The Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse is located on the northern side of the Hillsboro Inlet. The lighthouse is maintained and preserved by The Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society, a nonprofit organization whose aim is to maintain the lighthouse and keep it safe and enjoyable for the public.
In 1852 the United States Lighthouse Boars was established with 9 original members. After approval for an inspection of the eastern seaboard, specifically existing lighthouses; a recommendation is made to install a lighthouse near the Hillsboro Inlet. This recommendation coming after the Army Corps of Engineers designated the Hillsboro Inlet as hazardous to safe fort the navigation of vessels.
The lighthouse was authorized for construction in 1901, with final approval coming from the United States Lighthouse Board. After a whopping 17 rejections, the official approval came on February 12,1901. Russell Wheel and Foundry Co. of Detroit, Michigan began building of the lighthouse in 1905, and by 1907 the 147 feet, at its highest point structure was installed as the inlet. The lighthouse was kept off from 1941-1945 due to World War II. From January-May of 2012, the lighthouse was repainted, just in time for its 105 year of service celebration. The lighthouse has become known as “The Big Diamond”, stemming from the shape of the glass on the outside of the lantern room.
The Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society offers an annual membership which includes a subscription to their newsletter, first notice of events relating to the lighthouse, and free admission to all tours, programs and lectures.
Tours are available on select dates during the year through the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society. On selected tour days, visitors can enjoy a boat ride from Sands Dock to the Lighthouse site. Sailing times vary throughout the designated days, with some starting as early as 9:00 am, to others leaving as late as 3:00 pm, dependent on weather conditions. The boat ride is approximately 30 minutes each way, giving a rider approximately a 60-minute boat ride total.
If willing and able, tour goers also can climb to the top of the lighthouse. A physically challenging 175 step winding staircase, and a 130-foot vertical climb is in store for the trip up. There is also minimum 8 years old age requirement to be able to climb the lighthouse. Climbers who make their way to the top will be able to stand outside of the main light room and take in panoramic ocean views on the lower observation deck. Neither the Fresnel lens itself, or the machinery which turns the lens, are accessible to the public, as it is still a fully functioning and operating lighthouse. Still, visitors will get an amazing view sitting atop of the 136-foot structure, surrounded by water on 3 sides and by the Hillsboro Club on the other.
There is also a museum on site, ran by the Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society. It has various operating hours, and it also offers private tours. The museum contains historical photographs and artifacts relating to the Hillsboro Inlet Lighthouse.
The Hillsboro Lighthouse Preservation Society hosts a fundraising gala. These galas are held once a year to celebrate another operating year of the lighthouse. During the gala, attendees have opportunities to silently bid on items such as a stay at the lighthouse keepers cottage, and a Goodyear Blimp ride. Guests will also have an opportunity to visit the lower observation deck of the lighthouse. The gala is a formal event, and the organizers encourage black and white colors, in honor of the colors of the lighthouse itself. Funds raised from this even are used for the restoration and maintenance of the lighthouse. On rare occasion, the Fresnel lens room will be open to gala attendees.
The lighthouse gift shop has various items to purchase commemorating a visit. Ranging from t-shirts, branded poker chips, to bookmarks with the lighthouse pictured on it, there is a wide variety of mementos available.
There is also an opportunity to purchase a Vitralase engraved brick that will be placed in the “Centennial brick patio” This gives a visitor a chance to have their name or personalized note engraved on a brick, which will be used throughout the growing and expanding patio located outside the light station. The bricks are engraved by laser to ensure durability and strength of the engravings.
The gift shop also has mini brick replicas. These come in 1 1/4”x 3 x 5/8” and 3” x 3’ “5/8 sizes.
907 Hillsboro Mile, Hillsboro Beach, FL 33062, Phone: 954-942-2102