"Ultimate" Lighthouse Tour

Sunset

For true lighthouse aficionados!

On this 7-hour tour, you'll view about 20 active and inactive lighthouse sites in Narragansett Bay.

Starting in Providence, we will motor down the West Passage to Newport and return home via the East Passage. A lunch stop at Rose Island will include a tour of the Rose Island Lighthouse and the grounds.

 

2018 "Ultimate Lighthouse" Tour Dates

  • Check back spring 2018

Ultimate Lighthouse Tour Prices (includes lunch)

    • $90 for Save The Bay members
    • $100 for non-members

Gift Certificates

”Ultimate” Lighthouse Site List

Beavertail Light

Wenley Ferguson
Beavertail Light

Beavertail Lighthouse was established in 1749 at Beavertail Point, located at the southern tip of Conanicut Island. The light was the granddaddy of all Rhode Island lighthouses and only the third one—after Boston Harbor and Nantucket’s Brant Point—in the American colonies.

Bristol Ferry Light

Located just under the Mt. Hope Bridge, on the mainland of Bristol, this privately owned brick lighthouse was established in 1855 and discontinued in 1927 as its proximity to the bridge made it obsolete as a navigational aide.

Castle Hill Light

Castle Hill Light is a granite structure established in 1890 and was automated in 1957. Located at the westernmost point of Newport and at the entrance to East Passage of Narraganset Bay, it is reachable by strolling the grounds of the Castle Hill Inn and Resort.

Conanicut Light

Located at the northern tip of Conanicut Island, this light was established in 1886. It is a wood-framed Gothic Revival. Its best views are by boat. The lighthouse appears in scenes from the 2012 movie Moonrise Kingdom.

Conimicut Light

Wenley Ferguson
Conimicut Light

Established in 1868, this light can be spotted from both Conimicut Point in Warwick and Nayatt Point in Barrington. Early lighthouse keepers had a treacherous one-mile crossing from the Nyatt Point Light to tend the Conimicut Light. The granite design was torn down in 1882. A “spark-plug” style with cast iron plates replaced the original. It was the last station in RI to be electrified in 1960. Soon after automation in 1963, the structure was boarded up for many years. Periodical maintenance was done over the years, but by 2005 the Conimicut Lighthouse was transferred to the City of Warwick and the Conimicut Lighthouse Foundation was formed. A major grant from the Department of Transportation helped restore it. .

Dutch Island Light

Wenley Ferguson
Dutch Island Light

Sitting on a former Civil War military base called Ft. Greble, the present light built in 1857 was abandoned and vandalized after it was discontinued in 1979. Replaced by a buoy, the Dutch Island Lighthouse Society refurbished the light through fund raising. Relit in 2007, it is continuously powered by a solar powered battery.

Gull Rocks

At the entrance to Newport Harbor, the Gull Rocks Light was originally a wooden A-Framed design. The signals were two lanterns placed on rails that glided by windows on the East and West peaks of the building. Established in 1887, it no longer exists. It was replaced by a skeleton tower in 1928, and then demolished in 1970 for construction of the Newport Bridge.

Hog Island Shoal Light

The Spark-plug or coffee pot “towers” design of this lighthouse served as the standard from the 1870’s – 1900’s. Modeled after the Plum Beach Lighthouse, it is a cast iron caisson filled with concrete. It replaced a lightship and was completed by 1901 and automated in 1964. With the establishment of the NHLPA in 2000, (National Historic Lighthouse Preservation Act) the light was sold to private owners in 2006.

Lime Rock

Wenley Ferguson
Lime Rock Light

Established in 1854, discontinued in 1927 and then relight for Private Aide, Lime Rock Light is now called the Ida Lewis Yacht Club. Idawalley Zaradia Lewis was one of America’s most famous lighthouse keepers. It had been recorded that she single handedly saved 18 lives, but that number could have been as high as 35. Ida was very modest and did not keep records of her lifesaving accomplishments.

Nayatt Point

As commerce grew on the Providence River in the early 1800’s, establishment of a light at Nyatt Point Shoals helped guide transports in and out of the narrow river shoals towards the Narragansett Bay. The original light was established in 1828. The present light was built in 1856. Discontinued in 1868, the Conimicut Light protected the entrance to the river further south, but keepers continued to live at Nayatt Point and row 1 mile to tend the Conimicut Light.

Newport Harbor (Goat Island) Light

Wenley Ferguson
Newport Harbor Light

In 1824, a light at the entrance to Newport Harbor at Goat Island was established. As ships continued to run aground, the present light was constructed further out on a breakwater. The original structure was later moved to Prudence Island in 1852. Years passed and Goat Island’s usage alternated from a fort, torpedo station, barracks, condos and now the Hyatt Regency Hotel. Automated in 1963, it continues to be an aide in navigation and is managed by the American Lighthouse Foundation.

Plum Beach Light

Wenley Ferguson
Plum Beach Light

Situated in the West Passage of Narragansett Bay, the Plum Beach Lighthouse has survived despite many obstacles. Another example of “Spark Plug” Design, it was established in 1899. Nearly succumbing numerous times over the years; during its building by a loose construction barge, a tidal wave in one of Rhode Island’s worst hurricanes, a legal battle over ownership and finally exposure to years of guano and the elements, Plum Beach Light was saved by the Friends of Plum Beach Lighthouse. Decommissioned in 1941, the light proudly stands just near the Jamestown Verrazano Bridge. Earlier in the 20th century, popularity of swimming across the bay to the lighthouse encouraged the Keepers to sponsor an annual swim not unlike our own Save The Bay annual swim from Newport to Jamestown.

Pomham Rocks Light

Wenley Ferguson
Pomham Rocks Light

Pomham Rocks Light was named after a Narragansett Tribal Sachem who was killed in King Phillip’s War in 1676. Established in 1870, it was constructed on a tiny islet 800 feet from the shoreline of Riverside, on the eastern side of the Providence River. Built on a granite foundation, the wooden structure includes a mansard roof and a hexagonal shaped light tower. This light can best be viewed from the East Bay Bike Path. Discontinued in 1974, the property was sold to what is now ExxonMobil. Its intention was “to preserve the continuity of the waterfront area.” ExxonMobil eventually leased the lighthouse to the American Lighthouse Foundation for free. In 2005, the Friends of Pomham Lighthouse was established and ExxonMobil gifted $25,000 to the lighthouse foundation towards the restoration of the structure. Pomham Rocks Light can be easily seen from the Save The Bay Center at Fields Point in Providence.

Poplar Point Light

Poplar Point Light was established in 1831 to light the entrance of Wickford Harbor, an active port for 19th century trade. Poplar Point Light lived out its usefulness in 1882, when a better location for a beacon was moved 200 yards offshore to assist ferries and schooners. Its design was an octagonal wooden lighthouse tower, topped by a deck and covered in copper. It also included an octagonal iron lantern. It remains Rhode Island’s oldest, unaltered lighthouse in its original location. The tower is the “oldest freestanding wooden” lighthouse in the nation. Privately owned since 1894, a good view is captured from a breakwater across Wickford Harbor at Sauga Point.

Prudence Island Light

This granite structure, with a “Birdcage Lantern” that serves Prudence Island, was originally located off the northern tip of Goat island in Newport Harbor in 1823. It was moved to Prudence Island’s Sandy Point in 1852. It is a one-mile walk from the Bristol/Prudence Island ferry landing. Prudence Light is the oldest lighthouse in Rhode Island. After its automation in 1972, both Coast Guard and island residents performed upkeep of the light. The Prudence Island Conservancy has maintained the light since 1987 and the U.S. Coast Guard granted the lighthouse’s license to the Conservancy in 2001.

Rose Island Light

Wenley Ferguson
Rose Island Light

Rose Island was purposed for the military as Fort Hamilton in 1798. Though never utilized, it was used for weapons storage through 20th century. Established in 1870, the Rose Island Lighthouse sits south of the base of the Newport Pell Bridge in Newport Harbor. The design is very similar to the Pomham Rocks Light; a wooden structure with mansard roof and a hexagonal shaped light tower. The Newport Bridge was completed in 1969 and the lighthouse was decommissioned in 1971. Vandalism was rampant on the island afterwards. By 1985, the Rose Island Foundation took possession and restored it to its 1915 splendor. It was opened to the public in 1992 and relit as a private aid to navigation a year later. Accessible by boat, Rose Island Lighthouse has accommodations to stay overnight or longer if you choose to be a lighthouse keeper.

Sabin Point Light

A narrow sharp bend in the shipping channel of the Providence River necessitated the construction of the Sabin Point Light as a navigational aide. Built with the same design as the Pomham Rocks and Rose Island lights, it was a wooden structure with mansard roof and a hexagonal shaped light tower referred to as “Second Empire Styling”. During the hurricane of ’38, the keeper and his wife were each swept away and survived under different circumstances, but Mrs. Whitford was able to keep the light tended throughout the night. Located offshore from Riverside, RI, Sabin Point Light was established in 1872 and automated in 1956, and was deactivated in 1968. The East Providence Firefighters lit and burned the structure on July 4th 1968 after plans were made to dredge and widen the narrow channel.

Warwick Light

A narrow channel between Warwick Neck and Patience Island in the West Passage of Narragansett Bay created the need for a beacon. (During colonial times, it was thought a privately operated light existed.) The original lighthouse was established on Warwick Neck in 1826. Its design was a bit unusual, in that the base was squared, but the top had octagonal cuts. Due to its exposure to wind and sea, the land was eroding which caused the old light to be demolished and a new Cast Iron Tower, the last of its kind in New England was erected in 1932. Erosion continued to be its worst enemy and after the ’38 Hurricane the tower was rolled back another 50 feet. In 1963, the last civilian keeper retired but was overseen by the US Coast Guard. Still used for Coast Guard housing, it is not accessible to the public and is best seen by boat. It was automated in 1985.

Wickford Harbor Light

Wickford Harbor Light was established on Old Gay Rock in 1882 to replace the Poplar Point Light 200 yards nearer to the shoreline. A Gothic Revival House and Square Tower design were replicated again for the Conanicut Island Light a few years later. After the retirement of its last keeper in 1930, the lighthouse was destroyed. It was replaced with a small automatic tower and a skeleton tower now stands on a pile of rocks. As a footnote, in 1939 the Lighthouse Service was taken over by the Coast Guard which was the case for many other Rhode Island Lights and lighthouse across the nation.

What to expect on a lighthouse tour

You’ll discover the lighthouses that played an important role in the history of the Bay and those that are actively assisting in marine navigation. All tours offer participants a view of historic lighthouses against a backdrop of wild and beautiful seasonal colors!

Expert narration

plum beach lighthouse save the bay

Save The Bay educators provide expert narration on all Lighthouse Tours.

Proceeds of lighthouse tours are used to support the restoration and preservation of Pomham Rocks Lighthouse and Rose Island Lighthouse.

Departure location and parking

Save The Bay
100 Save The Bay Drive
Providence, RI 02905 (map/directions).
Plenty of free parking is available.
 

What to bring

Come prepared for a few hours on the water -- hats, sunscreen, light outerwear for the afternoon sea breeze, and snacks. Non-alcoholic beverages, water, and binoculars are provided. Bring your camera!

More lighthouse tours by Save The Bay:

For more information

Contact Dan Blount at (401) 439-0670