Twin Lights Historic Site
Lighthouse Road
Highlands, NJ 07732
(732) 872-1814

Places Nearby:
Brookdale Ocean Institute
Fort Hancock
US Army Communications & Electronics Museum
Monmouth Museum Holmdel Arboretum
Imagine That!
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Other States:

Much of American heritage can be marked by objects so prominent in the role of our country's development that they actually represent an era. They are kept alive today by a certain passion in the hearts of many. Without doubt one of these is the old railroad. Perhaps another is the canal, a means of transportation that preceded the iron horse. Another, also related to transportation, is the lighthouse. While some were mobile -- they were called lightships -- most were not. In fact they were counted upon to stay put and shine that guiding beacon.

Replaced by modern navigational aids, most of today's standing lighthouses are preserved as museums by people who have that "certain passion." One of the largest, and the brightest light of its day, is the Navesink Light Station, or the Twin Lights, perched atop the Highlands below Sandy Hook.

The first twin towers were built in 1828, separated by a service structure of some 300 feet. In 1841 it became the first American lighthouse to use fresnel lenses, which increased brightness many times over.

Though the lights were in fine order, the structure eventually fell into disrepair. A new one was completed in 1862. In 1883 the Twin Lights became the first to burn kerosene, replacing whale oil. Later it became the first electrically powered light, its nine-foot diameter lens producing 25 million candlepower. The reflection in the night sky could be seen from seventy miles at sea.

The lighthouse was decommissioned in 1949. In 1960 it became a State Historic Site.

Visitors can enjoy a variety of Twin Lights exhibits, including a Marconi Wireless Telegraph Exhibit, in galleries that were once quarters for the keepers of the light. The huge fresnel lens that once burned in the tower is on display in the Electric Generator Station. Other exhibits showcase the United States Lifesaving Service in the Spermacetti Cove L.S.S life boat station, a building that was relocated here from Sandy Hook in 1954. Here is the Museum's fascinating boat collection, which includes the submarine-like Francis Lifecar.

Of course, visitors can climb the sixty-four steps to the North Tower. At more than 200 feet above sea level, the view is simply breathtaking. The South Tower is open when staffing permits.

The Twin Lights is a great place for a family outing, and groups are welcome, too. Bear in mind that, between the beach, the Twin Lights, and Sandy Hook, the area is very busy during the summer. Twin Lights is open year-round.

School and other Groups of any age can arrange a Guided Tour led by a knowledgeable docent who will provide insight and answer questions. Quite educational, and lots of fun.

Hours: 10am - 4:30pm. Open every day, Memorial Day through Labor Day. Open Wednesday through Sunday the rest of the year. Call to confirm hours before visiting.

Admission: FREE. Donations are appreciated.

Group Reservations: About 6 weeks in advance for group programs.

Lunch: Picnic areas available.

Handicapped Access: Museum accessible. Call ahead.

Directions: Rt. 70 East to Garden State Pkwy. North to Exit 105 (Eatontown). Take Rt. 36 East to Longbranch. Stay on 36 as it turns north. Cross the Highlands Drawbridge. Take immediate right off bridge onto road that passes beneath the bridge. Continue straight past yield sign onto Highland Ave. At fork bear left onto Lighthouse Rd. (may say Twin Lights Rd.) 90 - 120 minutes from Philadelphia or the George Washington Bridge.

Copyright © 1996-2014 by Patrick Tadeushuk. All Rights Reserved.