Old Cape Henry Lighthouse
- Type: Sightseeing
- Time to Spend: Less than 1 hour
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Across the street from the site of the Jamestown colonists' first landing (First Landing State Park) is the Old Cape Henry Lighthouse. The first lighthouse ever authorized by Congress, the lighthouse still has connections with the government; located on the grounds of the Fort Story military base, you'll have to show ID at a military checkpoint to enter. The brick lighthouse was constructed in the 1790s and was an important step for trade along the Virginia and Maryland coasts, as it made the Chesapeake Bay more easily and safely navigable.
For a small fee (discounts are available for kids under 12), visitors can get their cardio for the day by climbing the 191 steps to the top for a great panoramic view of the bay and the ocean. The lighthouse is open all year long but, if you go during the warmer months, recent visitors warn that you'll really feel the heat inside the lighthouse. As one TripAdvisor user says, "of course it's a bit of a schlep to get up all those stairs … and then (at least in summer) it's STIFINGLY HOT up there… so after a few minutes of admiring the view, you're pretty much done."