The Race Point Lighthouse, located in historic Provincetown, Massachusetts, is one of the most visited and scenic destinations in the area. Full of photo ops as well as fascinating history, visiting the lighthouse is necessary for anyone in the area. First built in November of 1816 after locals expressed concerned about the dangerous shores and bars around Race Point (near Cape Cod), the original lighthouse stood 25 feet above the sea level and was actually one of first lights that that revolved.
The Keeper’s house was built in 1840, and a second Keeper’s house was built in 1876. To this day, the lighthouse remains not only a historic building but also a working aid for navigation and is maintained thanks to the United States Coast Guard. The surrounding grounds and structures are the responsibility of the American Lighthouse Foundation with the help of donations.
The main attraction at Race Point is the lighthouse itself. Public tours are scheduled regularly and updated on the website. The open season for tours runs from June through October and are done on both the first and the third Saturday of the month. Visitors should be aware that there is no direct parking at the lighthouse. It is accessible either by walking or by driving a four-wheeler (there are no rentals, so visitors must provide their own - be aware that they must also hold the correct permit). Tours are run starting at 10 am and ending at 2 pm and are free, however donations are very much appreciated. Make sure to come prepared for walking (wear appropriate footwear - no flip flops will be permitted) and bring a camera as there are many photo opportunities during this scenic and historical tour!
Visitors should also be aware that tours will be suspended at any point if any the birds that are federally protected have nested and are blocking access to the lighthouse. After the chicks have hatched and fledge, tours will resume. Check the website or call ahead for up to date information.
Only 5 people will be allowed inside the lamp room at a time due to safety regulations. Guests should also make sure to be aware of the trap door and use caution. No one will be allowed onto the catwalk (gallery). All children must be supervised by an adult or guardian (who must be 18 years of age or older) at all times on the tour for safety, and children under the age of 4 are not allowed to climb from the watch room into the lamp room by ladder and will have to remain below (supervised). No pets or animals will be allowed as well.
Also included on the tour (as well as being open for accommodations for guests who want to stay the night) are the Keeper’s House (built in 1840, this is where lighthouse keepers have stayed) and the Whistle House and the Oil House. Guests should also make sure to check out the beautiful Race Point beach either before or after the tour.
Mariner’s Day is one of the most special events held at Race Point. Held in May, this tour will include the whole light station at no charge, and light refreshments will be available for guests to snack on while visiting. In addition to the regular tour, there will also be the ability to view both the wind and solar electricity generating systems. Guests can also view the thermal system that is solar powered, which provides both central heat and hot water by the sun! This event runs from 9 am to 2 pm and is held rain or shine. Guests who park at the Race Point beach parking will be provided free transportation to the lighthouse.
Weddings are also permitted at Race Point. This beautiful and scenic setting has been the destination for weddings for many years now! There is a document on the website with all of the important information to consider, including number of guests permitted, rates, times, restrictions, and additional information about the location.
Race Point operates a small gift shop on the premises, with proceeds going directly back into the preservation and care of this historic lighthouse. Featuring a small selection of apparel (hats, t-shirts) as well as other gifts and souvenirs (like stationery, books, maps, and magnets), it is the perfect place to pick up a small reminder of a visit to the lighthouse.
Race Point Lighthouse, Race Point Beach, Provincetown, MA, 02657, Phone: 855-722-3959
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