Climb to the top of the tallest lighthouse on the Jersey Shore to see its historic lens and take in the views across the Atlantic Ocean.
Absecon Lighthouse is a destination for history enthusiasts, lovers of maritime culture and those seeking stunning views. It’s one of the oldest lighthouses in North America. Climb to the top, visit the replica keeper’s quarters and discover what makes the lens so special in the lighthouse’s permanent display.
First lit in 1857, the Absecon Lighthouse is the tallest in New Jersey and the third tallest of its kind in the United States. While it hasn’t been an active navigational beacon since 1933, the light still shines every night and comes from the original Fresnel lens.
Start your visit to Absecon at the lighthouse museum to discover the history of the area. You’ll see historic photographs of local shipwrecks and memorabilia from 19th-century Atlantic City. Read about the men who built Absecon, about the lighthouse keepers that lived in the small quarters on site, and about the maritime culture that once dominated this stretch of coast. Visit the Oil House to see the Fresnel lens exhibit or wander through the replica of a keeper’s dwelling to see how they would have lived.
Climb the 228 steps to reach the top of the lighthouse, home to the original Fresnel lens that was installed in the 1850s. The lens weighs about 12,800 pounds (5,800 kilograms) and still functions. The climb can be strenuous, but you can rest at the landings placed at regular intervals. Don’t miss the gift shop at the bottom if you want a souvenir of your climb.
Absecon Lighthouse is located in northern Atlantic City, close to the downtown area. It’s easily reached on foot and bus. Car parking in the small on-site lot is free for visitors to the lighthouse.
Entry to the lighthouse keeper’s quarters and museum is free of charge; however, you have to pay a small fee to climb to the top.
Absecon Lighthouse is open daily during July and August, except major holidays. It’s closed on Tuesdays and Wednesdays from September until June. The last climb is available 30 minutes before closing time.