The Turks and Caicos Lighthouse on Grand Turk is a must-see for history buffs. This is an interesting attraction for vacationers in Turks & Caicos, and it’s especially great for families with kids looking for unique things to do on a family beach vacation. Although visitors aren’t allowed to go inside the lighthouse, there are a few things to do and see in the area which can make this worth a visit.
When you get to the site where the lighthouse is located, you’ll see signs that give details on the history of the lighthouse and you’ll be able to explore the grounds as well. The views from this area are impressive as are the bird-watching opportunities. Near the lighthouse, you’ll even be able to follow a donkey trail to a secluded beach.
If you’re just about ready to explore, read on as we detail what to expect during your visit to the Grand Turk Lighthouse!
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The Turks & Caicos Lighthouse was built in 1852 and it is one of the most famous landmarks in this territory. Not only that, but this lighthouse is actually the only one in Turk & Caicos. The importance of the Grand Turk Lighthouse has to do with the numerous reefs that can be found in this area and how difficult this can make navigation for boaters. The lighthouse was built to alert mariners of hazardous rocky coasts and reefs as well as dangerous shallows in an effort to keep the ships from harm.
Ahead of the lighthouse being built, there was a catastrophic wreck that involved the R.M.S Medina in 1842. This was the first British Royal Mail Service ship to sink at sea. Talk of the lighthouse’s construction intensified after that, and then, in the early 1850s, Turks & Caicos President Frederick Henry Alexander Forth got the construction efforts off the ground. The main structure of the Grand Turk Lighthouse was designed by Alexander Gordon. It is said to have been prefabricated in England. The cast-iron prefabrication in this case was one of the first of its type.
The Grand Turk Lighthouse was built to burn whale oil, which was most likely found on Salt Cay and was essential to its operation. The tower was equipped with Argand reflector lamps, which increased the light’s intensity by 450 times. From Birmingham, England’s Chance Brothers, the lighthouse’s light rotation apparatus was created. The Grand Turks Lighthouse’s 1943 kerosene conversion is also attributed to the Chance brothers. Fresnel lenses were eventually added. The lighthouse was further modernized in 1971 when it was made to run on electricity.
There are plenty of reasons to visit lighthouses and that list starts with the amazing views and goes all the way down to the inevitable ghost stories that seem to always come with experiences such as these. The Grand Turk Lighthouse is no exception. If you choose to visit this lighthouse while in Turks & Caicos, you’ll be able to view the lighthouse from the outside, explore the grounds, and take some amazing pictures while you’re at it.
Though the Grand Turk Lighthouse is not functional and visitors are not able to actually go inside, there are several other things to do in this area. There is a small snack and gift shop inside the former home of the lighthouse keeper. This house is quite intriguing and has small windows which were constructed in order to keep most of the intense light from the tower from getting in.
Around the lighthouse, there’s plenty of room to explore. You and your family can set off on the scenic coastal path near the lighthouse that’ll take you along the tops of the limestone cliffs. The view from the top of these cliffs can be quite stunning, especially around sunset. Along this path, you’ll find select spots where you can picnic as well. While walking this path, keep an eye out for the adorable donkeys. You might also want to look out for the ruins of the 1950s-era U.S. Navy NAVFAC 104 base that is directly east of the lighthouse.
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The Grand Turk Lighthouse is located on the northern side of the island of Grand Turk in the Turks & Caicos. This is on the opposite side of the island from the Grand Turk Cruise Center, and several miles from the center of Cockburn Town. There are a few ways that you’ll be able to get to the lighthouse including by taxi, rental car, or via a tour or excursion.
Though you might be tempted to make an adventure of it and walk or cycle to this lighthouse, this is not feasible unless you’re staying in the Lighthouse Road area. If you want to visit this lighthouse, there are numerous tours and excursion options that include the Grand Turks Lighthouse as one of the scheduled stops. This means you’ll be able to do one-day tours that include the Grand Turk Lighthouse and other incredible attractions in the islands.
If you want to visit the Grand Turk Lighthouse, keep in mind that entry to the grounds where the lighthouse is located costs $3 USD per person. Your fee can be used to buy something from the gift shop or to get a drink. Find out in advance whether your tour or excursion includes the cost of admission if you plan to visit the lighthouse as part of a group.
Expert tip: Aside from lighthouse excursions, you might also want to explore the beaches as these are among the things Turks & Caicos is known for. Don’t miss out on exploring Governor’s Beach and the Cruise Center Beach while on the island of Grand Turk. You can visit these beaches for free during your trip and explore the 10 best places to snorkel in the Turks & Caicos as well.
In Turks & Caicos, the Grand Turk Lighthouse certainly is one of those attractions that’s worth seeing whether you’re staying on Grand Turk or on a day trip there from Providenciales. This historical attraction appeals to anyone who really wants to get to know the island a bit more than surface level, and particularly families looking for adventure.
If you’re well into the planning for your travels to Turks & Caicos, you're probably at the point where you’ll need to decide where to stay. There’s quite a few options of Turks & Caicos resorts located near some of the best attractions, and far away enough from everything to truly relax. Beaches Turks & Caicos offers a little bit of everything for your all-inclusive family vacation, including luxury accommodation, multiple restaurants, a waterpark, and a spa, ensuring that kids and adults can have a memorable trip.
Expert tip: There’s tons of interesting things to do in Turks & Caicos including scuba diving, going on a catamaran cruise and an all island ATV adventure. Add these Turks & Caicos excursions and things to do in Turks & Caicos for kids to the mix and you’ll have a vacation your whole family won’t soon forget!