If You Go
The town of Solomons, Md., makes a convenient base for visiting all four lighthouses and is located about an hour from the Beltway. From I-495, take the exit for State Route 4 South. The Calvert Marine Museum and Drum Point Lighthouse are located on Solomons Island Road South. To reach Cove Point Lighthouse, drive north from Solomons on Route 4 for four miles, then turn right on Cove Point Road and drive 2.8 miles to the end of the road. Point Lookout is 25 miles south of Solomons, and Piney Point is a 26-mile drive east of Point Lookout.
Where to stay
The Back Creek Inn Bed & Breakfast (210 Alexander Lane, Solomons Island, 410-326-2022, www.backcreekinnbnb.com) is a 125-year-old house set amid gardens on quiet Back Creek. Bicycles and docking are available. Six rooms and a cottage. Rates: $110-$225; includes a full breakfast.
The Blue Heron Inn Bed & Breakfast (14614 Solomons Island Road, 410-326-2707, www.blueheronbandb.com) features a full breakfast cooked by innkeeper Amanda Comer, a chef trained at Le Cordon Bleu in Paris. Four rooms. Rates: $179-$249; includes the full breakfast and an evening glass of wine.
Where to eat
Kim’s Keylime Pies and Lotus Kitchen (14618 Solomons Island Road, 410-326-8469, kimskeylimepies.com), located in a funky old house, makes a cheerful spot for breakfast or lunch. The menu includes breakfast and lunch sandwiches, soups and baked goods.
CD Café (14350 Solomons Island Road, 410-326-3877, www.cdcafe.info) is a casual café of just 11 tables that packs in locals and travelers alike with its wide-ranging menu and homemade desserts. Open for lunch and dinner.
Calvert Marine Museum: After you tour the Drum Point Lighthouse, step into the museum to visit the resident river otters. A collection of fossils from nearby Calvert Cliffs includes teeth from a giant extinct shark that are larger than an adult’s hand. Kids can also touch critters such as starfish and sea anemones in the aquarium tanks.
Point Lookout State Park: The lighthouse is only one of the attractions found in this sprawling park, which offers canoeing, camping, fishing, a swimming beach and hiking trails. In August and September, monarch butterflies migrate through the park. A Civil War museum recounts the park’s history.
Calvert Cliffs State Park: If you think the giant shark teeth displayed at the Calvert Marine Museum would look good in your living room, try searching for your own fossils on the beach at Calvert Cliffs State Park. Few people leave empty-handed, although the most common finds are fossilized coral and small shark’s teeth.
More Lighthouses to Explore
Hooper Strait Lighthouse (213 N. Talbot St., St. Michaels, Md., 410-745-2916, www.cbmm.org) is one of the most popular attractions at the Chesapeake Bay Maritime Museum. Open year-round; hours vary by season. Admission is $13 for adults, $6 for children 6-17 and free for children 5 and younger.
Seven Foot Knoll Lighthouse (301 E. Pratt St., Baltimore, 410-539-1797, www.historicships.org) stands at Pier 5 of the Baltimore Marine Museum in the city’s Inner Harbor. Open year-round; hours vary by season. Admission to the lighthouse is free to all museum visitors.
Lightship Chesapeake (301 E. Pratt St., Baltimore, 410-539-1797, www.historicships.org) is berthed at Pier 3 of the Baltimore Marine Museum. Admission to the lightship is $11 for adults, $5 for children 6-14 and free for children 5 and younger. Admission fee may be less when combined with fees for visits to other historic ships.
Thomas Point Shoal Lighthouse (Annapolis, 410-295-0104, www.amaritime.org/thomaspoint.html) can be reached only by boat. Guided tours are available during the summer for $70 per person, which includes the boat rides to the lighthouse from the Annapolis Maritime Museum and back.
Sandy Point Shoal Lighthouse (Sandy Point State Park, located at the western end of the Bay Bridge, 1100 E. College Pkwy., Annapolis, 410-974-2149, www.dnr.state.md.us/publiclands/southern/sandypoint.asp) can be reached only by boat and is closed to the public, but it can be viewed from Sandy Point State Park. The park is open year-round; hours vary by season. Admission is $3 per vehicle and $7 per person.
Concord Point Lighthouse (Concord and Lafayette streets, Havre de Grace, Md., 410-939-3213, www.concordpointlighthouse.org) is open from 1 to 5 p.m. on weekends, April through October. Admission is free.
Laurie McClellan is a freelance writer and photographer who lives in Arlington and is itching to collect a few more lighthouses.