10 Lighthouses to See Along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway

April 25, 2022

 There’s something special and timeless about Essex coastal Scenic Byway lighthouses. These beautiful structures were built decades ago to help guide ships home safely. 

If you love lighthouses as much as we do, well then you have certainly come to the right place. There are plenty of incredible lighthouses to visit along the Essex Coastal Scenic Byway on the North Shore of Massachusetts. And, you’ll catch amazing views of the North Shore coast as well!

The Marblehead Light Station

Marblehead Light Station in Massachusetts

Address: 5 Follett Street, Marblehead, MA

The Marblehead Light Station is a rare sight in the United States. In fact, the light station is one of about 14 surviving pyramidal skeletal lighthouses remaining in the country. Visitors can view the 105-foot tall, cast-iron Light Station while taking in the panoramic views from Marblehead Neck.

Bakers Island Light Station

Bakers Island Light Station off the coast of Salem Massachusetts

Address: Bakers Island, Salem, MA

The Bakers Island Light Station is owned and maintained by the Essex National Heritage Commission. Coastal Byway visitors and lighthouse enthusiasts can book day trips to the island. There are also overnight options for those wishing to stay the night. While it’s not an immediate stop right off the Coastal Byway, a visit is definitely worth looking into.

Derby Wharf Light Station

Derby Wharf Light Station in Salem Massachusetts

Address: 160 Derby Street, Salem, MA

The Derby Wharf Light Station was first lit in 1871. Since then, the small but mighty 20-foot light station has provided navigational aid to ships alongside the Fort Pickering Light Station on Winter Island and the Hospital Light Station in Beverly. The light station is also one of only 5 five square planned lighthouses in the United States. You can visit the light station and grounds at the Salem Maritime National Historic Site.

Fort Pickering Light/Winter Island Light

Fort Pickering/Winter Island Light in Salem Massachusetts

Address: 50 Winter Island Road, Salem, MA

The Fort Pickering or Winter Island Light is a lighthouse located within Winter Island Park. While the lighthouse itself isn’t open to the public, Winter Island Park visitors can certainly enjoy the light from a distance while taking in the park’s incredible coastal views.

Hospital Point Light Station

Address: Bayview Avenue, Beverly, MA

The Hospital Point Light Station can be viewed from Bayview Avenue in Beverly and Salem Willows in Salem. The Hospital Point Light Station is one of only five lighthouses in Massachusetts that have kept its Fresnel lens throughout the years. Unfortunately, this lighthouse is closed to the public. However, the station does open occasionally for special events, so be sure to keep an ear out.

Ten Pound Island Light

Ten Pound Island Light on the Gloucester Waterfront in Massachusetts

Address: Ten Pound Island, Gloucester, MA 

The Ten Pound Island Light Station is owned and operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. The lighthouse has continued to provide navigational aid to water vessels since its establishment in 1821. The light station is open to the public, however, without a proper landing facility, visiting the island by private boat can be difficult. Fortunately, the lighthouse can be viewed by boat or from the Gloucester waterfront. 

Annisquam Lighthouse

Annisquam Lighthouse in Gloucester

Address: 45 Norwood Heights, Gloucester, MA

Annisquam Village is a peaceful village in Gloucester. Here, Coastal Byway explorers can find the Annisquam Lighthouse. The lighthouse was first constructed in 1801 and since has been cared for and maintained by the U.S. Coast Guard. While the lighthouse is closed to the public, short-term parking spaces can allow travelers to pop in for a quick peek at the 41-foot lighthouse.

Straitsmouth Island Light Station

Aerial view of the Straitsmouth Island Light Station, Rockport Massachusetts

Address: 74 Marmion Way, Rockport, MA

The Straitsmouth Island Light Station marks the entrance to Rockport Harbor. This lighthouse is another active light station operated by the U.S. Coast Guard. Those who wish to view the lighthouse can do so from the end of Bearskin Neck. Straitsmouth Island is also accessible by boat as there are moorings near the northeast side of the island.

Thacher Island Twin Lights

Thacher Island Twin Lights on the coast of Rockport Massachusetts

Address: 74 Marmion Way, Rockport, MA

Thacher Island is open to the public from mid-June through mid-September. Here, visitors can enjoy scenic walking trails, a friendly visitors center, and visit the Thacher Island Museum. Perhaps most unique is that lighthouse enthusiasts can actually climb the northern lighthouse tower. On a clear day, those at the top of the tower can see the Boston skyline all the way up to the Maine mountains.

Plum Island Light

The Plum Island Light/Newburyport Harbor Light Station in Newburyport Massachusetts

Address: Harbor Street, Newburyport, MA

The Plum Island Light is also known as the Newburyport Harbor Light Station. This lighthouse is located at the northern end of Plum Island and looks over the mouth of the Merrimack River. The grounds of this lighthouse are open to the public, providing great opportunities for up-close viewing. The Plum Island Light grounds are also recognized as a great spot for bird watching.

Additionally, the Friends of Plum Island Light offer periodic tours inside the Plum Island Lighthouse, so make sure you call (978) 973-6935 to see if any tours are available during your Coastal Byway trip.