Highland Lighthouse (Cape Cod Light)

(2 reviewss)


The Highland Lighthouse (previously known as the Cape Cod Light) is a working lighthouse located on the Cape Cod National Seashore in North Truro, Massachusetts. It is Cape Cod’s oldest and tallest lighthouse.

In 1797, George Washington authorized the establishment of a station at this point on the Cape, complete with a wood lighthouse to warn ships of the treacherous coastline between Cape Ann and Nantucket. This made Highland Light the first lighthouse erected on Cape Cod. The wood structure was replaced by a stronger brick tower in 1833. A new lantern and lighting device was installed in 1840. The brick lighthouse was declared dangerous and demolished in 1857. The third and current 66-foot brick tower was built for a total cost of $17,000. The lighthouse has undergone numerous upgrades over the years, including an electric conversion in 1932, automation in 1986, and the installation of a Vega Marine LED beacon model 44/2.5 in 2017.

The lighthouse’s current location is not its original location. The tower was in danger of collapsing down the dunes due to beach erosion, so it was relocated 450 feet (140 m) to the west. The Truro Historical Society raised money through fundraising to supplement the government funding.

The grounds are open all year, but the Highland Lighthouse is only open to the public from May to late October, with guided tours available. The keeper’s house was converted into a gift shop and museum in 1998. Highland Light is owned by the National Park Service and was managed by the Highland Museum and Lighthouse, Inc. until 2014, when Eastern National, another non-profit organization, took over the contract to run the facility as a tourist attraction. The light is operated by the United States Coast Guard as a navigational aid. The USS Highland Light (IX-48) of the United States Navy was named after the light. Highland Light Station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places on June 15, 1987.

Fun Fact! The famous American painter, Edward Hopper, had a summer home in Truro and painted the lighthouse. His painting Highland Light, North Truro (1930) showcases the lighthouse at the time. It is currently on display at the Harvard Art Museums. You can view the painting HERE.

Looking for more great spots to explore in Massachusetts? View the GoXplr Massachusetts Map at goxplr.com/map/massachusetts

Lighthouse Specs

  • Originally constructed: 1797
  • Current tower constructed: 1857
  • First lit: 1857 (current structure)
  • Construction: Brick
  • Tower shape: Conical
  • Height: 66 feet (20 m)
  • Focal height: 170 feet (52 m)
  • Markings: White with black lantern
  • Characteristic: Flashing white light every 5 seconds (Fl W 5s)
  • Range: 18 nautical miles (33 km; 21 mi)
  • Status: Active
  • NRHP number: 87001463


  • Address: Highland Light Rd
  • Town: Truro
  • State: Massachusetts
  • GPS: Lat 42.03933 Lng -70.06205
  • Parking notes: Parking at Highland Lighthouse is free and convenient. There are 24 parking spots along Highland Light Rd, across from the golf course parking lot.
  • Parking directions: HERE
  • Location directions: HERE

2 reviews for Highland Lighthouse (Cape Cod Light)

  1. Eric Belseth

    Sunset at Highland Lighthouse in Truro, MA

    Image #1 from Eric Belseth
  2. Patrick Faloon

    Highland Light, first lighthouse on Cape Cod

    Image #1 from Patrick Faloon
    Image #2 from Patrick Faloon
    Image #3 from Patrick Faloon
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