New London Maritime Society Presents
Unforgettable Lighthouse Tours for 2023
New London, CT– Get ready for an extraordinary summer experience! The New London Maritime Society (NLMS) is delighted to offer a broad range of excursions inside four local lighthouses. Our Lighthouse Tours provide breathtaking views of the coastline and an opportunity to delve into the rich history of these iconic structures. One of the highlights is the unique chance to explore Little Gull Island, including the 1-acre landscape and the eighty-one-foot Little Gull Lighthouse, which may never be accessible to the public again. Don’t miss this opportunity to immerse yourself in the beauty of summer with us.
New for 2023 is an exclusive and once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Plein Air Artists and Photographers to land at Little Gull Island and spend several hours exploring the island and the interior of the Little Gull Lighthouse (established in 1802, with the current tower built in 1867).
Little Gull Island – extended trips
These extended-length trips will take place on Thursday, July 20 (rain date: Thursday, July 27). In partnership with the Little Gull Light Foundation, we are thrilled to offer three different trips aboard the high-speed Silver Eel, departing from New London, CT.
Our knowledgeable guide, Matthew Male, a Great Gull Island summer resident for over four decades, will accompany you on these trips. Matthew has firsthand experience inside the keepers’ quarters before automation gutted the structure (1978). According to Matthew, you can expect to witness flocks of foraging seabirds, including Common and Roseate Terns, and possibly some Shearwaters and Petrels. Additionally, there have been recent sightings of Dolphins and Porpoise in Long Island Sound during July. On Little Gull Island, you can anticipate seeing young gulls and cormorants, and with some luck, even an Oystercatcher or two. For artists and photographers seeking an extended experience, a select few may choose to remain on the island for both sessions, allowing ample time for capturing more than just snapshots.
Other tours include:
Rare & Special Excursion to Little Gull Island Lighthouse
On Saturdays, July 15 and August 5, we are offering the rare opportunity to land at Little Gull Island and explore inside Little Gull Lighthouse, all the way up to the lantern. These four, two-and-a-half-hour trips, organized in collaboration with the Little Gull Light Foundation, are set to depart from New London, CT, aboard the high-speed Silver Eel. Please note that last year’s trips sold out quickly, emphasizing the exclusivity of this experience, as the privately owned lighthouse is currently up for sale.
Explore Inside New London Ledge Light
Most weekends throughout the summer, you can embark on a 15-minute boat ride from the New London waterfront to reach New London Ledge Lighthouse. Once there, you are free to explore the lighthouse for approximately one hour before returning home. Climb up into the lantern room and onto the balcony, and immerse yourself in the breathtaking views from this historic beacon. Thanks to a generous grant from Veolia /the New London Water Authority, tickets for New London public school students and their family members are available for just $5 each. These trips, organized in collaboration with the Ledge Lighthouse Foundation, depart from New London, CT, aboard the water taxi.
Visit Inside New London Harbor Lighthouse
Every Saturday and Sunday at 11:45 am, or by appointment, you can take a tour of the onshore New London Harbor Lighthouse. Ascend 116 steps to the lantern room while learning about the 261-year history of Harbor Light, one of the oldest lighthouses in the country and at 91′ the tallest on Long Island Sound. Thanks to a grant from Veolia – the NL Water Authority, we are delighted to offer $5 tickets to visit inside Harbor Lighthouse for New London public school children and their family members!
To ensure your place on these extraordinary tours, we recommend purchasing tickets in advance online. Links to all Lighthouse tours and NLMS Summer events can be found on our maritime society website: nlmaritimesociety.org.
‘These historic structures — all active active aids to navigation — add so much authentic character to our waterfront,’ says NLMS president Christina Corcoran. ‘The Maritime Society is happy we can again make the experience affordable to New London families this summer.’
As federal stewards, the New London Maritime Society has the responsibility for lighthouse education, which is carried out daily at the Custom House Maritime Museum. We provide public access through the lighthouse tours and, most importantly, work to preserve these landmarks.
Links to all Lighthouse and NLMS Summer events can be found at nlmaritimesociety.org.
Little Gull Island – extended trips https://littlegullexcursion.bpt.me
Little Gull Lighthouse excursions https://2023littlegulllight.bpt.me
Harbor Lighthouse tickets https://2023harborlight.bpt.me
Ledge Lighthouse tickets https://2003ledgelight.bpt.me
Race Rock Lighthouse tickets will be posted later this summer.
Where else but in New London can you explore the interiors of four lighthouses?!
There is every variety of lighthouse within reach of our harbor and the New London Maritime Society owns three of them. Tour the area’s lighthouses with the one who knows them best. We can’t wait to welcome you to the lantern room this summer.
Photo, top: First trip of the season to NL Ledge Lighthouse, June 25, 2023. Christine Royer.