NewsPinellas County


Anclote Key Lighthouse standing tall after 135 years, opens for visitors this weekend

Family at top of LH Friends of Anclote Key State Park & Lighthouse.png
Posted at 4:16 PM, Oct 07, 2022
and last updated 2022-10-09 12:13:46-04

TARPON SPRINGS — The Anclote Key Lighthouse still stands tall after 135 years, and it’s because of people like Babara Hoffman and Bobby Gause.

They are both part of the Friends of Anclote Key State Park and Lighthouse.

“I love the state. I love nature. Love history. And being out there is such an awesome experience,” said Hoffman, the group’s president.

They are a much-needed volunteer group because only one park ranger is assigned to all three of the islands including Anclote Key just west of Tarpon Springs.

“The only way to get there is by boat. It’s just absolutely beautiful and being a preserve, it’s Anclote Key Preserve State Park. It’s there for wildlife. It’s not there for people. A park is for people. A preserve is for wildlife,” said Hoffman.

Once you get to the lighthouse it’s 130 steps to the top — flip-flops are not recommended.

“When you get up there it looks like the Bahamas. People don’t think that around here because the river is kind of tannic water and inshore water has a lot of grass in this area and it’s not like the beaches you see down in South Florida. But when you get up to the top of that lighthouse, it looks just like that,” said Gause.

The lighthouse has its first open house of the season this weekend. After that, it'll be open the second weekend of each month through May.

“You can see Tampa. You can see St. Petersburg. And the water is so gorgeous. And the water is crystal clear,” said Hoffman.

They are working on a ferry to take people to the Key. But for now, it’s up to private boats or even kayaks to get you there.

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