Not surprisingly, Boston boasts the nation's oldest continually operating lighthouse. Boston Light on Little Brewster Island dates back to 1716 and was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1964.
The original lighthouse was virtually obliterated by British forces near the end of the Revolutionary War. The tower was resurrected in 1783 and in 1859 was raised 14 additional feet to its current height of 102 feet. The beacon is still in use by the Coast Guard today and is capable of shining its light up to 27 miles across the Atlantic.
By decree, the Coast Guard had automated all lighthouses throughout the country by 1990. A handful of preservation groups petitioned to keep Boston Light in its original state and eventually Congress relented. Today it is staffed by only a few Coast Guard workers who perform geological surveys, meteorological studies, and other data collection.
The island is largely devoid of wildlife and vegetation, save for a few flowers planted near the lighthouse keeper's house. Visitors fortunate enough to climb the lighthouse tower are rewarded with stunning views of the Brewster Islands, the town of Hull, and of downtown Boston.
The lighthouse is open for group tours in spring, summer, and fall by advance appointment only. Private boaters can access Little Brewster Island on Fridays, Saturdays, and Sundays from 12:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. for drop-off and pick-up only. There are no docking services and only off-shore anchoring is allowed. As an active Coast Guard installation, there are no public restrooms on the island and a strict carry-in/carry-out policy is in place for all trash.