Take sightseeing in Daytona Beach to the next level on your next visit! The Ponce Inlet Lighthouse offers a glimpse into the past, as well as an unbeatable 360-degree view of the Atlantic Ocean, the Intracoastal Waterway and the entire Daytona Beach peninsula. If you dare to tackle the 203 steps to the top of the lighthouse, you’ll soak in the area’s magnificence from 175 feet above the ground.
Located in the charming coastal community of Ponce Inlet, Florida’s tallest lighthouse stands above all — and its history is equally lengthy! Originally called the Mosquito Inlet Lighthouse, the tower was first erected in 1835. Storm surges in the area and a surprise attack during the Second Seminole War brought the original tower to an untimely ending. However, in the late 1800s, several ships wrecked off the coast nearby, and a new lighthouse was resurrected to help guide ships safely home.
The lighthouse originally burned a kerosene lamp — one that could be seen for 20 miles away. In fact, the first-order Fresnel lens is on display at the lighthouse museum for all to see. In 2004, the third-order rotating Fresnel lens was restored and returned to the lantern room, where it remains today. The Ponce de Leon Inlet Light Station was designated a National Historic Landmark in 1998, one of only 11 lighthouses to earn a place on this prestigious list.
The lighthouse itself isn’t the only historical treasure to be found here; you can also visit the on-site museum with an exhibit dedicated to Fresnel lenses. By turning the relatively weak light of an oil lamp into a bright beam visible from many miles around, these lenses revolutionized lighthouses upon their U.S. introduction in the mid-1800s. The museum also houses a collection of artifacts from lighthouse life, remnants of historic shipwrecks, a gift shop and more.
Come and experience it all for yourself at 4931 South Peninsula Drive in Ponce Inlet from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, with extended hours in the summer. The lighthouse is just one way to experience the area’s unique history, but it’s a can’t-miss item on your vacation must-see list! Start planning your trip today!