The Cape Henry Lighthouses sit at none other than the Cape Henry, guarding the Chesapeake Bay. Cape Henry is known as the “First Landing.” The first lighthouse was built in 1792 and is still standing tall. A visit to Cape Henry and the Cape Henry Lighthouses is a historical must see.


The Cape Henry Lighthouses guard the Chesapeake Bay and have been since 1792. The original construction was the first U.S. government authorized lighthouse after the Revolutionary War, standing as the fourth oldest lighthouse in the country. In 1881, the second lighthouse was built and is still in use today. Preservation Virginia owns and maintains the old Cape Henry Lighthouse, and the U.S. Coast Guard maintains and operates the new Cape Henry Lighthouse.

This destination is rich with history. Cape Henry, also known as the “First Landing,” can be further explored in First Landing State Park. The story of Willis Augustus Hodges is also rooted in Cape Henry’s history. “Willis Augustus Hodges served as the first African American lighththouse keeper at the Cape Henry Lighthouse from May 10 to July 26, 1870.” (Collins, Preservation Virginia, 2023). These stories continue to be preserved for generations to come as well as the lighthouses. Both lighthouses have been deemed National Historic Landmarks.

Hikes to the top of the original lighthouse are offered seasonally. The 191 steps to the top provide incredible panoramic views. This destination is only seven miles from our Virginia Beach location, where you can stock up on hydration, sunglasses, binoculars, and shoes before hand.

Cape Henry Lighthouses
Photo by: Preservation Virginia

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Photos By: Preservation Virginia