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White Island Historical Site


White Island, Rye, NH 03870

Hours and Fees

Currently, the park is unstaffed and there is no dock or safe landing area.  Special arrangements need to be made prior to visiting.

Off-season use: During off hours and the off-season the park is typically not staffed, comfort stations are not available and gates may be closed. The off-season poses unique risks inherent when participating in outdoor recreational activities. Recreationists should possess the necessary knowledge, skill, and equipment to ensure their own safety. Users assume all risk while recreating in State Park lands.

Activities and amenities

Historical Site

About the Park

The first lighthouse at the Isles of Shoals was erected on White Island in 1820. It was made out of stone and wood shingles. The White Island Lighthouse Station is one of New England's great historic landmarks. This shining tower protected northeastern mariners from crashing into its rocky shores. It is also New Hampshire's only offshore lighthouse.

The tower was rebuilt in 1859 by the United States government to help fortify the seacoast. This is the tower that remains today on White Island. It is built from bricks and stone and stands 85 feet above mean high water. In 1993, White Island and a couple other islands in the group were transferred to the New Hampshire State Parks system and is now managed by the Bureau of Historic Sites.

Walkway Restoration Project

A triangular wooden walkway connected the keeper’s cottage to the lighthouse from 1850 until 2007 when a wave washed it away in a storm. Thanks to a combination of federal and state funding, the $200,000 project to replace it was completed in 2013. A construction team of six from Thurston Millworks in Concord, N.H., lived out on White Island for just over a month. Jeff Thurston and his crew pre-cut the materials in their shop and brought them to Riverside & Pickering Marine Contractors, who ferried the supplies to waters just off the island. A helicopter was used to complete their transport to the construction site.

Are pets allowed at White Island State Historic Site?

Pets are not permitted in the park. See the NH State Parks Pets Policy for more information.

Keep Your Parks Clean

Through the Carry-In/Carry-Out Program, you can help us keep your parks clean and beautiful by carrying out whatever you carry in. Thank you for your cooperation and remember to recycle.

Access for Persons with Disabilities

Visit our Accessibilty page for more information on specific accessibilty needs or questions, please contact the individual park office directly.

Additional Resources/Information Isle of Shoales, White Island, NH History
Lighhouse Kids: White Island Lighthouse, NH History
Cruises that pass by the lighthouse are offered by the Isles of Shoals Steamship Company, by Portsmouth Harbor Cruises, and by Granite State Whale Watch.
Drone use is restricted at all NH State Parks. Drone operators are not permitted to take off or land within NH State Park boundaries.
Seal of the State of New Hampshire © NH Department of Natural and Cultural Resources
172 Pembroke Road Concord, NH 03301