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In Pictures: Georgia lighthouse remains a beacon for sailors, tourists
By Tom Adkinson
January 27, 2023

ST. SIMONS, Georgia – A lighthouse has guided sailors into St. Simons Sound since 1810. The original was destroyed by Confederate troops in 1861 so Union forces couldn’t use it in the Civil War. The one that guides sailors today – and also attracts droves of tourists – was built in 1872. Sailors can see its beam as far away as 23 miles, and tourists can climb its 129 steps for views of the south end of St. Simons Island, Jekyll Island and Brunswick, Georgia, on the mainland.

Old-style employee housing

st simons lighthouse
The Coastal Georgia Historical Society maintains the Keeper’s Dwelling, a two-story Victorian home for the lightkeepers from 1872 until the 1950s, when the lighthouse was automated. The Keeper’s Dwelling now is the Lighthouse Museum. Image by

On the waterfront

st simons waterfront
The St. Simons Lighthouse rises over the trees and a waterfront walkway, making it a fixture in visitors’ photos who come to Georgia’s Golden Isles in all seasons. Image by Tom Adkinson

A long way up

st simons lighthouse
Climbing 129 steps takes visitors to the light level of the 104-foot-tall lighthouse. The structure is 21 feet in diameter at its base and only 10 feet in diameter at the top. The French-made lighthouse lens used kerosene oil for its beam until it was electrified in 1934. Image by Tom Adkinson

Rocking the day away

st simons rockers
Two St. Simons visitors enjoy a break from walking the waterfront and craning their necks to view with lighthouse with a few minutes of rocking chair time. Image by Tom Adkinson

A reminder of coastal living

st simons coffee shop
This sign in a shop window that offers coffee and fishing rod rentals is a reminder that coastal living – or just coastal visiting – has many diversions. Image by Tom Adkinson

Trip-planning resources:, and

(Travel writer Tom Adkinson’s book, 100 Things To Do in Nashville Before You Die, is available on

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