The Pensacola Light is one of the best situated lighthouses in the country. Not only is it open for tours, it easily viewed from the Pensacola barrier islands.
Located on the grounds of the Pensacola Naval Air Station, the light dates from 1858. The Naval Station rests on the westside of Pensacola Bay. From a distance, the light and two large watertowers nearby show where the Naval Station is (as if the the regular traffic of Navy planes taking off and landing wasn’t enough).
Rising 190 feet (58 m) from sea level, the light is 150 feet (46 m) tall itself and sits on top of a 40 feet (12 m) hill.
The Pensacola Light can be seen from Santa Rosa Island, the barrier island protecting Pensacola. The ruins of Fort Pickens on Santa Rosa Island in the Gulf Islands National Seashore is an excellent place to see the light from a distance.
All lights in the US have unique and distinctive paint designs. Pensacola’s black over white strikes a dramatic pose. Officially, the black covers the top two-thirds.
The light was electrified in 1939 and was automated in 1965. The entire light and surrounding buildings were placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1974.
Like many of Florida’s lights, Pensacola Light continues as an active aid to navigation. It’s also open for visitors, being one of several tourist attractions on the Pensacola Naval Air Station that include the forts Barrancas and San Carlos and the National Museum of Naval Aviation.