Barnegat Lighthouse State Park
PO Box 167
Barnegat Light, NJ 08006
(609) 494-2016

Places Nearby:
Barnegat Bay Decoy Museum (Tuckerton Seaport)
Wells Mills Nature Center
JCP&L Energy Spectrum
Popcorn Park Zoo
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Other States:

The original lighthouse at Barnegat Inlet went into service in 1835. The forty-foot tower was equipped with eleven lamps and reflectors that did a less than adequate job of lighting the way for seafarers. In 1854, the beacon was replaced with a fourth order fresnel lens. Just a year later Lt. George G. Meade (who would later lead Union troops in the Battle of Gettysburg) inspected the tower and reported it to be in poor condition, constructed of inferior materials. His recommendations resulted in the beautiful Light that stands by the Inlet today.

First illuminated on January 1, 1859, the Barnegat Lighthouse is 170 feet tall and features a first order fresnel lens which was constructed at the famous French Furnace at St. Gobain. 1,024 separate prisms were mounted in bronze fittings forming a lens eight feet in diameter and fifteen feet high. The five ton light was delicately balanced on heavy bronze rollers, allowing the assembly to be rotated with the pressure of the little finger.

The light was rotated by an elaborate clock assembly, including a 150-pound weight suspended on a 60-foot cable. The mechanism had to be wound hourly by a crew who operated in three shifts throughout the night. In 1927 the light was automated. It shown its beacon until it was decommissioned in 1944.

Today the Barnegat Light is the focal point of a beautiful State Park that features an extensive system of jetties that are popular with fishermen. The Lighthouse is operated as an historical Museum with exhibits featuring the original light and other artifacts. Visitors climbing the 217 steps to the lightkeeper's catwalk are rewarded with a magnificent view of Island Beach State Park, Barnegat Bay, and Long Beach Island. Interpretive signs throughout the tower interpret its history and its importance to early navigation.

The 31.8-acre park is also popular for nature observation, including a wide variety of birds during spring and fall migrations. Nesting birds are protected, and birds such as piping plovers, least terns, black skimmers, and others can be observed and photographed.

Group Tours are welcome, and though there are no formal programs for School Groups, a Tour is educational and fun. It can combine with several other sites to provide a most rewarding day out in the field

Hours: Lighthouse opens on weekends only, 9am - 3:30pm. Park opens daily, 8am - 4pm. Hours subject to change. Call to confirm.

$3 per person ages 12 and older
$1 per person ages 6 to 11
children under 5 FREE
Admission is charged during the summer season.

Group Reservations: 1 week in advance.

Lunch: Picnic areas available.

Handicapped Access: Accessible, except for stairs to catwalk.

Directions: Rt. 70 East to Rt. 72 East (after crossing bay is Rt. 73). Turn left onto Central Ave. (County Rt. 607), to end. 60 - 90 minutes from Philadelphia.

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