Lighthouses in the Hudson Valley are more than historical landmarks; they are often the destination for a romantic getaway, a relaxing cruise, or a family day trip. At morning’s mist, these houses seem to rise like apparitions from the river, beckoning visitors to imagine a simpler time
While there are seven lighthouses still standing in the Hudson River, the following three make for a lovely day trip. They are all located near quaint Hudson Valley towns and cities that offer a variety of restaurant and lodging options. And all three are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
The Saugerties Lighthouse is about a one-and-a-half-mile journey from the center of town, and even operates as a very private bed-and-breakfast. Plan ahead for your tour and reserve an overnight stay at this year-round B&B.
In nearby Kingston, take a tour of the Hudson River Maritime Museum before leaving the dock for a short boat trip to tour the Rondout Lighthouse.
Further up the river, the Hudson–Athens Lighthouse is accessible from both charming towns of Hudson and Athens, where cruises depart from riverfront parks to take you to the historic lighthouse that sits between them.
Check the official lighthouse websites for weather conditions and updates on tours, which generally run from summer to fall.
saugerties lighthouse 845-247-0656 saugertieslighthouse.com
The Saugerties Lighthouse is unique in its accessibility by both land and water. This early-19th-century lighthouse attracts day-trippers and B&B guests year-round to experience riparian life on the Hudson River.
The scenic half-mile trail leading to the lighthouse runs parallel to expansive river vistas. It is a peninsula of sandy flats and wooden boardwalks surrounded by 17 acres of tidal wetland flats, wooded grounds, and almost 100 species of flora.
Overnight guests can avail themselves to the tower atop the lighthouse for a panoramic view of the Hudson River and Esopus Creek.
The two second-floor bedrooms, each with a double bed, offer different views of the river: one south and down the Hudson River, while the other looks out east onto the river. Guests share the first-floor bathroom, museum room, parlor, and antique kitchen.
Officially recommissioned in 1990, the Saugerties Lighthouse, equipped with a solar-powered beacon, stands as an aid to navigation and unique source of riparian entertainment.
845-338-0583, hrmm.org/rondout-lighthouse.html | hudsonrivercruises.com/sightseeing-tours
This brick lighthouse, completed and lit in 1915, is accessible only by boat. Operated by the Hudson River Maritime Museum in Kingston, lighthouse tours leave from their docks, allowing you to start or end your day with a visit to this educational and interactive museum.
The Hudson River Maritime Museum collects, preserves, and exhibits a collection of historical artifacts related to the maritime heritage of the Hudson River. Artifacts include historic vessels, objects, archival material, and art related to Hudson River transportation.
The lighthouse is available for weekend public tours (limited to six people) in the summer and occasionally for private group tours of up to 50 people. Tour guides take you on an exploration of this historic structure from the first floor all the way up to the observation deck and around the light. You can also enjoy views of the Rondout Lighthouse on a relaxing river ride from the decks of the Rip Van Winkle, a cruise boat operated by Hudson River Cruises. The Scenic Hudson River Sightseeing Cruise takes you past the Esopus Meadows Lighthouse, as well, and many other Hudson River landmarks.
Located in the middle of the Hudson River between the Village of Athens and the City of Hudson, the Hudson–Athens Lighthouse was built in 1874 to safely guide ships around the Middle Ground Flats.
The Hudson–Athens Lighthouse Preservation Society (HALPS) hosts visits to this eight-room lighthouse. Visitors climb the metal stairs to enter the interior of the lighthouse, where they are welcomed by tour guides, a docent, or—through video clips—Emily Brunner, daughter of the last civilian lighthouse keeper.
Departing from either the Henry Hudson Riverfront Park in Hudson or the Village of Athens Waterfront Park in Athens, Hudson Cruises, Inc. will pilot you out to your lighthouse tour. You can make reservations with them for the second Saturday of the month from July to October. Visit: hudsoncruises.com.