The License Plate Lighthouse.

Over the past ten months, this blog has been an outlet for traveling to new and fun locations that I have wanted to visit, to assuage my wanderlust as I travel around the United States, exploring what the nation has to offer. I have taken road trips since I first earned my driver’s license at age 17, but I started this blog with the hope that I would be able to entertain and enlighten my readers, to take you along with me. Several of the trips, such as the Cape May – Lewes Ferry, the USS Olympia and Becuna, Gettysburg, the Honda Heritage Center, and the Emlen Physick Estate, have been to places that I had always wanted to visit, but never made the time. This blog gave me the motivation to explore, and then to share my explorations with you. This past weekend, I ventured to yet another spot that I had long known but had never visited: the lighthouse that is featured on a license plate.

Barnegat Lighthouse, located in the borough of Barnegat Light on Long Beach Island in New Jersey, is a historic lighthouse that was completed in 1859. Constructed to replace  a previous lighthouse that was lost to erosion (the previous lighthouse literally fell into the ocean), the current lighthouse was designed by George Meade. If Meade’s name is familiar, it is because he was a general who led Union forces to victory at the Battle of Gettysburg. As built, the lighthouse is 165 feet tall, with 217 steps to the top. Originally designed to use an oil-burning fresnel lens similar to the one used in the Cape May Lighthouse, the Barnegat Lighthouse was converted to electric power in 1927. Added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1971, Barnegat Lighthouse has almost a half million visitors every year. It is one of the symbols of New Jersey, and its image is used on specialized license plates that celebrate the NJ shore (via Wikipedia).

The lighthouse is located on Long Beach Island, an 18-mile long barrier island on the eastern coast of New Jersey. The island is the home of several resort towns, including Beach Haven, Surf City, and Harvey Cedars. For all of my explorations, today marked my first time ever visiting Long Beach Island (or “LBI” as the locals say). LBI was also the site of the first New Jersey beach resort, Tucker’s Beach, which was founded in 1765. The island was particularly hard hit by Hurricane Sandy in 2012, but the damaged homes and business have mostly been repaired.

Arriving in Cape May on Saturday evening for the final moments of sunset.
Returning to my car after the sun had set, with the faint glow of twilight beginning. The wreck of the concrete ship is in the water directly off the beach, and the Cape May – Lewes Ferry is on the horizon.
DH in twilight. The car is absolutely filthy, but polished metal metallic is an amazing color- from a distance, it still looks clean.
Running on the beach at high tide. At low tide, the beach extends another 30 yards to the right.
My drive for today. This map shows how many of the NJ beach resorts are not on the mainland, but are a series of barrier islands.
The New Jersey specialized license plate uses Barnegat Lighthouse as its emblem. Proceeds from this plate go toward keeping the Jersey shores clean.
As you walk toward the lighthouse, you see that this beach has a more notorious history.
Barnegat Lighthouse. Each NJ lighthouse is painted with a different pattern, to aid sailors in navigation.
Entering the lighthouse, I was confronted with yet another open metal staircase, similar to the Cape May Lighthouse and the WWII Lookout Tower. Not the ideal situation for someone with a fear of heights. A BIG fear of heights.


Similar to the Cape May Lighthouse, the Barnegat Lighthouse has landings every 40-50 steps, with windows that allow a view outside. This photo was taken on the second landing. The Atlantic Ocean is straight ahead.
These signs are positioned throughout the lighthouse as you climb to the top. I can’t decide if they helped or hurt.
Portholes provide illumination as you near the top of the lighthouse.
At the top! Unlike Cape May, the Barnegat Lighthouse has a clear plastic shield that prevents you from seeing the light assembly.
View from the top.
The view down. The holes in the steps are larger than the ones in Cape May, allowing you to see ALL THE WAY DOWN (gulp). It also doesn’t help that, unlike the Cape May Lighthouse, the stairs in Barnegat Lighthouse creak and groan periodically as you climb (gulp again).
Back on terra firma. A bust of George Meade sits beside the front door.
A panorama of Barnegat Lighthouse.
About to depart. I made my way back to my car slowly. Running on the beach this morning, and then climbing and descending 217 steps means that my calves and thighs felt all kinds of sore afterward.
Driving home on State Route 72 through the New Jersey Pine Barrens. A desolate road through an unpopulated part of the state,  you periodically see dirt roads that lead off into the woods, with no signs to indicate their use. The Pine Barrens would make a great setting for an episode of the X-Files or a season of True Detective.
I was going to run my car through the car wash until this notice popped up on my phone. Snow tonight, which will mean more salt and dirt on my car tomorrow. Oh well… DH will have to keep looking filthy for a while longer.

Barnegat Lighthouse is open on weekends year-round, 9:30 am – 3:30 pm. During the summer season (Memorial Day through Labor Day), the lighthouse admission is $3 for adults and children 12 and older, $1 for children ages 6 – 11, and free for children 5 and younger. During the off season (September through May), admission is free. DH continues to perform well, motoring along with no complaints or issues as the odometer now reads approximately 75,600 miles. I hope you enjoyed this short trip today, and thanks for coming along on another Voyage of DH!

‘Til next time.

4 thoughts on “The License Plate Lighthouse.

  1. That’s awesome! I’m not quite as terrified of heights as you must be, but it would still be unnerving to see through the holes in the steps. How nice of someone to put up signs notifying you of how much further you had to go. I wonder how many NJ residents actually know the story behind the license plate lighthouse, and beyond that – how many have even been there! Nice trip!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks, Tyson. It was a fun day trip. And yeah, heights are definitely not my thing, yet in the past year I’ve climbed two lighthouses, a lookout tower, and ridden 250-ft tall roller coasters… just a glutton for punishment, I guess.


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