Florida is best known for its sand, sun and beautiful beaches. But for those of you who have seen all the beaches you care to enjoy and are ready to get out and find something else amazing to experience, here are some tips for climbing Florida Lighthouses. There are some definite things you should know if you plan to become an experienced lighthouse climber in the Sunshine State.
Wear the right shoes
Some lighthouses don’t allow you to wear flip flops or open back shoes. The Pensacola lighthouse has a parking area for flip flops. They prefer you to climb barefoot rather than risk a stumble from an open back shoe. If you have tennis shoes, wear them. Otherwise you may end up climbing barefoot.
Insider tip: Some lighthouses give those coming down the right of way. If you are the one climbing, then you are to move to the inside and allow those descending to move past you. Check the local rules and discover the etiquette of climbing. Some of these staircases are very steep and can be challenging.
Get a Passport
For avid lighthouse climbers, you can purchase the United States Lighthouse Society Passport and get it stamped at each lighthouse that you climb. If you climbed lighthouses Before you purchase your passport, you can send off for the stamp of each lighthouse that you visited and climbed. There is a fee for the program. Once you achieve a certain number of Lighthouse stamps, you can earn patches and eventually even the honored Wings patch. This is a great way to turn your climbing hobby into a measurable level of accomplishment.
Check the open times
Lighthouses do not always keep regular hours. Check the website or call for open times and operation schedules. They are also subject to weather conditions. If there is the possibility of bad weather, check their Facebook page or make a quick call.
Vary your visit times. You may find an early morning view is different than the picture you can get at midday or right before closing. Some lighthouses may offer seasonal, special climbing schedules that will allow you to get a view at night or after regular scheduled hours.
Take pictures and record your climb.
Each lighthouse is unique. Some of the stairs are very narrow while others give you plenty of space to climb. The climbing area and view from the top are each individual. Don’t forget to take your camera so you can record your experiences. But don’t make this mistake: After you’ve climbed a few lighthouses you may start to forget which one is which. Make sure you label the pictures so you don’t get the lighthouses confused.
Souvenir tip: For a cheap souvenir idea, take a picture of each lighthouse then laminate the picture, attach a magnet and display it on your refrigerator. If you prefer, you could trim the picture to the shape of a bookmark so you can enjoy your favorite lighthouse when you are reading a new book.
Talk to the Curator
Get some local history by talking to the curator of the lighthouse. They may be able to share some intersting tidbits of historical lore that you won’t get from reading the signs. Many lighthouses were in operational existence through wars, local historical events, disasters, and have seen alot of intriguing personalities come through as owners and operators. Take the time to learn about the lighthouse.
Lighthouses such as the Pensacola Lighthouse offer a museum at the base that give you background for the grounds in addition to the actual lighthouse. Peruse the museum rooms and learn about the history.
Find out where the Florida Lighthouses are open and still accessible.
Do you love to visit and climb lighthouses? Which Florida lighthouse is your favorite?