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New London Harbor Lighthouse

New London Harbor lighthouse

New London, Connecticut
Built in 1801


The lighthouse sits on the western side of the entrance to New London Harbor. Private residence, but you can take photos from various spots near the lighthouse.

Latitude: 41° 19' 00" N
Longitude: 72° 05' 24" W


Historic Stories:

New London Harbor Lighthouse is the fourth oldest lighthouse in the country and one of the earliest American lighthouses with a flashing light.

In 1761, thousands of lottery tickets were sold to help pay for an early stone tower with a wooden lantern at the harbor entrance (this was a popular method of raising funds for construction projects in those days).

The lighthouse was built in 1801 to accommodate the increasing traffic for the fishing and whaling industries, and by the middle of the 1800's, New London was America's third largest leading whaling port.

The lighthouse stands at 89 feet tall, and is the oldest and the tallest beacon in Connecticut along Long Island Sound, and the fourth oldest beacon in the country.

New London Harbor Light became the center for conducting many experiments with various types of fog signals.

early New London Harbor light 1900
New London Harbor Light 1900
Courtesy US Coast Guard

One fog siren developed and installed drew many complaints from the locals from its shrieking sound, prompting its replacement a few years later.

In 2013, New London Harbor Lighthouse was chosen as one of five New England lighthouses, painted by artist Howard Koslow, for the "Forever" stamp collection sold at all US Postal stations.

Recently, after a legal battle that lasted over 4 years, over a safety issue to stop groups from walking on the outside of a side wall alongside a neighbor’s property, a new access was made through the sea wall leading to the lighthouse and no more school groups are allowed. Tours are now scheduled and provided by the New London Maritime Society.



Places to Visit Nearby:

New London Harbor light tower New London Harbor lighthouse and grounds are closed to the public, as it is a private residence, but close up views can be found along Ocean Avenue.

However, special tours of no more than six people at a time can be scheduled with the New London Maritime Society. They will occasionally provide tours of the tower starting in 2020. What's unique about the tower tours is that, on a clear day, from the New London Harbor tower, visitors can see up to 7 lighthouses: New London Ledge (CT), Race Rock (NY), Little Gull Island (NY), Plum Island (NY), Little Dumpling, (NY) Montauk (NY), and Avery Point (CT). More lighthouses can be seen from this one spot here than any other place on earth. Keep in mind, that if you're looking for details to photograph, instead of observing distant lighthouses, take one of the boat tours mentioned below.

The Coast Guard Academy Museum, in New London, contains artifacts that span over two hundred years of history of America's premier maritime service.

Visit Ocean Beach Park on Ocean Avenue by the lighthouse, and play in beautiful clean beaches, its water slide, pool, or play miniature golf. beach near New London Harbor light

Ivoryton Playhouse provides a year round professional season of theater and musicals.

Nearby in Essex, take an Essex Steam Train and Riverboat Ride in 1920's style coaches pulled by a real steam locomotive.

Mystic Seaport is also nearby, and is an outdoor recreated 19th century village and educational maritime museum, with artifacts, exhibits, a working preservation shipyard, and four National Historic Landmark vessels.

These include the world's only whaling ship, the Charles W. Morgan, and a wooden steamboat built in the early 1900s during the tourism era, the Sabino. Mystic Seaport view across the river.

Visitors will also find a full sized functional replica of Brant Point lighthouse, in which the original is located on Nantucket Island, in Massachusetts.

The Mystic Aquarium provides educational and up close exhibits of marine life that include sharks, jelly fish, eels, and barracuda.

At Steamboat dock, visit the Connecticut River Museum, where you can view a replica of the Turtle, America's first submarine, built in 1775, and other exhibits.

Cross Sound Ferry Services, Inc. and Fisher's Island Ferry, or any of the ferries, offer views of the lighthouse from the water.



View of New London Harbor lighthouse from the beach


Contact Info:
New London Maritime Society
150 Bank Street,
New London, CT 06320
(860) 447-2501




Local Boat Tour

Cross Sound Ferry Cruises
Provdes lighthouse cruises between southeast Connecticut and Long Island Sound (New York) lighthouses; The Classic Lighthouse Cruise, the Long Island Cruise, and the Lights and Sights Cruise.

Lighthouses: Avery Point, New London Ledge Lighthouse, New London Harbor Light, Morgan Point Lighthouse, Watch Hill light (RI), Race Rock (NY), Little Gull (NY), and North Dumpling (NY), Bug (NY), Orient Point (NY), Latimer Reef (NY) and Plum Island (NY)



My 300-page book, Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Southern New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, provides special human interest stories from each of the 92 lighthouses, along with plenty of indoor and outdoor coastal attractions you can explore, and tours.

Take a look inside!

book about lighthouses and local coastal atttractions in southern New England


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