Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse

Lasting Impression

Last PH Lighthouse650xPhotographed by Jeremy D’Entremont

If you spend time on the Seacoast, the mystique of lighthouses has probably touched your imagination.

Last PH stairsTheir singular beauty and rich history evoke thoughts of lives saved from the mighty ocean. Summer is a fine time to learn more about these sturdy structures by visiting the Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouse and Fort Constitution on the grounds of the Coast Guard Station Portsmouth Harbor in New Castle, New Hampshire.

See: Although the area around Fort Constitution is open daily from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m., the grounds around the lighthouse are only open for special events and for weekly Sunday open houses from now to Columbus Day weekend in mid-October. Open houses are from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. Climbing the lighthouse costs $4 for adults and $2 for children 12 and under. Children must be at least 42 inches tall, and the volunteer-led tours are on a first-come, first-served basis. The climb consists of 44 steps to the watch room and a seven-rung ladder to the lantern room. 

Last PH aerial

Eat: Start your afternoon with lunch in New Castle. Try Henrys’ Market Cafe, 52 Main Street, which features inexpensive salads, sandwiches, and kid food such as grilled cheese and peanut butter and fluff sandwiches. The Green Bean Dockside at the Wentworth Marina, 116 Morgan’s Way, has fresh, moderately priced salads and sandwiches. For bistro-style food and a more extensive, expensive menu, enjoy lunch on the deck of Latitudes Waterfront, 588 Wentworth Road, part of Wentworth by the Sea.

Last PH light

Enjoy: Open houses are every Sunday from late May (Memorial Day weekend) through mid-October (Columbus Day weekend), 1:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. For more information on open houses or other events you can visit the website, telephone Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses at 603 534-0537, or send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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