Scituate, Cohaset, Duxbury, and Boston
With so much shipping traffic coming in and out of Boston Harbor, as Boston was a major commercial shipping port for whaling, shipping, and commercial fishing traffic in the 18th and 19th centuries, the need for lighthouses was obvious as far back as during the Revolution. With this increase in traffic there came many shipwrecks occurring from New England’s many violent storms and foggy days, on the many treacherous shoals, and around the 34 islands that surround Boston Harbor.
Lighthouses were built to guide mariners and the increasing shipping traffic into the Boston and surrounding harbors, and around the dangerous shoals and islands surrounding the harbor. South of Boston were stretches of sand and rock peninsulas jutting out from the mainland around Duxbury and Plymouth where lighthouses were also built.
Massachusetts South Shore Area Lighthouse
You Can Drive or Hike To
Note: The lighthouse mentioned below that you can drive or hike to may also be viewed from various boat tours offered, see Boat Tours below. Ferries that take visitors to the islands are also shown.
Click any lighthouse link below to find out information about each lighthouse including historic snapshots, directions, more photos, and links for places to visit.
Boston and South Shore Area Lighthouses:
Best Viewed By Boat
Places to Visit in the
Boston Area and
Massachusetts South Shore Region
Plymouth is New England’s oldest town with its many fine beaches, specialty shops, or parks. Visit where the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth has many attractions like its museums for visitors to learn about America's beginnings, and you can walk up to the National Monument to the Forefathers, which is the largest solid granite monument in the US. The Pilgrim Hall Museumprovides exhibits and documents of the story of the Pilgrims. Visitors will find plenty of historic narrated tours at the Plimouth Plantation Museum (correct pronunciation Plimouth of the period), which provides a recreation of life in a 17th century outdoor English village, a Wampanoag Tribe home site, rare animals, a Grist Mill used to grind corn, and an authentic replica of the Mayflower, the recently restored Mayflower II to visit. Visitors can use the Plymouth Rock Trolley for a different touring experience. There are many fine beaches, specialty shops, and all kinds of recreational activities to enjoy here. There are even ghost tours in Plymouth that include Plymouth’s oldest cemetery on Burial Hill.
Duxbury Beach Park is one of the most scenic beaches in Massachusetts.
Scituate is mid-sized seacoast town with specialty shops and restaurants, plenty of artist galleries visitors can enjoy. Scituate Lighthouse and grounds are easily accessible for the public with a jetty to climb, a beach behind the light, and the keeper's cottage. Scituate also boasts as having one of the best golf courses in America called the Widows Walk Golf Course and is known as America's first "environmental demonstration course” as part of the Audubon Cooperative Sanctuary.
The Boston Harbor Island Alliance in coordination with the National Park Service and the Coast Guard, have developed an exciting 3-hour narrated tour that not only provides a rich maritime history of Boston Harbor along with views of Graves Light and Long Island Head Light, but docks on Little Brewster Island and allows you to climb the tower of Boston Light. You can meet the lighthouse keeper there, Sally Snowman, and great a spectacular view of the Boston Harbor from the tower. You can get close views of Boston Harbor Lighthouse on the Boston Harbor Cruises lighthouse trip.
Boston has plenty of rich history; like the Nation’s oldest Naval ship, the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides), and you can take guided walking tours to Boston’s historic places, like the Freedom Trail, or explore the Bunker Hill Monument, which sparked the beginning of the American Revolution.
Boston offers plenty of cultural and diverse events inside the city or along the waterfront at the New England Aquarium, and Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Visit some of Boston’s 40 museums, or enjoy its cultural and varied events and nightlife. The unique Boston Duck Tours are a lot of fun for a combination land and water experience. Boston's North End, and Boston's South End provides plenty of ethnic cuisine, with lots of festivals and events year round.
Check out my book “New England Lighthouses: Famous Shipwrecks, Rescues, and Other Tales” with over 40 detailed stories. Published by Schiffer Books. Explore the Table of Contentsto test your coastal historical knowledge.
In the book you'll find a few local stories from the Boston area region, including various rescues during one of the worst gale storms in New England, named as the "Portland Gale" for the sinking of the Steamer Portland, the storm of the century called the "Lighthouse Storm" that sent Minot's Ledge Light toppling into the sea, the ghost of Plymouth Light's first female keeper, and the ghost keepers of Minot's Ledge Light.
Boat Tours: Lighthouses in Boston Area
Boat cruises offer many types of cruises. While some may offer specific lighthouse cruises, some will pass by specific lighthouses as part of charters, narrated wildlife and historic tours, ferrying passengers, whale watching, fishing tours and other types of excursions. Contact info is provided to help you plan your special trips to the Boston area. Enjoy!
Boston Harbor Islands
Escorted trips by the park rangers are provided to Little Brewster Island, and sometimes visitors can climb Boston light. Boat trips run every weekend during the summer out to Little Brewster Island where you can see and climb up the tower of Boston Harbor Light. Boston Light Tours begin on June 17th and run through October 2nd. Tours depart from the Moakley Courthouse dock on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays at 10:00 am and 1:30 pm. There will be a special tour on Monday, July 4th, at 10:00 am.
Lighthouses: Boston Harbor Light, Long Island Head Light, Graves Light
Boston Harbor Cruises
In addition to providing many types of cruises around Boston Harbor and its nearby lighthouses, they offer a special Northern Lights tour from Boston Harbor up along the North Shore, co-sponsored with the Friends of Boston Harbor Islands.
One Long Wharf
Boston, Mass. 02110
Friends Of Boston Harbor Islands
Besides Boston Harbor tours, there are also the Southern Lighthouse Tour, and the Northern Lighthouse tours offered.
349 Lincoln Street
Hingham MA 02043
Phone: (781) 740 4290
Fax: (781) 749 9924
Lighthouses: Boston Harbor Light, Long Island Head Light, Deer Island Light, Graves Light, Minot's Ledge Light, Marblehead Light, Ten Pound Island Light, Fort Pickering Lighthouse, Hospital Point Light, Eastern Point Lighthouse, Bakers Island Light, Gurnet Light, Straitsmouth Island Lighthouse, Thacher Island Twin Lights, and Scituate Lighthouse.
Plymouth Harbor Cruises
Cruises in Plymouth Harbor aboard the Pilgrim Belle, a Mississippi-style paddle wheeler that operates in the summer season.
Lighthouse: Duxbury Pier Lighthouse
Boston's Waterfront Directions
Directions to Boston's Rowes Wharf for Harbor Cruises:
- Heading North, be wary of construction detours:
- Take US Route I-93 North to the Logan Airport I-90)/S. Station exit towards Worcester, Exit #20
- Continue towards Frontage Road/South Station
- Bear right towards Kneeland Street/Downtown
- Continue on Atlantic Avenue
- Rowes Wharf is on the right.
- Heading East towards Boston, be wary of construction detours:
- Take Take US Route I-90 East (Massachusetts Turnpike) to the 24 A-B-C/I-93/South station exit towards Concord NH/Quincy.
- Continue towards South Station, Exit #24A
- Continue on Atlantic Avenue
- Rowes Wharf is on the right.
- Heading South, be wary of construction detours:
- Take US Route I-93 South to the Purchase Street exit, Exit #23
- At the traffic light, turn left onto Congress Street
- At the next traffic light, turn left onto Atlantic Avenue
- Rowes Wharf is on the right.
Directions Public Subway Transportation (MBTA):
Take the Blue Line to Aquarium Station
Turn LEFT immediately out of the station
Continue on Atlantic Avenue
Rowes Wharf is on the left.
Directions to Boston's Long Wharf for Harbor Cruises
- Heading South, by wary of construction detours:
- Take US Route 93 South to Exit 24A bearing right on off ramp (Government Center).
- Follow signs to Aquarium Wharf. Boston Harbor Cruises is located between the Aquarium and Marriott Hotel.
- Heading North, by wary of construction detours:
- Take US Route 93 North to Exit 23 (Government Center).
- Follow signs to Aquarium Wharf.
- Boston Harbor Cruises is located between the Aquarium and Marriott Hotel
Other Types of Tours or Travel
Offers helicopter cruises over Boston, and offer North Shore and South Shore tours where visitors can get aerial views of many of the lighthouses.
Cape Air Travel
A year-round scheduled plane service to the Martha’s Vineyard Airport from Boston, Hyannis, Nantucket, New Bedford, and Providence.
For All You Massachusetts Visitors