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Cape Henry Lighthouse
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Small Group Dolphin Kayak Eco-Tour
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Owner description: Preservation Virginia acquired the Cape Henry Lighthouse in 1930 when Congress deeded the house and 1.77 Acres of land to the organization in order to preserve it and make it accessible to the public. Over the years lighthouse and its surroundings have been restored including repairing the lantern after damage from Hurricane Barbara in 1953, repairing the damaged original Aquia sandstone and restoring the surrounding dunes. Today, visitors to the Cape Henry Lighthouse can climb to the top of the tower to enjoy spectacular views of the Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean.
Useful Information: Activities for older children, Activities for young children, Stairs / elevator
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed March 12, 2008

I visited the Cape Henry Lighthouse on my trip to Virginia Beach in December 2007, and had a lovely time there.
It is true that you need to provide your ID and that your vehicle is searched as you enter, however, it is after all located on a military base, and we found the guards on duty very welcoming and respectful.
The views from the top of the Old Lighthouse are breathtaking, the stairs leading up are quite narrow and steep, on reaching the top of the stairs, there is another climb up a metal ladder, so be prepared for this, but believe me it is well worth the climb to see such a magnificent view. A Gray, Louth U.K.

2 Thank AGrayLouthUK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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939 reviews from our community

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English first
Virginia Beach
1 review
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
“Cape Henry, Fort Story”
Reviewed February 6, 2008

DON'T listen to the bad reviews! You're entering a US Militray base. As long as you're not an agressive person or a smart mouth and simply comply at the gate there's not reason to let that stop you! Guards are just doing their job.
This light house is Beautiful and has the best gift shop! The views are stunning you can see many ships coming and going! I'd rate this as one of my top 5 lighthouses. If you're up for a drive south, head to Currituck, NC and see the wild horses from atop their lighthouse!

7 Thank laughdaily
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Baltimore, Maryland
Level Contributor
120 reviews
87 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 326 helpful votes
“Great Lighthouse”
Reviewed November 19, 2007

I enjoyed visiting this lighthouse very much. It's only a few minutes away from the boardwalk.

It is located in Fort Story, an active military area. So to get to the lighthouse you have to go through security. Everyone in the car must give an id. Then everyone must exit the car so security can look through it. It seems like a lot of trouble, but it is worth it.

The lighthouse is very historic, it was built in 1791, and is the oldest lighhouse built by the US Govenment. Next to the Old Cape Henry Light house is the New Cape Henry Lightouse. You can only enter the Old one.

In order to climb to the top you buy your tickets at the gift shop($4).
The lighthouse is built ontop of a hill so in order to get to the base you have to climb a bunch af stairs. Then once at the base you can climb the spiral steps. The steps are small and there is not much room if you have to pass someone.

At the top there is a short ladder you have to climb. The observation level is small and enclosed in glass windows. The view is very nice. You can see Cape Henry, the beach, the Chesapeke Bay Bridge, and the New Lighthouse.

Across the street is a Memorial Cross where the English first landed before going to Jamestown in 1607.

7 Thank TouristMD
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Key West, Florida
Level Contributor
92 reviews
38 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 205 helpful votes
“Re-direct review..."Worth the hold-up at the gate!!"”
Reviewed February 10, 2007

This is a re-direct to a previously posted review - I rated this attraction once but now realize that I rated the Cape Henry Lighthouse in the Norfolk section of TA. The Cape Henry Lighthouse(s) are actually located in Virginia Beach (literally right where the Atlantic Ocean and the Chesapeake Bay meet- hence the lighthouse(s). They are on a military installation and I am active duty military so I did not experience any of the problems that non-military visitors have spoken of in other reviews.

TIP: If you are going onto ANY military installation and you do not have a military ID; please prepare in the following way - have two valid picture ID's for each adult in the car, proof of car insurance and valid vehicle registration or rental agreement handy. Be aware that the guards are SUPPOSED to search your vehicle - it is required - and the guards are doing what they are supposed to do. No open alcohol containers allowed, all passengers must have seatbelts on and fastened incuding children, who must be in the proper restraint devices, dogs must be restrained, etc. These guards are not customer service oriented they are trained to find guns, bombs, terrorists and the like; just like the transportation security officers at the airport (TSO) - they are not interested in your vacation enjoyment (as you can tell from previous reviews). So with that said, if you are prepared and ready for it - it should only hold you up about 5-8 minutes....if you are not prepared and argue or get insulted...it will take substantially longer.

Please refer to my review listed under "Cape Henry Lighthouse" in the Norfolk section of Virginia Attractions (pictures included). For a review on the lighthouse(s) themselves. They are beautiful, the history at the beach is memorable and worth the small hassle at the Fort Story gate.

3 Thank kwbts124
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Charlottesville, VA
2 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
“Do not enter”
Reviewed September 19, 2006

I had one of the worst tourist experiences in my life here. The guards, who were very rude and demanding searched my car against my will, ordered my friend and I to step out of the car when we had done nothing wrong and refused our entry because of a minor traffic violation regarding my liscence plate. The search took nearly 30 minutes. I would advise everyone to stay away from this site. You won't feel any freedom of being an American here.

11 Thank Cvilletraveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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