Visiting Florida’s Second Oldest Lighthouse: St. Marks Lighthouse in Crawfordville, Florida

About 3 hours away from me, about 25 miles south of Tallahassee, in Crawfordville, Florida, is St. Marks Lighthouse. St. Marks Lighthouse is claimed to be the second oldest lighthouse in Florida, built in the 1830’s, and it one of the most photographed landmarks along Florida’s Gulf coast – and for good reason! It’s absolutely beautiful. The stark white lighthouse against the surrounding nature is perfect for photographs.

The lighthouse is currently owned and operated by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and is nestled in the St. Marks Wildlife Refuge, so there is lots of hiking in the nearby nature areas. It’s only $5 to visit and due to the pandemic, it is pay via envelopes. Unfortunately, you currently cannot go inside the lighthouse. Places like the visitor center are also closed, but they do keep the bathrooms open (but bring your own toilet paper – there wasn’t any when I went!).

The lighthouse was first built in the 1830s, however, the current tower was completed in 1842, making it the second oldest to Amelia Island lighthouse. It was a pivotal location during the Civil War and if you want to read more, click here to visit the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service’s webpage on the lighthouse’s history.

Plaque with a bit of history of St. Marks Lighthouse
Former living quarters of the lighthouse

I made my way to the lighthouse in the early afternoon on a Saturday afternoon and it was surprisingly busy. The parking lot was filled to capacity, but it looked like people don’t stay long so cars were always coming and going. There were a few people who came to fish for the day or hike, but it was mostly tourists making a quick stop.

Now, I’ll be honest – there’s not much to see. Since you can’t go inside or get a tour of the lighthouse, you pretty much just stand outside and look at it, or if you’re like me, take photos. It is, however, very beautiful.

There are a few trails nearby and after taking my fill of photos, I wandered over to one. Unfortunately, the trail that I chose wasn’t very shady. It followed the seashore and the trees were sparse, but it was still pretty. I walked for a few miles and was only out for an hour or so, but I got sunburnt on my shoulders (#palepeopleproblems).

Eventually, I reluctantly had to head home back to Jacksonville (a 3 hour drive). If you’re in the area or driving through, I recommend stopping to visit St. Marks lighthouse for the afternoon! Be sure to bring water and $5 for entrance fees, and enjoy a step back in history!


Thank you for reading! Have you ever been to St. Marks lighthouse? Let me know in the comments below and like this post if you want more like it!




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