Virginia Lighthouses

Lighthouses in the state of Virginia as identified by the United States Coast Guard. There are nine active lights in the state as well as three automated caissons and eleven skeleton towers replacing previously manned lights.

The first lighthouse in the state was erected in 1792 (the first Cape Henry Light) and it is the oldest surviving structure; the last, Chesapeake Light, was built in 1965 (ignoring automated towers erected later). The tallest extant tower is that at Cape Charles Light.

If not otherwise noted, focal height and coordinates are taken from the United States Coast Guard Light List, while location and dates of activation, automation, and deactivation are taken from the United States Coast Guard Historical information site for lighthouses. Locations of demolished lights have been estimated using National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) navigational charts.

Name Image Location Year first lit Year deactivated Focal Height
Assateague Light Assateague Island 1833 (First)
1867 (Current)
Active 154 154 ft (47 m)
Back River Light Hampton 1829 1936
(Destroyed in 1956)
Unknown
Bells Rock Light York River 1881 1928
(Dismantled)
040 40 ft (12 m)
Bowlers Rock Light Rappahannock River 1868 1920
(Removed)
Unknown
Cape Charles Light Cape Charles 1828 (First)
1895 (Current)
Active 180 180 ft (55 m)
Cape Henry Light (Old) Virginia Beach
(Cape Henry)
1792 1881 Unknown
Cape Henry Light (New) Virginia Beach
(Cape Henry)
1881 Active 157 157 ft (48 m)
Cherrystone Bar Light Cape Charles
(Offshore)
1858 1919
(Moved in 1920)
Unknown
Chesapeake Light Chesapeake Bay
(Entrance)
1965 2016 117 117 ft (36 m)
Craney Island Light Elizabeth River
(Mouth)
1859 (First)
1884 (Last)
1936
(Removed)
036 36 ft (11 m)
Deepwater Shoals Light Newport News
(Offshore)
1855 (First)
1868 (Last)
1936
(Demolished)
034 34 ft (10 m)
Dutch Gap Canal Lights None James River 1875 1910 027 27 ft (8.2 m)
Great Wicomico River Light Great Wicomico River
(Mouth)
1889 1967
(Dismantled)
042 42 ft (13 m)
Hog Island Light
(First tower)
Exmore 1853 1896
(Replaced)
Unknown
Hog Island Light
(Second tower)
None Exmore 1896 1948
(Demolished)
Unknown
Jones Point Light Alexandria 1856 Active
(Inactive: 1926–1995)
035 35 ft (11 m)
Jordan Point Front Range Light James River Unknown Unknown Unknown
Jordan Point Range Rear Light None James River 1855 (First)
1941 (Current)
Active 035 35 ft (11 m)
(Second tower)
65 ft (20 m)
(Current tower)
Killock Shoal Light Chincoteague
(Offshore)
1886 1939
(Dismantled)
Unknown
Lambert Point Light Norfolk 1872 1892
(Collapsed in 1911)
Unknown
Nansemond River Light Nansemond River
(Mouth)
1878 1935
(Dismantled)
Unknown
New Point Comfort Light Chesapeake Bay 1805 Active
(Inactive: 1963–1999)
058 58 ft (18 m)
Newport News Middle Ground Light Newport News 1891 Active 052 52 ft (16 m)
Old Plantation Flats Light Cape Charles
(Offshore)
1886 1962
(Demolished)
035 35 ft (11 m)
Old Point Comfort Light Hampton 1804 Active 054 54 ft (16 m)
Pages Rock Light York River 1893 1967
(Dismantled)
Unknown
Point of Shoals Light James River 1855 (First)
1871 (Last)
1933
(Demolished)
Unknown
Pungoteague Creek Light Chesapeake Bay 1854 1856
(Destroyed)
Unknown
Smith Point Light Potomac River
(Mouth)
1802 (First)
1897 (Current)
Active 052 52 ft (16 m)
Stingray Point Light Rappahannock River
(Mouth)
1858 1965
(Dismantled)
034 34 ft (10 m)
Tangier Sound Light Tangier
(Offshore)
1890 1961
(Demolished)
Unknown
Thimble Shoal Light Chesapeake Bay 1872 (First)
1914 (Current)
Active 055 55 ft (17 m)
Tue Marshes Light York River
(Mouth)
1875 1960
(Dismantled)
Unknown
Watts Island Light Chesapeake Bay 1833 1944
(Destroyed)
Unknown
White Shoal Light None James River 1855 (First)
1871 (Last)
1934
(Destroyed in the 1970s)
Unknown
Windmill Point Light None Rappahannock River
(Mouth)
1869 1965
(Dismantled)
Unknown
Wolf Trap Light Chesapeake Bay 1870 (First)
1894 (Current)
2017
(Abandoned)
Unknown
York Spit Light York River
(Mouth)
1870 1960
(Dismantled)
Unknown


Lighthouses and Lifesaving Stations of Virginia
(Images of America)

Created as navigational tools, lighthouses are of interest to more than mariners; the ruggedly romantic nature of the beacons delights and enthralls thousand of admirers. Lights along the Virginia coast are no exception, from the richly historic Old Cape Henry Light, authorized by President George Washington in 1789, to the candy-striped Assateague Light on the state’s Eastern Shore. Of equal interest are the tales of the men of the United States Life-Saving Service, the forerunner of today’s Coast Guard. Spaced along the shore, they aided navigation by responding selflessly to ships in distress, often at their own peril. Many of their quaint, beach cottage–style stations are lost, others preserved.