Previous Region:
Cape Cod Massachusetts

Massachusetts Lighthouses:
Boston Harbor
and South Shore Region

Boston Harbor light in morning

Scituate, Cohaset, Duxbury, and Boston

With so much shipping traffic coming in and out of Boston Harbor, as Boston was a major commercial shipping port for whaling, shipping, and commercial fishing traffic in the 18th and 19th centuries, the need for lighthouses was obvious as far back as during the Revolution. With this increase in traffic there came many shipwrecks occurring from New England’s many violent storms and foggy days, on the many treacherous shoals, and around the 34 islands that surround Boston Harbor.

Lighthouses were built to guide mariners and the increasing shipping traffic into the Boston and surrounding harbors, and around the dangerous shoals and islands surrounding the harbor. South of Boston were stretches of sand and rock peninsulas jutting out from the mainland around Duxbury and Plymouth where lighthouses were also built.


Massachusetts South Shore Area Lighthouse
You Can Drive or Hike To

Click any lighthouse image or link below to find out information about each lighthouse, including historical stories, directions, tours, photos, and nearby attractions.



Boston and South Shore Area Lighthouses:
Best Viewed By Boat

Click any lighthouse image or link below to find out information about each lighthouse, including historical stories, directions, tours, photos, and nearby attractions.


Places to Visit in the Boston Area and
Massachusetts South Shore Region

Coming out of Cape Cod and heading north up the Massachusetts South Shore towards Boston, stop over at Plymouth. It is New England’s oldest town with its many fine beaches, specialty shops, or parks. Visit where the Pilgrims landed on Plymouth Rock. Plymouth has many attractions like its museums for visitors to learn about America's beginnings, and you can walk up to the National Monument to the Forefathers, which is the largest solid granite monument in the US.

The Pilgrim Hall Museum provides exhibits and documents of the story of the Pilgrims. Visitors will find plenty of historic narrated tours at the Plimoth Patuxet Museum (correct pronunciation Plimouth of the period), which provides a recreation of life in a 17th century outdoor English village, a Wampanoag Tribe home site, rare animals, and a Grist Mill used to grind corn.

plymouth mayflower replica Visitors will also find an authentic replica of the Mayflower, the recently restored Mayflower II to visit.

Visitors can use the the trolley service for a different touring experience. There are many fine beaches, specialty shops, and all kinds of recreational activities to enjoy here. There are even ghost tours in Plymouth that include Plymouth’s oldest cemetery on Burial Hill.

The tourboat Capt. John Boats passes by Duxbury Pier lighthouse as part of their Plymouth Harbor tours in a Mississippi style paddlewheel boat. The also offer whale watching, and ferry service from Plymouth to Provincetown to visit the many galleries, museums, and nightlife Provincetown has to offer.

Duxbury Beach Park is one of the most scenic beaches in Massachusetts.

Scituate is mid-sized seacoast town with specialty shops and restaurants, plenty of artist galleries visitors can enjoy.

Scituate Lighthouse and grounds are easily accessible for the public with a jetty to climb, a beach behind the light, and the keeper's cottage. scituate beach in MA

In Hull, The Hull Lifesaving Museum, provides maritime exhibits, educational workshops and tours, and open water rowing competitions for young adults. The museum is housed in the former Point Allerton US Lifesaving Station, which was built in 1889, and, under the leadership of Joshua James who, with his lifesaving crews under the Massachusetts Humane Society, saved over 540 lives during his 13 year tenure there.

The Boston Harbor Island Park Service in coordination with the newly formed Boston Harbor Now alliance and the Coast Guard, have developed an exciting 2-hour narrated tour involving the maritime history of Boston Harbor along with views of Graves Light, Long Island Head Light, and Little Brewster Island with Boston Harbor Light

Note: Currently (2023) the Boston Harbor Lighthouse tower is closed to the public and is undergoing necessary repairs from winter storms.

Boston has plenty of rich history; like the Nation’s oldest Naval ship, the USS Constitution (Old Ironsides), and you can take guided walking tours to Boston’s historic places, like the Freedom Trail, or explore the Bunker Hill Monument, which sparked the beginning of the American Revolution.

Boston offers plenty of cultural and diverse events inside the city or along the waterfront at the New England Aquarium, and Faneuil Hall Marketplace. Visit some of Boston’s 40 museums, or enjoy its cultural and varied events and nightlife.

boston duck boats

Boston Duck Boat Tours

The unique Boston Duck Tours are a lot of fun for a combination land and water experience.

Boston's North End, and Boston's South End provides plenty of ethnic cuisine, with lots of festivals and events year round.


Boat Tours: Lighthouses in Boston Area

Boston Harbor Islands Park Service and Boston Harbor Now
Narrated trips by the park rangers are provided with boat trips running every weekend during the summer along Little Brewster Island where you can see Boston Harbor Light, Graves Light, and Long Island Head Light. Involved in preservation of islands in the harbor. Boston Harbor Now is the non-profit partner of the 34-island Boston Harbor Islands National and State Park. They also offer public ferry service, cultural and recreational activities, etc.

Boston Harbor Island Park Service
191W Atlantic Ave
Boston, MA 02110
Phone: (617) 223-8666

Boston Harbor Now
1 Constitution Road
Boston, MA 02129
Phone: (617) 223-8667

Lighthouses: Boston Harbor Light, Long Island Head Light, Graves Light


Capt. John Boats
Plymouth to Provincetown ferry, or whale watching cruises may pass by the lighthouse. They also provide cruises in Plymouth Harbor aboard the Pilgrim Belle, a Mississippi-style paddle wheeler that operates in the summer season, and goes out to Duxbury Pier light.
Town Wharf
77 Water St.
Plymouth, Massachusetts
(508) 927-5587

Lighthouse: Duxbury Pier Lighthouse


Boston's Waterfront Directions

Directions to Boston's Rowes Wharf for Harbor Cruises:

Directions to Boston's Long Wharf for Harbor Cruises


Books to Explore

book of the rise and demise of the largest sailing ships

To order a signed paperback copy:

Available from bookstores in paperback, hard cover, and as an eBook for all devices.

my ebook on apple books

The Rise and Demise of the Largest Sailing Ships:
Stories of the Six and Seven-Masted Coal Schooners of New England

In the early 1900s, New England shipbuilders constructed the world’s largest sailing ships amid social and political reforms. These giants of sail were built to carry massive quantities of coal and building supplies, and measured longer than a football field! Most used Boston as a main port for delivering thse supplies to the Northeast.

This book, balanced with plenty of color and vintage images, showcases the historical accounts that followed each of these eleven mighty ships, including competitions, accidents, battling destructive storms, acts of heroism, and their final voyages.



Lighthouses and Coastal Attractions of Southern New England: Connecticut, Rhode Island, and Massachusetts, published by Schiffer Publishing, provides lots of special human interest stories from each of the 92 lighthouses, along with plenty of additional indoor and outdoor coastal attractions and tours in the area, with contact info to plan your trip.

In the book, with stories from each lighthouse, you'll find a few local special stories from the Boston area region, including various rescues during one of the worst gale storms in New England, named as the "Portland Gale" for the sinking of the Steamer Portland, and the storm of the century called the "Lighthouse Storm" that sent Minot's Ledge Light toppling into the sea.

You'll find many more attractions listed as well.

Look inside!

book about lighthouses and local coastal atttractions in southern New England





New England Lighthouses: Famous Shipwrecks, Rescues & Other Tales

This image-rich book contains over 50 stories of famous shipwrecks and rescues around New England lighthouses, and also tales of hauntings.

Included are the stories of the destruction of Minot's Ledge Light in a violent storm, and the hauntings afterwards of the two keepers who perished. There is also a story of a haunting of the first female lighthouse keeper at Plymouth Light.

In one of New England's most devastating storms during the Thanksgiving week of 1898, you'll find stories of the sinking of the giant steamship Portland leaving Boston for Portland, Maine, and rescues in this "Perfect Storm".

You'll find this book and my lighthouse tourism books published by Schiffer Books, or they can be found in many fine bookstores like Barnes and Noble.




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