Virginia Beach, VA (May 7, 2021) – The icon of the City of Virginia Beach and a major tourism destination, Old Cape Henry Lighthouse reopened to the public on Friday, May 7. Built in 1792 and owned by Preservation Virginia since 1930, Old Cape Henry Lighthouse had been closed to the general public since December due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Situated on Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story, the lighthouse followed guidelines from the military to keep service members safe during the coronavirus pandemic. As part of reopening, lighthouse staff temperatures will be taken upon entry to the site and staff will be required to wear face coverings, masks, or shields whenever they interact with the public. Bathroom fixtures, doorknobs and other highly touched surfaces will be cleaned frequently, and hand sanitizer will be located throughout the site.
The lighthouse will be open seven days a week from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. General admission is $10 for adults, $9 for seniors, military and AAA members, $8 for students, and free for children under 42 inches tall. General admission includes access to the lighthouse’s new “visitor plaza” and the newly painted lighthouse tower. Completed in 2019, the plaza showcases new interpretive signage and views of the Atlantic Ocean and Chesapeake Bay.
Also new as of 2019 is a shuttle system for transporting guests to the lighthouse following a security check by Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story. The first shuttle of the day arrives at Gate 8 at 9:55 a.m. and the last shuttle picks up at 4:15 p.m. The parking lot and shuttle pick up area will conform to CDC guidelines, with masks and social distancing required.
Shuttles will operate at half capacity, or eight guests every 15 minutes, and masks are mandatory aboard the shuttle. Hand sanitizer will be available for guests getting on and off the shuttle, and drivers will wear masks and wipe down all surfaces frequently. Guests with active military I.D.s can drive their own vehicle to a parking area near the lighthouse.
“For decades, Old Cape Henry Lighthouse served as a beacon of hope for mariners. Emerging from the pandemic and reopening following this necessary closure, the lighthouse can once again serve the community as we look to the future with hope,” said Elizabeth S. Kostelny, CEO of Preservation Virginia. “The safety of our guests and staff continues to be of utmost importance, and we’re excited to safely host visitors, students and lifelong learners.”
Preservation Virginia will continue to adhere to guidelines released by the CDC and will follow direction from Joint Expeditionary Base Little Creek-Fort Story.
About Preservation Virginia
Preservation Virginia is a private, nonprofit organization and statewide historic preservation leader that is dedicated to preserving, promoting and serving as an advocate for Virginia’s cultural and architectural history. Learn more at PreservationVirginia.org.
Jeremy D’Entremont is the author of more than 20 books and hundreds of articles on lighthouses and maritime history. He is the president and historian for the American Lighthouse Foundation and founder of Friends of Portsmouth Harbor Lighthouses, and he has lectured and narrated cruises throughout the Northeast and in other regions. He is also the producer and host of the U.S. Lighthouse Society podcast, “Light Hearted.” He can be emailed at Jeremy@uslhs.org