Southold Town has more lighthouses than any other township in the country.
Get to know them with our quick guide.
Long Beach Bar “Bug” Lighthouse
Commonly referred to as “Bug Light,” the Long Beach Bar Lighthouse is a cornerstone of local maritime history. The original structure was built in 1870 and earned its nickname because it resembled a giant water bug at high tide.
The lighthouse was destroyed by arsonists in the 1960s, but in 1990 it was restored by the East End Seaport Museum and Marine Foundation, which maintains the property in partnership with the U.S. Coast Guard.
Orient Point Lighthouse
Orient Point Lighthouse was built in 1899 to guide mariners through the riptides and strong currents in Plum Gut. The circular cast-iron and brick-lined structure, dubbed “The Coffee Pot,” was scheduled to be torn down in 1970 but was saved by the public. Today, it is on the National Register of Historic Places and service as an artist residence.
Plum Island Light
Nineteenth century sailors enjoyed nicknaming lighthouses. Plum Island Light is also called Plum Gut Light. The tower was built in 1826 and powered by candlelight. It was decommissioned in 1978 and replaced by an automatic beacon a few miles away.
North Dumpling Lighthouse
The red brick lighthouse was constructed in 1849 on the north side of Fishers Island and has been helmed by colorful characters through the years. Its keeper was accused of signaling to liquor smugglers during Prohibition. In 1896, the inventor of Segway purchased the property, dubbing it the sovereign “Kingdom of North Dumpling,” according to the East End Seaport Museum.
Latimer Reef Lighthouse
Latimer Reef is the oldest cast-iron lighthouse still in service in the Northeast. The spark plug lighthouse in Fishers Island Sound was lit in 1884, automated in 1983 and sold for $225,000 in 2010. The U.S. Coast Guard still continues to maintain the lights.
Race Rock Lighthouse
Race Rock marks a dangerous location off the coast of Fishers Island, where hundreds of shipwrecks are believed to have occurred. It took seven years to build the lighthouse in part due to dangerous riptides that plague Race Rock Reef. The lighthouse is claimed to be the site of paranormal activity and was featured on a 2004 episode of “Ghost Hunters.” (If you believe in that sort of thing!)
Little Gull Island Lighthouse
Originally lit in 1806, the British seized control of Little Gull Island during the War of 1812 and forced the keeper to extinguish the light. The current Little Gull light was built in 1868.
Horton Point Lighthouse
There’s no need for a boat to tour Horton Point Lighthouse. The historic 58-foot tower is accessible off Lighthouse Road in Southold. The lighthouse was commissioned in 1790 under George Washington, but wasn’t constructed until 1857. It’s listed on both the national and state registers of historic places.