Rose Island Lighthouse – Newport, Rhode Island - Atlas Obscura
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Newport, Rhode Island

Rose Island Lighthouse

You can spend the night as an honorary lighthouse keeper in this quaint, historic beacon. 

This historic and ever beautiful treasure is nestled between Jamestown and Newport, Rhode Island. The lighthouse stands atop an island named for the fact that when the tide slips out to sea, the land takes the shape of a rose.

Rose Island’s magnificent lighthouse boasts narrow stairs leading to a lantern where you can feast your eyes on a gorgeous sixth order Fresnel lens that still illuminates Narragansett Bay. The lighthouse, which was built in 1870, spent a whole century standing proudly as a beacon for ships.

After spending a few decades deactivated, the beacon was once again lit in the 1990s. Now restored to its original Victorian aesthetic, the lighthouse also serves a different purpose. Explorers can book a night, a weekend, or even a week in the quaint structure, acting as honorary lighthouse keepers and waking up with breathtaking views of the sunrise over the bay.

A weekend trip to Rose Island offers plentiful time to explore its many treasures. In addition to the lighthouse, the island also holds historic remnants of Revolutionary War bastions and hauntingly mysterious bunkers that hold the secrets of the soldiers that lay sickened within its bomb-proof walls, as well as the weathered and worn skeleton of a Naval torpedo.

The small island is also a wildlife refuge for many shoreline birds including herons, egrets, sandpipers, seagulls, and a great gaggle of Canadian geese. Because of this, be sure to watch where you walk during the spring and summer seasons. There’s no shortage of goose poo, and you will find yourself two stepping around the droppings with a great amount of skill and resolution.

Know Before You Go

Make sure you plan your stay in advance because this amazing place fills up speedy quick and for good reason! You will have incredibly romantic views of the sunrise and sunset, soft ocean breezes outside of your window and a peaceful serenity that is hard to come by in this day and age. You could even consider leaving your electronic devices at home and if you visit between the months of September through March, you can explore parts of the island that are off limits during nesting season. Not only could you possibly have the island to yourself, but you will see all of the abandoned beauty and ghostly structures that adorn the entire island.