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Boston lighthouses: 12 to visit nearby

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Editor's note: This map was originally published in May 2016, and has been updated with the most recent information.

Massachusetts has dozens of lighthouses, but only a relative handful are officially open to the public. Many of these, too, are open only during the warmer months.

Here are a dozen options relatively close to Boston proper. Most are located in Martha's Vineyard and along Cape Cod. Check the websites for contact info and tour hours.

[Sources: VisitNewEngland.com; NewEnglandLighthouses.net]

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1. Plum Island Light

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79th St & Point Rd
Newburyport, MA 01950

The current tower was built in 1898, and the original was built 110 years before. Also called Newburyport Harbor Light, the tower is open on select dates, weather permitting.

2. Marblehead Light

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Follett St
Marblehead, MA 01945

This spindly lighthouse dates from 1895, when it replaced the original brick-and-wood one constructed in 1835.

It is open to the public through special arrangement only.

3. Boston Light

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This lighthouse dates from 1716, and is the oldest continuously used lighthouse in the U.S. of A. On certain days, it is open for tours, which include a 76-step climb to the top.

4. Highland Light

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27 Highland Light Rd
Provincetown, MA 02657

Deemed the oldest lighthouse on Cape Cod (George Washington ordered its original construction), the current structure dates from 1857. It is open to the public as part of the much wider Cape Cod National Seashore.

5. Three Sisters of Nauset

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Cable Rd & Skylark Ln
Eastham, MA 02642

The National Park Service took control of this trio of 15-foot lighthouses in 1975. They were restored in the 1980s, though their roots date from the 1830s.

6. Nauset Lighthouse

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Ocean View Dr & Cable Rd
Eastham, MA 02642

Preservationists moved the lighthouse in 1996 from the edge of a 60-foot cliff. It is open for tours.

7. Great Point Light

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Great Point
Nantucket, MA 02554

This lighthouse dates only from 1986, a replica of lighthouse a storm destroyed two years before. That structure dated from 1817, and had replaced the original wooden lighthouse dating from 1797. (Got that?) It is open to the public as part of wider tours of the area.

8. Chatham Light

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37 Main St
Chatham, MA 02633

The second-oldest lighthouse on Cape Cod, this structure originally dates to 1808. The current one, though, went up about 70 years later.

9. Cape Poge Light

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Chappaquiddick Island
Edgartown, MA 02539

The Cape Poge lighthouse, which dates from 1893, is part of a much larger wildlife refuge. Tours are available with a reservation. Its light is 63 feet up and can be seen 9 miles out to sea.

10. Ned's Point Light

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Ned's Point Rd
Mattapoisett, MA 02739

The original lighthouse here dated from the late 1830s, and the current one from a series of moves in the 1890s and early 1900s. It is open to the public for much of the summer.

11. Gay Head Light

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Aquinnah Cir
Aquinnah, MA 02535

In early 2015, the lighthouse was moved 129 feet away from eroding cliffs. The original structure was built in 1796, making Gay Head the oldest lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard. The current one dates from the 1850s, however, and is open to the public during the summer.

12. Nobska Point Light

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Nobska Rd & Church St
Woods Hole, MA 02543

The Town of Falmouth formally took control of the lighthouse from the Coast Guard in the spring of 2016. It dates from the 1820s, and it is open for tours as is the surrounding 4-acre preserve.

1. Plum Island Light

79th St & Point Rd, Newburyport, MA 01950

The current tower was built in 1898, and the original was built 110 years before. Also called Newburyport Harbor Light, the tower is open on select dates, weather permitting.

79th St & Point Rd
Newburyport, MA 01950

2. Marblehead Light

Follett St, Marblehead, MA 01945

This spindly lighthouse dates from 1895, when it replaced the original brick-and-wood one constructed in 1835.

It is open to the public through special arrangement only.

Follett St
Marblehead, MA 01945

3. Boston Light

Little Brewster Island, Massachusetts

This lighthouse dates from 1716, and is the oldest continuously used lighthouse in the U.S. of A. On certain days, it is open for tours, which include a 76-step climb to the top.

4. Highland Light

27 Highland Light Rd, Provincetown, MA 02657

Deemed the oldest lighthouse on Cape Cod (George Washington ordered its original construction), the current structure dates from 1857. It is open to the public as part of the much wider Cape Cod National Seashore.

27 Highland Light Rd
Provincetown, MA 02657

5. Three Sisters of Nauset

Cable Rd & Skylark Ln, Eastham, MA 02642

The National Park Service took control of this trio of 15-foot lighthouses in 1975. They were restored in the 1980s, though their roots date from the 1830s.

Cable Rd & Skylark Ln
Eastham, MA 02642

6. Nauset Lighthouse

Ocean View Dr & Cable Rd, Eastham, MA 02642

Preservationists moved the lighthouse in 1996 from the edge of a 60-foot cliff. It is open for tours.

Ocean View Dr & Cable Rd
Eastham, MA 02642

7. Great Point Light

Great Point, Nantucket, MA 02554

This lighthouse dates only from 1986, a replica of lighthouse a storm destroyed two years before. That structure dated from 1817, and had replaced the original wooden lighthouse dating from 1797. (Got that?) It is open to the public as part of wider tours of the area.

Great Point
Nantucket, MA 02554

8. Chatham Light

37 Main St, Chatham, MA 02633

The second-oldest lighthouse on Cape Cod, this structure originally dates to 1808. The current one, though, went up about 70 years later.

37 Main St
Chatham, MA 02633

9. Cape Poge Light

Chappaquiddick Island, Edgartown, MA 02539

The Cape Poge lighthouse, which dates from 1893, is part of a much larger wildlife refuge. Tours are available with a reservation. Its light is 63 feet up and can be seen 9 miles out to sea.

Chappaquiddick Island
Edgartown, MA 02539

10. Ned's Point Light

Ned's Point Rd, Mattapoisett, MA 02739

The original lighthouse here dated from the late 1830s, and the current one from a series of moves in the 1890s and early 1900s. It is open to the public for much of the summer.

Ned's Point Rd
Mattapoisett, MA 02739

11. Gay Head Light

Aquinnah Cir, Aquinnah, MA 02535

In early 2015, the lighthouse was moved 129 feet away from eroding cliffs. The original structure was built in 1796, making Gay Head the oldest lighthouse on Martha's Vineyard. The current one dates from the 1850s, however, and is open to the public during the summer.

Aquinnah Cir
Aquinnah, MA 02535

12. Nobska Point Light

Nobska Rd & Church St, Woods Hole, MA 02543

The Town of Falmouth formally took control of the lighthouse from the Coast Guard in the spring of 2016. It dates from the 1820s, and it is open for tours as is the surrounding 4-acre preserve.

Nobska Rd & Church St
Woods Hole, MA 02543