White Island Historic Site
Latitude: 42.96723, Longitude: -70.62338
Rye, NH 03870
Activities and Amenities
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 roughly $200,000 project to replace it was completed this fall. 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.
See pictures of the project taken by contractor Jeff Thurston and Bruce Parsons in our White Island photo gallery.
This park is unstaffed and open year-round for recreation. Should an emergency arise during your visit, please call 911 for assistance.
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
Please contact the park office directly for information regarding disability access needs.