Visiting the Sapelo Lighthouse is always such a treat! I love the barrier islands of Georgia and want to return often. It is true that once you visit the coast of Georgia, you never get the sand out of your shoes.
Sapelo is the fourth largest island right behind Cumberland, St. Simons, and Ossabaw. Years ago, I had a goal to visit all the islands that protect coastal Georgia and I think I need to renew this goal!
I’ve been to Sapelo three times and each time, I only toured the southern part of the island. But next time, I want to go to the northern end because it is full of rich history.
Before Thomas Spalding bought most of Sapelo in 1802, the island was home to Spanish missionaries, and French and English settlers. Spalding developed a productive plantation growing sea-island cotton, sugar cane, and rice with the help of roughly 400 slaves.
Today visitors can tour the Island and see the marine institute, Hog Hammock, the Reynolds Mansion, the 1820 lighthouse, and its oil house. But you must schedule a tour. The island is really not open for tourists to just walk or hike its sandy roadways.
In 1998, the original brick lighthouse, oil house, and cistern were restored. A steep spiral staircase was rebuilt inside the lighthouse which allows visitors to climb the tower for an elevated view of Doboy Sound.
The original Sapelo Lighthouse was painted with six bright stripes! That sounds fun. The lantern room, after having been dark for almost a century, shines brightly today.