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Nauset Lighthouse

Nauset lighthouse

2 Nauset Light Beach Road,
Eastham, Massachusetts
Built in 1923



Near Nauset Beach, on the eastern coastal area of Cape Cod in Eastham. Grounds are open to the public year round and you can take a short hike to nearby Three Sisters lighthouses.

Latitude: 41° 51' 36" N
Longitude: 69° 57' 12" W


Historic Stories:

The first recorded shipwreck on the eastern seaboard occurred on December 17, 1626, when the Sparrow Hawk, was wrecked near Pochet Neck at Nauset Beach about 3.5 miles south of the present Nauset Light.

Over 200 years later, as Cape Cod became one of the busiest shipping and whaling centers in the country, lighthouses were needed to guide this ever increasing traffic. In the mid nineteenth century, Eastham (Nauset) was between the single light at Highland (Cape Cod Light) to the north, and the two lights at Chatham to the south. In 1837 Congress authorized funds to build three small lights at Nauset, which came to be known as the “Three Sisters.”

Nauset Three Lights

Nauset Three "Sisters" Lights
Courtesy US Coast Guard

These three original Nauset lights became America’s first and only three light station.

The "Sister” lights fell into disrepair and by 1911, the cliff had eroded to within eight feet of the northernmost tower. The Bureau of Lighthouses finally decided to change Nauset to a single light. The ‘Sisters’ were moved back from the edge of the bluff, and discontinued.

The original Nauset Light began its service in 1881 as the north light of one of the twin lights at Chatham. Nauset light 1923 construction

Early Nauset Light (1923)
Courtesy US Coast Guard

Then in 1923, the smaller wooden remaining lighthouse of the “Three Sisters” in Eastham was retired, and the north tower in Chatham was dismantled, moved to Eastham, and reconstructed about 200 feet from the edge of the cliff, leaving the one current Nauset Light to guide mariners from the shore.

Nauset lighthouse over cliffs Coastal erosion continued to plague the lighthouse, and by 1996, it was dangerously close to the edge of the cliff with less than 35 feet remaining from the edge.

In November, 1996, Nauset Lighthouse was moved in one piece to its current location about 300 feet away from the cliff.

The lighthouse is maintained by the Nauset Light Preservation Society.

Nauset lighthouse at dusk



Places to Visit Nearby:

During the summer months, you can tour the Nauset Lighthouse tower, put on by the Nauset Light Preservation Society

In the park, just off from Route 6, you'll find the Eastham Windmill, the oldest windmill on the Cape, originally built in Plymouth in the 1680's. eastham mill oldest

Eastham is a small town that is known as the entrance to the Cape Cod National Seashore. Here you’ll find quite a variety of hiking and biking tails, along with camping facilities in the area heading over to the National Seashore. Henry David Thoreau and Henry Beston spent much time exploring the area here.

You can enjoy Nauset Beach below the high sand cliffs as they rise above you near the lighthouse.

Cape Cod National Seashore below cliffs

A short distance from Nauset light, which the grounds are open to explore, are the restored Three Sisters Lights, although inactive, have been configured in their original spots, 1,800 feet from Nauset Light.




Contact Info:
Nauset Light Preservation Society
P.O. Box 941
Eastham, MA 02642
Phone: (508) 240-2612



New Book Just Published Summer 2023!

The Rise and Demise of the Largest Sailing Ships:
Stories of the Six and Seven-Masted
Coal Schooners of New England

book of the rise and demise of the largest sailing ships

Available in paperback, hard cover, and as an eBook for all devices.

my ebook on apple books

In the early 1900s, New England shipbuilders constructed the world’s largest sailing ships amid social and political reforms. These eleven giants of sail were built to carry massive quantities of coal and building supplies, and measured longer than a football field!

This book, balanced with plenty of color and vintage images, showcases the historical accounts that followed each of these mighty ships. You'll many of these events occurred while sailing around the dangerous shoals of Cape Cod and the islands during stormy weather. In fact, the first two six-masted ships built collided on a clear night not far from the lighthouse.

Click for larger video here.



My book, Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Southern New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, published by Schiffer Publishing, provides special human interest stories from each of the 92 lighthouses, along with plenty of indoor and outdoor coastal attractions, hikes, parks, and lighthouse and boat tours, with contact information.

Look inside!

book about lighthouses and local coastal atttractions in southern New England




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