The lighthouse was built in 1852 at the request of sea captains that needed assistance navigating the waters of the low-lying Texas coast. Over the years, technological advances made all Texas lighthouses obsolete by the early 1900s. A museum and reconstructed lighthouse keeper’s cottage sit in the shadow of Port Isabel’s 72-foot lighthouse. In 2022, after 117 years without a light, a 3rd Order Fresnel Lens was fitted in the lantern room. The addition brought the lighthouse back to the glory days it had not seen since 1905. Climb 75 winding stairs, three short ladders, and take in the coastal sites of South Padre Island beaches at the last Texas lighthouse open to the public.
With a perch 50 feet above the ground, it is popular with photographers and other visitors, because they can enjoy great views of South Padre Island and the beaches. In fact, a number of couples have climbed the 75 winding stairs, including three short ladders, to exchange wedding vows at the top of the tower.
The grassy knoll where the lighthouse sits is ideal for strolling and relaxing, and the facilities are for historical study and scenic viewing. Picnic tables are also available.
Port Isabel Lighthouse is operated by the city of Port Isabel. For more information, including admission and tour fees, go the city of Port Isabel - Port Isabel Lighthouse website.
From the Blog
By Andy Rhodes, The Medallion Managing Editor
The Port Isabel Lighthouse has been a beloved landmark on the Laguna Madre near South Padre Island for nearly 170 years. The Texas Historical Commission (THC) gained custody of the site in 2019; since then, the agency has been coordinating preservation efforts with its architectural staff and site managers at the City of Port...
By Andy Rhodes, Managing Editor The Medallion, Photos by Patrick Hughey
Texas’ Republic-era past takes center stage with the Texas Historical Commission’s (THC) recent acquisition of nine state historic sites. The sites’ legislative transfer from the Texas Parks and Wildlife Department became official on September 1, 2019, increasing the...
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