2021 Lighthouse Challenge: Absecon

Welcome back to National Parks and other public lands with T!

2021 Lighthouse Challenge

Absecon was the second stop for us on Day 2 during the Lighthouse Challenge of New Jersey. Every October the NJ Lighthouse Society runs the challenge in order to raise funds for the state’s historic lighthouses and maritime sites. In 2020, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the event was mostly virtual. In 2021, it was back on. My friend and I decided to spend the full weekend, stopping at every site on the list and collecting the souvenir piece. In previous years, I’d only finished sections of the course.

Patty and I had lived through some tough times in 2021 and were ready for the brief respite afforded by Lighthouse Challenge weekend. I would also be reporting on our odyssey for my week-long takeover of the Jersey Collective. After leaving Lifesaving Station 30 in Ocean City, we headed to Absecon Lighthouse in Atlantic City.

Absecon Lighthouse

The lighthouse is the tallest in New Jersey at 171 feet and it has 228 steps. Absecon Light is a State Historic Site, is on the National Register of Historic Places and is managed by a non-profit organization.

Settlers called Absecon Inlet ‘Graveyard Inlet’ due to all the shipwrecks that took place there. Jonathan Pitney, the ‘Father of Atlantic City’, pushed for federal funding for a lighthouse to illuminate the dangerous waters. They first lit the beacon in 1857. In its heyday, the lighthouse was a popular tourist attraction and the keepers did double duty as tour guides.

The light was decommissioned in 1933 and went dark for decades. Today, it shines on Atlantic City every night but is no longer an active navigational aid. The tower and keeper’s house were restored in the late 1990s, though the house was destroyed by fire during the renovation and had to be completely reconstructed.

Lighthouse Challenge posts


Location: 31 S Rhode Island Ave, Atlantic City, NJ 08401
Designation: National Register of Historic Places
Date designated/established: September 11, 1970
Date of my visit: October 17, 2021

Virtual Tour of Absecon Lighthouse from 2020

4 thoughts on “2021 Lighthouse Challenge: Absecon

  1. I always enjoy your tour of lighthouses, T. My first thought was ‘wow, that lighthouse is tall,’ so I looked it up and discovered that Absecon Lighthouse is the fourth highest in the USA. That’s a lot of steps to climb. It was interesting to read that even during its ‘heyday’ it was a tourist attraction. –Curt

    1. Thanks Curt! I did climb to the top on a previous visit and got a card from the docent at the top recognizing the accomplishment. Whew! This trip, Patty and I didn’t climb because we had a lot more stops to get to before the sun set.

  2. Shayne

    I have a friend that works there. She works in the gift shop or doing tours. I have the challenge on my list of things to do.

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