Ponce Inlet Lighthouse – Florida’s Tallest Lighthouse

Everyone has a bucket list. Even if you don’t write one down, you just know some things you must see and do. Checking out a lighthouse was one for me. Sure, I’ve been to many towns with lighthouses, yet I have never actually gone to one and never climbed to the top.

ponce inlet lighthouse

So what better place than to take the kids than to the second tallest Lighthouse in the US (North Carolina has the tallest) and the tallest in Florida. Plus, when visiting Daytona Beach Florida area climbing to the top of Ponce Inlet Lighthouse is one of the top attractions to do in Daytona.

The lighthouse is located in Ponce Inlet, which is one of the oldest communities of Daytona founded in 1887. The neighborhood runs along the beach and has a very relaxed, suburban feel with gorgeous houses and perfectly manicured.

ponce inlet

What to Do While Visiting the Lighthouse

The lighthouse is actually a lot more than just climbing to the top to get the views. Although, this is by far the most fun.

There are 203 steps to climb. But it is not just a climb, it is a beautiful and narrow staircase.

ponce inlet lighthouse - 203 steps up

Getting to the top is a reward well deserved – especially if you are climbing with kids.

ponce inlet lighthouse - with kids

NOTE: my children had no problem climbing up or going down. But some of the kids in front of us were terrified and had to go down very slowly. Also if you are scared of heights, it might be better to enjoy the lighthouse from the bottom. 

And wind – that can (almost) blow you away. But don’t worry, it is super safe on top and the wind makes it a better experience.

wind at the top of daytona lighthouse florida

Visit the village that once prospered when the lighthouse was working. Walk around the grounds and visit the shop.

ponce inlet lighthouse village

Facts about Ponce Inlet Lighthouse That You Never Knew

  • Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse began as the Mosquito Inlet Lighthouse with the purchase of ten acres of land on March 21, 1883.
  • Tragically, Chief Engineer Orville E. Babcock and three others drowned in the inlet when construction began in 1883.
  • The tower was completed three years later in 1886.
  • The kerosene lamp in the Fresnel lens was first lit on November 1, 1887, by Keeper William Rowlinski.
  • The new light could be seen 20 miles to sea.
  • Rowlinski, a Russian immigrant, was thefirst keeper and served until 1893. Later, When he retired in 1902, he purchased a house on the Halifax River right next to his old lighthouse at Mosquito Inlet.
  • 1909, the kerosene lamp was replaced by an incandescent oil vapor (O.I.V.) lamp.
  • 1927, the name of Mosquito Inlet was changed to Ponce de Leon Inlet for real estate and tourism purposes.
  • August, 1933 the tower light was electrified with a 500 watt electric lamp.
  • During World War II, the keepers’ families left the Light Station, and the buildings were turned into barracks against enemy submarines.
  • After the war, families moved back, but in late 1953, the lighthouse was completely automated, and the keepers and their families left for the last time.
  • 1972, Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse Preservation Association was founded as a non-profit, organization to restore and operate the property as a museum.
  • 1972, the Light Station was listed on the National Register of Historic Places as one of only a handful of 19th Century Light Stations to have all its original buildings still intact.
  • 1982, a new tower balcony replaced the crumbling one, and the light in the lantern was restored to active service.
  • 1998 the Light Station was designated a National Historic Landmark.
  • 2003 The original first order lens from the Ponce Inlet Lighthouse was restored and put on display.
  • Ponce de Leon Inlet Lighthouse is now listed as a operational private aid to navigation.

Video Fun

Information for Ponce Inlet Lighthouse

Quick Note – The Daytona Lighthouse is one of the few lighthouses in the US that permit very young and small kids to climb to the top. Usually the height restrictions are 48 inches and taller. This makes it a perfect place to visit for families with young families.

Phone: (386) 761-1821

Address: 4931 South Peninsula Drive – Ponce Inlet, FL 32127


September 3, 2013 – May 25, 2014

Open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 6:00 p.m. (Last admission at 5:00 p.m.)

May 25, 2014 – September 1, 2014 

Open daily from 10:00 a.m. until 9:00 p.m. (Last admission at 8:00 p.m.)


$5.00 for Adults (12 & Over)

$1.50 for Children (11 & Under)

Free Admission for Infants (NB – 2)


About Marina Villatoro

Marina Kuperman Villatoro CEO of TravelExperta.com, a travel resource site to inspire families to travel with kids of all ages. Marina has been an expat 20+ years in Central America raising 2 boys in a multicultural, trilingual household. She travels all over the world with her family to give first hand experiences of where to eat, stay and play with kids. Needless to say, it’s never boring! Join Marina on Facebook and Twitter for more unique and boutique family travel!

2 Responses to Ponce Inlet Lighthouse – Florida’s Tallest Lighthouse

  1. Natalie says:

    I love lighthouses – something old fashioned and quaint about them
    Natalie recently posted..The Ancient Ruins of OlympusMy Profile

  2. Impressive! It looks like it was a lot of fun to go up, and thankfully no one feared the height! Thanks for sharing!
    Mary @ Green Global Travel recently posted..NORWAY: A Rare Look Inside 900-Year-Old Urnes Stave ChurchMy Profile

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