime climbs, haunted lighthouse tours and a holiday gatherings make this a fun spot to visit for kids and adults alike.
This storied structure and grounds are also open for group events ranging from field trips and overnight stays for kids to birthday parties and charming weddings (a variety of packages are available).
If you’d just like to climb the 228 steps to the top of Absecon Lighthouse for a little perspective, see the operating hours and admission prices below.
September - June
Thursdays through Mondays, 11am to 4pm
Closed Tuesday & Wednesday
July & August
Open daily 10am to 5pm
Closed on major holidays
Adults - $7
Seniors (65+) - $5
Children (4-12) - $4
Atlantic City Residents - $3
Children under 4 - Free
Active Military - Free