When visiting the Cape Cod area, there’s one landmark that should not be missed: The Chatham Lighthouse MA. The area is well known for its many historic lighthouses; however, the Chatham Lighthouse is perhaps the best known of them all. Lighthouses were erected in Chatham because of the dangerous waters surrounding the area. The waters surrounding the Cape were well-known for strong currents and dangerous shoals. Read on to learn more about the Chatham Lighthouse!


This lighthouse is located near the “elbow” of Cape Cod and was established in 1808. It was actually the second lighthouse in the area. In an effort to distinguish this lighthouse from the first lighthouse—Highland Light—twin towers were built. These towers were designed to rest on skids so they could be moved as the entrance to the channel shifted. Because of this design, the Chatham Lighthouse was known as Twin Lights prior to 1923.

Over the years, the Chatham Lighthouse saw many upgrades and changes, including a change that saw the kerosene fueled light replaced by electricity. Additionally, the lights have evolved as technology improved to include newer and brighter lights and beacons. In 1987, the Chatham Lighthouse was added to the National Register of Historic Places and has since been recognized as one of many Cape Cod attractions.

Currently, the lighthouse is an active U.S. Coast Guard station. Maritime law enforcement, search and rescue missions, and Homeland Security actions are carried out from this site.

Visiting the Lighthouse

Due to its status as an active Cost Guard station, the lighthouse is not open to the public. However, there are open houses held throughout the year by the Coast Guard Auxiliary making it a Cape Cod tourist attractions. These open houses and tours of the lighthouse are held May through September, on Wednesdays from 1 to 4 p.m.

Getting to the Lighthouse

The lighthouse is easily reached by car. At the eastern end of Chatham’s Main Street, take a right onto Shore Road and you will find yourself right there.

You won’t want to miss the monument that is near the foundation of the old north light. This monument serves as a memorial to the crew members of the Monomoy Life Saving Station, who lost their lives while attempting to save the crew of a coal barge.

If you are interested in more information about the Chatham Lighthouse Cape Cod, please just ask one of our friendly staff members at New England Vacation Rentals. We would be happy to answer any of your questions, as well as give you information about other terrific places to visit in Cape Cod.

Chatham Harbor, southeast corner of Cape Cod
Coordinates: 41 40 17 N  69 57 01 W