Burlington Breakwater North Light


Burlington Breakwater North Light is a beautiful 35-foot lighthouse that has marked the Burlington Harbor entrance since 1857.

The Burlington Harbor in Vermont struggled in the early 1800s when marine traffic was increasing. The problems stemmed from the strong northwest winds and its southern-facing position. There was essentially no protection for boats in the harbor until federal funding for a breakwater was achieved in 1837. The V-shaped breakwater, built for $28,727 in 1854, was originally 1,000 feet long. A few years after being constructed, the breakwater was enlarged due to docks being constructed along the Burlington waterfront. The increase in harbor usage led to the breakwater being extended to the north by 1,500 feet in 1867. In 1890, an additional 360-foot section of breakwater was constructed north of the enlarged breakwater. This left a 200-foot gap between the two.

In 1857, wooden lighthouses were initially constructed on the ends of the breakwater to mark the harbor entrances. Both lighthouses did not last long and new well-built lighthouses were needed. In 1890, two stronger lighthouses were placed at either end of the detached breakwater. Both towers stood for over 100 years until they were replaced in 2003. The northern lighthouse is known as Burlington Breakwater North Light and it has a focal plane height of 35 feet. It flashes every 2.5 seconds and has a range of 7 nautical miles.

Looking for more awesome spots to explore near the lighthouse? Check out these 17 Best Burlington, Vermont Spots To Visit And Photograph!


Lighthouse Specs

  • Originally constructed: 1857
  • Current tower constructed: 2003
  • First lit: 2003 (current tower)
  • Construction: Lumber
  • Tower shape: Square pyramid
  • Height: 35 ft (11 m)
  • Focal height: 35 ft (11 m)
  • Markings: White
  • Characteristic: Red light flashing once every 2.5 seconds (Fl R 2.5s)
  • Range: N/A
  • Status: Active


  • Address: Burlington Breakwater North Light
  • Town: Burlington
  • State: Vermont
  • GPS: Lat 44.48057 Lng -73.22977
  • Parking notes: Some of the best views of Burlington Breakwater North Lighthouse can be seen from Burlington Fishing Pier. The closest parking lot is off Penny Lane and it charges a small fee.
  • Parking directions: HERE
  • Location directions: HERE


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