Texas Travel

Shore Thing: A Visitor’s Guide to Texas Lighthouses

By Natalie Gempel 8.3.16

It’s time to bring this ship into the shore. National Lighthouse Day is Aug. 7, so let’s shine a light on six beautiful and historic lighthouses up and down the Texas Gulf Coast. From Sabine Pass to Port Isabel, here’s a visitor’s guide that won’t leave you stranded at sea.

Aransas Pass Lighthouse, Port Aransas

The Aransas Pass Lighthouse, also known as Lydia Ann Lighthouse, is the second-oldest lighthouse on the Texas coastline. The lighthouse is closed to the public, but the adjacent Intracoastal Waterway offers spectacular views. Take a boat tour or launch a kayak at Lighthouse Trails to get the best view of the historic lighthouse. If you prefer to stay on dry land, the city of Port Aransas provides more great vantage points.

Halfmoon Reef Light, Port Lavaca

Originally located at the southern tip of Half Moon Reef, this lighthouse is now easily accessible in its current spot next to the Port Lavaca Chamber of Commerce. You can visit the historical marker during daylight hours through the Bauer Community Center. Stop by Lighthouse Beach for picnic areas, playgrounds, a walking path, and campsites.

Sabine Bank Lighthouse, Sabine Pass

After being damaged by multiple hurricanes, the top of the Sabine Bank Lighthouse was removed from its original home in the gulf, refurbished, and relocated to Lions Park in Sabine Pass. Only the lantern remains. After visiting it, check out the nearby Sabine Pass Battleground State Historic Site, or take a boat down the Sabine River to get a peek at the remains of the lighthouse in the original location.

Bolivar Lighthouse, Point Bolivar

Located just north of Galveston, this resilient lighthouse withstood the historic hurricane of 1900 and provided shelter for more than 100 people. While the grounds are privately owned, there are plenty of public areas that offer wonderful views. Take a quick ferry from Galveston to catch a glimpse of the lighthouse, or travel to Point Bolivar via State Highway 87.

Matagorda Island Lighthouse, Matagorda Island

A trip to the Matagorda Island Lighthouse offers something for everyone. It’s conveniently located within the Matagorda Island National Wildlife Refuge and State Natural Area, and after visiting the lighthouse grounds on the northern end of the Island, you can enjoy excellent bird watching, beach combing, fishing, and camping.

Port Isabel Lighthouse, Port Isabel

A state historic site, the Port Isabel Lighthouse is open to the public year-round. Visitors are welcome to climb the 75 stairs inside the lighthouse to enjoy panoramic views of the coast from the top of the tower. The Port Isabel Event and Cultural Center hosts occasional public events at the site, such as outdoor movies.

While you’re planning a trip to the Texas coast, check out this guide to scenic Galveston, and find more tips on our Pinterest page.