The REAL Hilton Head Lighthouse

Here’s a trivia question for people who have visited Hilton Head Island – Where can you find the Hilton Head lighthouse?  If you answered Harbour Town, you are only partly correct.  The well known Harbour Town Light was privately built as part of Harbour Town Marina and Sea Pines Plantation.

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Harbour Town Light

There is another lighthouse on Hilton Head that most people don’t know about.  Officially, it is called the Hilton Head Range Rear Light  and it is located on Hole 15 of the Arthur Hills Golf Course in the Leamington section of the Palmetto Dunes Resort.

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Leamington Light and Oil House

It is quite an unusual and historic lighthouse but is out of the way and so, not very well known.  The remaining structure is the interior cast-iron skeleton of what was once a wooden-clad tower that would look more like the traditional lights that we are used to.  The tower is called the “Rear” light because there were originally two towers.  The front light no longer exists but when operational, ships would line up beams from the two lights to give them an exact location when navigating the channel of Port Royal Sound.

The rear tower still stands along with the original brick Oil House.  The keeper’s house was moved and now is in Harbour Town near the more famous of Hilton Head’s lights.


To get to the lighthouse, you need to gain entrance to the Leamington neighborhood with is gated and requires special permission to enter.  We were staying in the Palmetto Dunes resort and got a pass to get in and view the light but we wouldn’t have known it exists if we hadn’t read about it.  The light is not on the shoreline and is not visible from a distance.  We actually drove right by it when we first went in so, you really have to know where to look in order to find it.

Hilton Head Range Rear Light
(a.k.a. Leamington Light)
Arthur Hills Golf Course
Palmetto Dunes – Leamington
Hilton Head Island, South Carolina

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
38mm @ f/11 – 1/200 sec – ISO 200

Going Down

st-augustine-7847The St Augustine Light Station is probably the easiest climb I have experienced at a lighthouse.  The current light was completed in 1874 but even at that time, tourism was considered in the construction.  The circular stairway was built with handrails and several landings to allow visitors to make the 219 step ascent with ease.

This is not the first lighthouse at St Augustine.  There is evidence that towers had been built in this area as early as the late 16th century and there was a previous light built closer to the water in 1824 which collapsed.  The existing light was located more inland to get a more stable foundation.
st-augustine-7771From the top, you get great views of St Augustine and the surrounding waters.  You can also get a peek at the operating first-order Fresnel lens as it rotates 360° around to spread its light and avoid maritime accidents.

The Light keeper’s house is now a museum and contains a variety of exhibits that are interesting and educational.  I would definitely suggest this as a good place to visit if you are touring the St Augustine area.

St Augustine Light Station
Anastasia Island, Florida
Featured Image: Nikon D7100
Tamron 16-300 Di II VC PZD Macro
16mm @ f14 –  1/5 sec – ISO 640